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The Difference Between Discipline and Stunting Yourself as a Writer

When my whole life has revolved around one, one project for more than a month or two, I go into a type of cruise control. I zone out and just go through the same motions every day. I would absolutely kill to write something else, but as a writer I have always heard that if you stop at any point during a large project, you can hang up finishing it. Chances are you’ll never get back to working on your project because you’ll be too busy working on something else, losing all discipline.

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Well, my question is: At what point does this type of discipline become unhealthy for the project and for you?

Discipline is important, of course. Every day there should be a time where you dedicate every second to writing or editing, whether it is the entire day or 15 minutes. Your writing will get better and you’ll get closer and closer to finishing those large projects. However, having one project that you are constantly returning to can cause burnout.

I have found that having a minor project alongside a large one is beneficial for your brain. To clarify, I feel that it helps keep your brain moving and able to handle the monotony of the large project without going into autopilot. Every day, I write at least 1/3 of a short story after writing 1/3 of my large project. I find the work-reward system works very well with my work ethic. I get to relax and still be productive which helps me to prepare for the next round of writing.

You don’t have to stay completely married to one project. Unlike what most people believe, the relationship between an author and their work is not a marriage. It’s a parent and a child. You will always be dedicated to your first child, even if you have another. It doesn’t mean you love it less, and you’re not “cheating” like you would if it were your spouse. At the same time, just because something is new doesn’t mean you should just abandon your first. The oldest one needs just as much attention as the newest creation.

Lissy

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7 thoughts on “The Difference Between Discipline and Stunting Yourself as a Writer

  1. Great idea to implement when working with multiple writing projects.
    Best of luck.

    1. Thank you! For the luck and the comment.

      1. You’re welcome!

  2. It is always a good idea to work multiple projects. It means you can bounce around during writer’s block as oppose to forcing yourself through it and writing something you’ll later hate. Good luck with your story!

    1. I agree. I hear far too often writer’s having to fight their way through writer’s block when they can just dip their toes into something else. Thank you for the comment! 🙂

  3. I like to keep a project going in the background that’s just for me. This way, when the “work” writing gets to be too much, I can escape into a fantasy world that no one else will ever see. It reminds me of why I like writing and helps me get back into the zone. Good luck with your project!

    1. That’s a great way of putting it. Thank you for the comment and also for the luck.

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