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A question about self-discipline

Captain’s Log, Stardate 08.23.2006

Self-discipline: So y'all know I've been struggling with this for at least a year now, in relation to my writing, exercise, diet. And I'm still struggling.

So now I come to you guys for more help. How the heck do you discipline yourself???

I've been trying this new thing where I don't check e-mail until the evening so that I'm forced to do work all day. It's going okay, but I don't always fight the temptation to open my e-mail.

So??? Any tips for someone like me???


Writing: Speaking of tips, I posted another synopsis-trimming tip on my Story Sensei blog. If you guys have a question for me, just e-mail me.

I'm working on the new story. Using Donald Maass's WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK to find more conflict, obstacles, turning points. This book totally rocks.


  1. Camy, I struggle with self-discipline all the time. I find that I respond best to short-term goals. An all-day resistance is just too much for me! :)

    I tell myself, "Work on this until 10:00. Then you can get up and get a glass of water. Work on this till noon; then you can go check Camy's blog." If I made myself wait until 5:00 or 8:00 at night, I'd go crazy! Start with baby steps. Write one paragraph, then get up and run around the house to get your energy back up.

    Or just give in to the temptation. Ack! I didn't just say that! :)


  2. Sarah makes a good point. The harder something is, the small portions you need to break it into. Sometimes only 15 minutes. It's enough to make a difference.

    The other thing I would add is to be sure to write down your goals and to be sure to reward yourself. It can be something as simple as checking e-mail or blogs or time to just relax and read. Whatever works for you. I try to make the reward big enough to inspire me, so if I have something I'm really struggling with, I'll make the reward something I really, really want.

  3. Here I thought *you* had some tips on self-discipline.

    Why do we all struggle with that so much--at least most of us: Self-discipline and procrastination which go hand in hand? I know very few people who have their life managed so that they get things done promptly.

    Sorry, don't have any advice. If I did, I'd take it myself. For me the best self-discipline comes with necessity. If it *has* to be done, then I'll get it done. Otherwise I'll just dawdle at it. Pathetic, isn't it? I'll have all sorts of excuses as well, e.g., I have to spare my arm, it's been hurting far too much. Or, I can't concentrate because everything is so noisy. Or, I'm too stressed out to do a proper job. And it is all true but I still wish I'd get things done in spite of the limitations.

  4. Like Sigrun, if I had any advice I'd take it too! But here's something to think about: pick your battles. For me it's hard to spread my self-discipline around. I have to pick the 1 or 2 priorities that I'm going to focus on, and do it. Still I fail sometimes, especially in relation to food, but I have a few victories too.

    I just got the Maass book, and I'm almost afraid to read it, because then I'll see how many MORE problems my book has, and have to do something about it! Maybe ignorance is bliss? Seriously though, I've read the first few chapters, and they are fantastic.

  5. Camy, what I've been trying lately is using a timer. Whenever I'm working at my desk, I set it for 35 minutes, then TRY not to look at it again until it beeps. Then I get up, move around, stretch, make 2-3 trips up and down the stairs, check e-mail, or whatever, for 5-10 minutes. Then back to work and start the timer again. It's not long enough to break the creative momentum, but just enough "something else" to get the juices flowing again.

  6. Hey Camy, I've been struggling with this for almost a month now! I write down goals and can almost hear God laughing! Here's what finally worked - I prayed, "God, you know what needs to get done, so please make sure it happens!" Then I had a bizarre urge to get up at 5am this morning, and had my most productive writing session in a LONG time.

    I keep reassuring myself - it doesn't matter when or how it gets written, only that it does!

  7. I realize tht you are partly talking about writing in this regards and I can not admit to any form of discipline yet in my writing. In fact I just had 5 kid free hours and 3 more kid free husband free hours and have done everything but. However, as far as the rest goes, I went through an incredible Bible study that really helped refocus my heart on the Lord and less on food. Setting Captives Free. The Lord really used this study and the mentor they give you to help me through and prepare me for some difficult things that came right after. The study is free to join and was absolutely eye opening. I would recommend it to anyone struggling with self-discipline. I realize I sound like a commercial but it was the most Biblical approach that I have found to weightloss and excercise (they also have one for smoking and just about every other addiction.)

    BTW I realize the html tags might not work but if you don't want to copy and paste, I do have a link to it from my site as well.


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