Thursday, July 8, 2010

Discipline . . .

Get into the car, drive down into Waynesville, go inside, up the stairs, and to the treadmill—each action, separate yet one, propels me to the start of my goal. The goal being: to jog/run five miles. I know once I’m on the treadmill, I still have to reach a certain point before I know I’ll make it. Two and a half to three miles into it, I’m pretty set, in the zone so to speak, and will continue on to that five mile mark, sometimes with the feeling I could keep going (and I probably will when time allows).

Even as short a time ago as April of this year, I never thought I’d run five minutes (seriously), much less five miles. Used to be, only walking on the treadmill for a little while drove me up the wall. B O R I N G. I wanted to be doing something else. And to run or jog? Bleah!

But, I made up my mind I wanted to start running. I wanted to see what I could do if I just disciplined myself to it. So, I jumped on the treadmill and hit “quick start” and then began. I first ran as long as I was able without letting myself think on goals of how long or how fast. I just jogged along until I thought I’d had enough, and without berating myself at all (no berating!), I’d step off. Then the next time, I went at least as long as that, or maybe a little longer. Once I felt comfortable with the action, I began to set small goals, and built on them.

In my getting on the treadmill and keeping my eyes forward and my feet moving, it wasn’t long before five miles “just happened.” I added some music, and that helped the time move forward, for I had something to focus on besides my breathing and the sounds of my feet. I also found the pace at which I can go where reaching that five miles is attainable.

All of this takes Discipline. Without discipline, I’d never have reached, or even known I could reach, those five miles and the promise of going more if I choose.

Do I sometimes get a little restless? Yes. Do I sometimes have back pain? Yes. Do I sometimes want to Not Go and do something else. Yes. But I do it anyway. Some days/nights my back complains loudly, but I ignore it because this is something I want to do—the running. Some days I think I won’t make the five miles, so I tell myself to just get on and see what happens, and then I keep going past that point where I’m almost ready to give up.

Discipline. It’s the same concept with writing. Sit in your chair, open the word document, put your fingers on the keys, begin, and then when you think you want to stop, keep going, find that second wind, and every so often, push yourself just a little more. Perhaps you’ll surprise yourself with how far you can go. Perhaps you’ll lose yourself in the words and language and before you know it, you’ve written more words than you’ve ever written.

Without discipline, it’s difficult to be a writer. Even with deadlines, so much of what we do is self-motivated, and beyond that, we are never certain of a final outcome. If we do not jump onto that treadmill and put one foot in front of the other, over and over and over, then the work will not be done. Without discipline, the work is not done. Simple as that.

Are you ready to discipline yourself?


PS - My youngest brother Tommy (some of you have "met" him here before - and he's the one who is in the shadow pictures below) is in the hospital - keep your thoughts positive for him, will you? We think it's something minor, but anytime someone has to go to hospital . . .


Linda said...

Good for you, Kat! I agree that without discipline it's hard to accomplish much of anything we set our sights on. If one can be disciplined in one area, it proves that they have what it takes to be discplined in another, don't you think?

Marisa Birns said...

Am impressed by your 5-miles of discipline. Go, you!

Love how you used that example to tie into writing. Yes, when it comes down to it, writers need to put their behinds in chairs and get ready for the discipline needed to accomplish all goals.

And, of course, I am thinking and sending positive thoughts to your brother for a quick recovery.


john bord said...

Life carries a discipline with it that can easily be shoved into the corner. Ethics is one that is no longer in the lexicon of most people.

Yet as you note, discipline is across the spectrum, whether it is exercise or writing.

There is no boss giving directions but self, great points, thnx.

ficwriter said...

I'm so proud of you. When I clip up the stairs in my house I pant like a thirsty cat. Everything in my life (and I know this is wrong) has been on the "after the manuscript is complete list." Now its on the "after the last chapter and proposal are written list." Then, I'm sure there will be another list. But after that, I'll get in shape. :)

Michelle H. said...

Many prayers and positive thoughts to your brother. Hugs too!

Doreen said...

good for you! I should try it again. use to jog, short distances. but was trying to build it up. have had two back surgeries since then. I wonder how my titanium rods and screws would do jogging now?

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Congrats on the 5 miles! What an accomplishment!

Thanks for the post on self-discipline. Lately I've had little of that and lots of laziness and goofing off.

Got to go get on my writing treadmill and, at least, write for a mile or two!

Terri Tiffany said...

Well-- I did it. I finished Secret Graces just now. And my eyes are all blurred up from bawling over the last two chapters. All I can say is YAY she did it. I love her brother Mica and the scene where he returns to her--that's where the crying started up. You did a fantastic job making me relate to her. I LOVED her ending!!! Thank you for a really great read!

Sharla said...

I miss you girl! I've been gone for a while. Pulled out TG the other day...going to reread and then go get SG! yeah, I'm behind.

Teresa said...

Congrats on the run! I know how much discipline that takes. I'm slowly getting back into my exercise routines.

I'm taking a much needed break while I re-charge my batteries and watch the Tudors. I'm working on my next book, but I'm in those plodding, pondering stages right now. Soon, I'll be back to writing every evening from 7 - (whenever I'm done).

I hope your brother is well soon!

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

Hope your brother is okay!

And woot for 5 miles. :)

As for the discipline, I agree with the comment above that success begets success. I know for myself that meeting even one of my personal goals makes it more likely I'll meet another.

Stephanie Faris said...

Music...and diet diaries. If I get bored with the music I'm listening to during my daily walk, I just download some more (or get them free from the library). I keep a diet diary in the fashion Weight Watchers was doing back in the early 00s, before they changed it to a way I don't like. I just take a legal sheet and fold it and that makes seven days perfectly. I log down every thing I eat and my workout (using WW points system) and that motivates me because the more activity, the more I can eat!

Marguerite said...

You are so right about the self discipline! Blogging is a great way to keep disciplined with writing. Sending many positive thoughts to your brother for a speedy recovery!

Stacy Post said...

Kat, I completely agree. I strive to put one word in front of the other repeatedly.

Good luck with the jogging! Do I smell a mini-marathon in your future?

Good thoughts from Indiana for your brother too!

Glynis said...

I try, I do, I try to be disciplined. I am swimming lengths, building them day by day. I have hit 60 in one session, my target is 100. The best part is lying on the sunlounger resting the flab...LOL

Healthy wishes for your brother. :)