Building Discipline and ROW80 Goals

I got into a discussion with my crit partner Susan Bischoff last week, who remarked that I was the only person she knew that, were I to be able to quit my job to write full time, actually would write full time.  After a bit of thought, I decided she was probably right.  The vast majority of people would be well intentioned.  They think, “Oh, if I could just quit my job, I could put out 3 or 4 books a year!”  And then that glorious day would happen, and those people, in the absence of the structure of an Evil Day Job work day, would wind up frittering away all of their time on Twitter or Pinterest or blogging or TV or any of the 875,000 things we love to do to procrastinate.  They might even write less WITHOUT the job than they did WITH the job.  Because they mistakenly think “Oh I have all day instead of just that hour before dinner,” and then their day gets filled up with other stuff, mostly crap, and then they’re left at the end of the day wondering where their time went.


This is the funny thing about time.  It has a habit of always being full, no matter how much or how little you need to cram into a frame.


Honey badger feeding on a snake
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The simple fact of the matter is that it isn’t enough to want to write full time.  If you don’t take the time and make the effort to develop DISCIPLINE and good habits BEFORE you quit your job, you aren’t going to have discipline or good habits after.  This is part of what ROW80 is about.  I want to help you develop that discipline and establish those good habits in your every day life.  I want to help you take YOURSELF seriously as a writer, treat YOURSELF as a professional, so that that bracket of time you can devote to writing, be it an hour or a day, becomes set in your mind as Writing Time–something you protect with the fierceness of a honey badger.  Because here’s the thing–when you’re self employed and most ESPECIALLY when you are a writer, people will not take you seriously unless you make them.  They see what you do as a hobby, not a means of making a living, and assume you can drop what you’re doing to do whatever darn thing they want because it’s no big deal.  You’re self employed and can set your own hours.  Or even, dare I say it, that it’s just not that important because it isn’t like a Real Job.  Yep the morons of the non-creative world think that.  Some of them anyway.

So Susan is absolutely right.  If I’m ever able to quit my day job, I actually will write full time.  I already have a pretty good idea of exactly how my daily schedule will go (because job or no, I am a schedule-happy person).  And it will work because I have spent years developing the discipline to make it work.

I want that for all of you.  I want you to get comfortable with that discipline, with protecting your Writing Time.  So give some thought to that as you make your goals for this Round.  What kind of good habits to you want to establish?  What sort of discipline do you need to work on?


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9 thoughts on “Building Discipline and ROW80 Goals

  1. I know what you mean about frittering away the time. I have an outside job, but it’s very low hours so I’m home most of the time anyway. My hours go by quicker than I often realize. I certainly haven’t built up the discipline yet to stay focused on my writing (or my crafting, another goal). However, I have more than I had when my son was born. Slowly, ever so slowly, I’m getting there. I haven’t stuck with my goals very well or consistently, but I’ve gotten more done by having them. And being a part of a group makes just as big a difference. This challenge is, well, a challenge, but it also doesn’t burn me out either. Like one of your previous posts said, this is more like a marathon than a sprint. We’re in this for the long haul, so we build good habits that take into account the speedbumps life throws at us.

  2. Sadly, I’m one of “those.” I always find that the more crowded my schedule the more I get done. Out of necessity. Now that I’m retired, I’m such a slacker that I rarely find time to get anything done!

  3. I never even thought about people who quit their day jobs to write suddenly NOT writing. It’s a dream for me, but I’m not in a huge hurry since I really do like my day job and my co-workers. But I don’t think I would be a slacker if I wrote full time. I published three novellas in one year along with working a full time job. And I do better on Saturdays, which is the day I don’t usually have anything else to do. But you’ve gotten me thinking…WOULD I be a slacker if I could write full time?

  4. Loved this! I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been a FT employee, a PT employee, a stay-at-home mom, and a mom/writer. In every case, I’ve stayed busy. I must protect my writing time especially now because otherwise things will reach out with their needy tentacles and take my time away. Great post!

  5. And here you go, starting the ROWnd with a post that pokes me in the side right when I needed it, because as, the past twn day break proves, I don’t have the discipline I should. However, it is better; as much as I slacked off, I also accomplished more than I had on the weeks before the start of Round 1.

    Looking forward to the changes from Round 2

  6. Yes, it’s true! You have to know yourself, too. No matter how much I like to think I’d write at home, I know I’d never get any drafting or edits on paper done if I didn’t get out to the coffee shop, away from all the distractions at home.

  7. Ok you’ve convinced me. I should increase my writing time by a half hour each night. Its all about putting the time in and challenging myself with each new round of ROW80. 🙂

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