On the Discipline of Writing

You've heard it said, and it's true, that writing is a discipline. I learned this from my fourteen years as an in-house copywriter. The deadline-driven environment of a publishing house doesn't allow the luxury of waiting for inspiration to hit. The copy must be written, so you write, and inspiration comes in the process—or it doesn't, but you write anyway. The discipline of writing is just the sum of many dry, practical decisions to get the job done. Tonight I'm working on chapter 15 of my book, and I am loving where it is taking me. It didn't feel this way at first; I had no expectations of being taken anywhere. I simply sat myself down with the determination that I was going to write something, even if it was just a few words. I made a tenuous beginning, but it was enough. The pump got primed.
The process is like finger painting: I splash down a few words, then slip-slide them around till I like what I see, and more words come as I go about it, and I play with those till they feel good, and still more words emerge, and so it goes. This picture, this chapter, is shaping up. It began with a choice, but it's coming from my soul. I am trying to write beautifully, and I hope that when people finally read my writing, beauty will be a part of their experience.

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