Saturday, February 15, 2014

Maintain Discipline

The Winter Olympics in Sochi play out and you can see the fruits of athletes' training and disciple. It is a commitment that they make, a sacrifice to chase after being the best in their sport—the training, the diet, the events in people’s lives missed, the thrill of achievement and the bitter taste of defeat along the way that pushed them to this level of competition.  Some of them have overcome injuries that would have benched most people. Some have overcome obstacles that would have made others walk away. Some have even quit only to be driven to try just one more time. They are champions just to be there.

Does this sound at all familiar to you as a writer? It should. Unlike those Olympians, our discipline requires us to sit in a chair when we probably could use more time in the gym. Yet, every writer who works at the art—chasing the dream and after having achieved it once, twice, or more—trains every day in the art of writing. Writing cannot be taught. You can teach the mechanics of writing. But you can’t teach the art behind it. This can only be developed with discipline. The goal of our daily training can only be achieved with a discipline of doing our art, putting ourselves out there, and never ever giving up—even when we feel like we should.

Not that long ago, I almost retired my pen. I was and still am nowhere near the goal I want to reach. Over the last several years I have had a heap of obstacles that have stood in the way of my writing. As I faced them—still face them—I felt myself slide into depression as I couldn’t believe my dreams were crashing about me. But, this is where the amateurs and the professionals separate. It is the discipline to keep going and recover what you have lost to try again—and again—and again and never surrender.

There is no one way to climb the mountain range that we climb. Each of us takes our own paths to each summit, see the next one and start to mount the next climb. True, there are a lot of books and advice out there about how to write or how to manage your career. The fact is no matter what you do you can’t make the climb without the discipline to get it done. Like the Olympians who challenge themselves to reach for the Gold, you have to challenge yourself for the next achievement in your writing career. It takes talent, it takes determination, and it takes discipline. The sport for the Olympians is their calling and their life. This art of writing is ours.

The Olympians dare everything to stand as tall as they do. Do you dare so much?

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