Topic: “discipline”

On Writing (and Missed Days)

Anyone who has been paying attention to my little experiment over on Ardent Fidelity will note that the header content (I am writing up reflections on my devotions every day for six weeks. This is one of those posts.) hasn’t proven to be exactly 100% accurate. I set out with the goal to actually write every day. The first couple weeks went all right, but the last two have been hit or miss.1 There are a number of reasons for that—most of them very good reasons, in fact, like spending time with old friends in town for an evening, or taking care of my wife when she had a particularly depressed evening. Most importantly, the goal has helped me be much more disciplined in my own personal devotions (which have happened much closer to every night than the blog posts have these last two weeks).

Maintaining discipline on any endeavor like this is tough, though. Writing takes mental energy that can be hard to come by at the end of the day, and doing this particular project at the beginning of the day has been a non-starter for me. I find it very difficult to transition from writing to programming (though not the other way around), and since I get paid to develop software but not to write, it only makes sense to start with the software work. Come 9 or 10 pm, though, when I finally have time to start on the devotional writeup, and it has sometimes been difficult to find the emotional, mental, and even physical energy to crank out 500 words.

It’s not that it takes a particularly long time to write 500 words—half an hour at most—but that careful reflection and writing well are simply hard. That, of course, is also part of what makes them so rewarding. Few things that are really worth doing come without some effort; this is no difference. I’m not sure whether I will continue shooting for daily posts when I finish this 6-week session. While I would like to, my family has to come first, and my work and schoolwork both have to get done before pleasure-writing. More, I have two other major creative projects on my plate at the moment, one of them announced and coming along, albeit slowly; the other still in the germination stage, but aiming for a January 2014 launch, which will require a lot of setup. I am going to make a point to write no less than once a week, though, because I have so profoundly enjoyed the discipline of writing regularly.

As I have often found throughout the years, writing helps me see my own thoughts more clearly; indeed, it often helps me forge my thoughts. At the same time, I am now often writing academically, and being “forced” (by my own desires) to write more simply for a non-technical audience is both good for me and pleasurable. In any case, it has been just about 8 years since I started blogging—on Xanga, of all things—and I don’t intend to slow down now.


  1. My respect for folks like Christian super-bloggers Justin Taylor and Tim Challies has gone up substantially, though of course more for their early days than for now, when it’s a part of each of their jobs. 

The Return of the Shadow

Tolkien was, unquestionably, a master of his art. There has never been anyone quite like him – not before him, and not since. I have written about this at some length before, and I suspect I will again.

In reading Christopher Tolkien’s The Return of the Shadow: The History of The Lord of the Rings, Part I, one salient point about artistic endeavors came into sharp focus: Tolkien’s remarkable self-discipline and work ethic. He just kept at it. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Consistency

All creative arts require exercise. This is never more clear to me than when I have not been writing regularly, as in the last year. It is not so much that my writing is always bad. Rather, it is inconsistent. Wildly, annoyingly inconsistent. I can sit down and write one post that satisfies me, and then turn around and write another that leaves me deeply frustrated. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Atrophied muscles

I love writing. I’ve known this for a long time, but it has become increasingly clear over the last few years. Taking a year off has only made that more clear. A year ago, I decided to attempt to write a novel, and so to trade one sort of writing for another. For better or for worse, the novel didn’t happen. I managed to write about 10,000 words, but Read on, intrepid explorer →