I Need Your Discipline, I Need Your Help

I treated myself to a Keychron K6 keyboard for my birthday. My (still rather sound) reasoning was that this would mean my grimy fingers would make less contact with my MacBook Air’s keyboard, and that this’ll keep my machine healthy for longer. I picked the K6 ’cause of its deliciously tactile feel and that magical clickity-clackity sound it makes.

But this isn’t a product review. The keyboard was soon followed up with a simple Logitech mouse, and that meant that I needed a more spacious desk and, before you knew it, here we are.

But this isn’t a post to show off my lovely little work station either. The point I’m trying to make is that, because of my desire to keep those grubby fingers off my Air’s precious little keyboard, I’ve only been doing my work sitting up (reasonably) straight and at my desk, instead of slouching over on my bed.

Discipline.

Or, at the very least, my version of it. What I’ve learned over the years that I’ve been doing this—writing fiction, writing professionally and just plain writing—is that discipline looks different to everyone. You don’t necessarily need to write a thousand words a day or have a dedicated office completely cut off from the outside world. You just need to be honest with yourself and do what works for you.

So, what works for me?

Well, for one thing, a work station away from my bed seems to do me a fair bit of good. It’s not that I can’t write in bed; it’s that the line between work and rest begins to blur. Granted, there are plenty of distractions whenever I pop open my laptop anyway, but at least when I make that clear distinction, I’m consciously more aware of how much work I’m doing—whether that’s actually typing away or thinking about a plot—and that adds structure to my day.

That’s an important one: structure. My day doesn’t have to be rigidly planned, but I need to at least have a rough idea. Most of the time, that means regular nine-to-five hours and, while I might play loosey goosey within that structure, the key word there is “within.” This means that, more often than not, I give myself enough time to rest and make sure that I don’t waste my day.

Rituals help reinforce that structure. I could (and probably will) write a whole post about my relationship between writing and music, but I will say that having the ritual of flipping records has become a pretty important part of my work days.

Speaking of music (and to bring this post to a close), just in case anyone was wondering, the title’s a reference to this Nine Inch Nails track, not a hint about my kinks.

Or is it…


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