Saturday, September 4, 2010

Discipline? Can You Give Me Context? Maybe Use It in a Sentence?

As a writer, I have no discipline.

That could mean many things:
1) I don't have a specialty.
2) I can't control my hands while typppppppping.
3) I write all over the place, and prefer markers on freshly-painted walls.
4) Uniquely constructed sentences I make.
5) 5:00 in the morning is meant for sleeping, not writing. (Unless, of course, one is on a creative spree, and has not yet been to bed.)
6) Focusing on only one project at a time is imposs- Squirrel! (Squirrel Removal in 12 Easy Steps -- HI-larious!)
7) I give great writing advice but rarely follow it. (Write to the end then edit.)
8) I find all sorts of activities that keep me from writing, when writing is all I really want to do.
9) An outline is not the Ten Commandments, and is a lot of hard work for something I'm just going to ignore anyway.
10) Planting butt in chair and creating is not something I generally do on command. In fact, there are very few things I do on command, and even then I might pause to think about it.

And the list goes on, but I'll end it there. (End not to be confused with aforementioned butt.)

Yesterday, I sat on the couch, felt-tip pen and scrap paper in hand, stared into space while a DVD miniseries adaptation of a Charles Dickens novel played in the background, and wrote a couple good pages of material. All rough, of course, but solid.

As I wrote, I thought it was brilliant.

Then, some time later, long after the pen had been capped and I was no longer under the heady influence of Sharpie fumes, I read it again.

Meh. As I said, rough but solid. I can work with that.

As for discipline, well, that's a concept that looks different to each writer. What really matters is the outcome: What is produced? Regardless of a writer's method -- laptop in the park, legal pad in the coffee shop, scrap paper on the couch -- words must be written. Stories must be told.

Bring on the Sharpie!


Nadine said...

This post made me laugh--especially the list. I can relate to it quite well.
I'm not a sharpie person myself--uniball, mainly, and sometimes (if I can find it) my fountain pen. Sometimes I trick myself into believing if I write with a nice pen, nice words might come out.

It's all just another form of denial, really.

Keanan Brand said...

Several years ago, a friend tried to help me out by giving me a calligraphy pen in order to play out a similar notion: nice pen = better writing. Well, I could barely operate the thing! So, it's back to gel ink or Sharpie pens. And sometimes just good, ol'-fashioned pencil. Don't know why, but pencil leads to some pretty cool ideas.