Self-discipline when writing

There are a few procrastination and writer’s block threads, but as they all seemed quite personal I didn’t feel I had the right to revive them. So…


  • how do you encourage yourself to write regularly?
  • how do you stop avoiding specific writing jobs? (Like proofing/coding)
  • how do you avoid doing the things you shouldn’t be doing?

I know this topic is pretty generic, but I’ve been really struggling with my self-discipline recently. I told my partner about it last night and bless her, she’s been supportive and suggests little steps. I’ve been reading back through previous posts on self-discipline and thought it’d be nice to hear from people about this subject–but I also wanted a place where I could feel free to put some links up to my favourite posts from previous threads.

I’ve also been struggling to eat right, take exercise and do my other work. I don’t know if thats connected. Its been particularly hard to write new sentences (not imagine what to write, I know what to write, I’m just not writing it) – I’ve spent a great deal of time coding to avoid doing it. I’ve also been youtube-ing hundreds of ‘let’s plays’ of a recent video game release (as an addict I don’t let myself play them, but clearly even this proxy gaming has gotten out of hand).
Anyway, it’d be great to hear people’s thoughts. Step 1 - recognise the problem… :disappointed_relieved:


Honestly, when it comes to writer’s block, the best piece of advice I’ve ever come across is “give yourself permission to write garbage.”

I find that what holds people back from writing more than anything is the worry that what they write won’t be good enough or that they could do better. All the best writer’s have a need for perfection that they’ll never be able to attain. So many great projects never get finished because the writer loses confidence in the project and doesn’t think anybody will want to read it.

The truth is, no piece of literature is perfect, but there’s plenty that we enjoy despite their flaws. A finished, imperfect piece of literature is always better than a couple of perfect paragraphs of a story that never get finished because the writer loses confidence. :blush:

  • Just write. Writing itself is enough to encourage me to continue… writing, fortunately.
  • And, avoiding writing jobs? Well, I don’t really get it what you’re asking, But! If I’m about to stop writing, I just stop. Simply Ctrl + S and then click the Cross button on top-left. (There always a moment where I was like “Ah, screw it” and then stop writing :stuck_out_tongue: )
  • And lastly, I don’t know. Staying awake 'till midnight has been rooted to my very soul. I think I need more motivation to sleep early.

And about writer’s blocks, I simply write anything that comes to my mind, save my project when I feel it’s good enough, and call it a day.
It’s quite ironic, but I found it that when I got enough rest and wake up the next day, there’s this light from the haven giving me that one inspiration I need. Then I can proceed to re-read and evaluate my previous draft.


Set a time and stick to it.

I used to wake up half an hour early to write, but then my schedule changed and I ended up getting to bed much later so that was thrown out the window.

Now I set half an hour aside in the late afternoon. It works well for me because I don’t eat lunch (a skill adapted from the fact that 90% of the food I could find nearby was beef and I don’t eat beef- family tradition, my mom wrote for a health journal for a while and now nobody eats beef- so there was never anything to eat anyways).

So I use my lunchtime to write. Then, I wake up early on weekends to write, an hour or two hours or however much I can spare. Just set a time, and stick to it. Routine helps.

For proofing:
So mainly it’s just practice and experience. Print it out (a hard copy makes it look more urgent and I find it helps when trying to find errors), get a red pen, blue pen, pink pen- whatever works best for you, and edit by hand.

Yes, it is more work to go through the hand-edits and fix them again on the computer, but it really helps, and the whole ‘going through it a second time to transfer to the computer’ also really helps you see even more that you can do to polish it up.

For coding:
Well… I code as I write. It helps me keep track of the flow of everything. Of what path has been done, what hasn’t been done, how the different paths interact and change, etc. etc.

I… uh… well, admittedly I’m not very good at this one.

But really only when getting started.

I find that the hardest thing about writing is sitting down to write. (I feel like that’s a quote from someone but I can’t remember who…) But once you sit down you just… keep going. You get into the flow of the story and it’s a lot like spacing out when you listen to music. You just keep going.


This is among my greatest weaknesses.

Though work and personal life/health really plays with my impulsiveness. The biggest mistake I make is over thinking about what I’m going to work on when I can’t physically work on it and by the time I get home I can’t bring myself to work on it being physically and mentally tired. Because throughout the work day I’ve done pages of writing ‘in my brain’ so much that I’m tired of thinking about it.

How do I curb this, meditation and workouts ‘recently’ but the core of it is simply “Don’t think about working on your story unless you can actually sit and work on your story” or looking at it from the other side ‘distract yourself utterly and completely until you find yourself face to screen.’

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Distractions can’t be distracting if they aren’t available to you. Log out of skype. Unplug your router. Shove your phone in your underwear drawer. Shut off the TV (What, you still watch TV? Are you a caveman?). If silence doesn’t work for you then put on some uncomplicated music or nature sounds, anything that doesn’t require brain power to listen to. Limit yourself to writing tools when you’re in the writing zone.