MARIELENA ZUNIGA: ON DISCIPLINE
Word of the week. Discipline. It can mean punishment. That’s how it often feels when I have to apply myself to keyboard, screen and the seat of my chair. But as a writer, I know it’s necessary. That’s when I have to remember the word’s true definition – the one that means “self-control” or controlling behavior to produce the desired result – a book, an article – whatever it is I’m writing.
Personally, I hate discipline. Yet, it’s a skill I’ve acquired over the years by virtue of many writing assignments and deadlines. As a freelance writer, I knew I had to meet deadlines or not be paid. Or, on staff at a newspaper or magazine, my editors would have fired me if I had said, “Sorry. I just don’t FEEL like writing today.”
Now I’m employed full-time as a staff writer for an international women’s nonprofit and telecommute. This, for me, has been the ultimate test for discipline. I’m expected to be at my desk and keyboard 8 hours a day. And I have to produce. Show results. I’m hoping someday – when I can finally devote my life to MY writing – that discipline will serve me well, helping me to take my own creative writing as seriously as I’ve taken writing for others.
What’s my point? I’m not sure other than writing (of all kinds) is much like a job. It does take discipline. Even so, I believe a passion and desire to write (and hey, even a little fun with our words) should make that job easier. What do you think and how do you discipline yourself to write?