Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Writing takes discipline.

I have to sit down and work. I have to make goals. I have to meet goals.

I've also found out that the more discipline I have in life the better my writing goes.

I learned that when I have the discipline to eat right and exercise I sleep better, wake up with energy, and I can get more done. If I don't eat right, I feel sluggish and I need naps ... lots of them. I got a recumbent bike that allows me to exercise and read at the same time. Perfect!

Of course, discipline/joy that helps me the most is having daily quiet time. When I take time to read, pray, praise, journal my heart is on-fire and my mind is ready to work.

Over the last 8 months or so I've been disciplined in using the calendar in Outlook. I schedule everything: Bible reading, exercise, writing time, interviews, making dinner, phone meetings--everything. It also helps me as I fill in my to-do list. When I put everything into their own slots I get a realistic look at what I can accomplish--instead of being disappointed at the end of the day because I didn't accomplish as much as I hoped. Also, if another "to-do" comes to mind, I plug it in. Sometimes I schedule it days, weeks, or even months out. I've discovered that when I do this I don't have to worry about that "to-do" anymore because I know I have a plan and it will get done. It also feels good to check things off!

I also make church service a priority. Not service, the noun, but service the verb. My husband and I volunteer in children's church every week and every Wednesday I'm part of a small group study. It helps me to interact and give and serve. We also have a couples' small group every Monday night in our home. The six other couples are our best friends, and it's a great time. It is good to connect with real people!

Of course, being disciplined is HARD WORK. It's easy to make plans, but it's harder to follow through. My eating was good today. My exercise was not. I didn't have quiet time, because I had to take my grandma to the doctor. Some days are better than others, but it's a good reminder that this is a process. We are on pilgrimage, and I trust when I'm working at it day after day, then I will grow closer to God as I disciple myself and as I seek His strength in all these areas.

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sapphire said...

Funny you mention discipline - I think it's one of my greatest weaknesses and it's something I'd like to change.

I've tried scheduling some tasks but many times the rebel in me just ends up ignoring them. I guess that means it's time to fight the good fight and not give in to laziness or selfish excuses or whatever else comes up.

Do you have any helpful tips on how to start? If I think of the big picture and all I want to change, I get overwhelmed. I don't know what to tackle first or where on earth to begin.

How do you increase discipline when you know it's something you lack? Is it a matter of self-will or simply praying and trusting God?

... whew! Hope I didn't overwhelm you with all these questions! *g* I'm just curious to know more of what you and your readers think.

Tabitha said...

Discipline. Funny, I am great at discipline. So great that it irritates me when others aren't and I have a hard time understanding that it isn't easy for others. This comes to me naturally but compassion and mercy are difficult for me. Compassion and mercy are the two things I am working on this year.

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

I am definitely learning what discipline is through out this writing journey. Honestly, this is something I lack. I find it extremely challenging to schedule time to really get a good amount of writing done when I have a 6 month old. I'm a stay at home mom and I absolutely adore it! The challenge for me is, building my own schedule as opposed to having one already outlined for me at work outside the home. This truly requires discipline.

I actually walked through Wal-Mart recently and thought to buy a large calander to put right above my computer. Somehow, I got distracted and didn't get it. I know I should have because it really would help. I'm a pro with Microsoft Outlook...I just don't have it on my home computer.

The only REAL time that I have to do my writing is when the baby is put to bed. That means, I'm up for quite some time, after prayer.

I agree with you that sleep, exercise, eating right and spending that quality time with the Lord is so essential to great writing. I'm truly a work in progress as an aspiring author! Pray for me!

Great Post!
Very Encouraging!

God Bless

Tricia Goyer said...

What great comments!

For me, there is one thing that helps the most. I do "the next thing." This is the most important thing. Actually, it's what God's asking me to do ... which becomes the most important thing.

Sometimes this means writing for 30 minutes. Or it means taking my grandma to lunch. Sometimes it means turning off my computer and going to my room to pray.

It's a balance between doing too much and not doing enough, but I find when I pray, "God what's next," there's a still small voice inside that speaks straight to my heart.

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

That was also very helpful Tricia! I am so thankful that I found this blog. I have been searching everywhere to find a writing mentor- someone who could answer some questions or give a little bit of advice when it comes to writing. It's so hard to find out there- especially if you're a Christian author.

I'm very new to this. Finally, the Lord has released me to write this book and I tell ya, I can feel like no one else around really believes me when I say I'm writing it. On my blog, I wrote a special dedication to my husband... he's been an awesome support!

Thanks again so much. I'll definitely take your advice and apply it!

God Bless You,

Celly B said...

Great post! I use Outlook for our calendar in monthly and weekly formats in my Home Planner binder. We will begin homeschooling this fall, and had thought about using the daily schedule to plan our days. I think I'll give it a try.

I'm so glad to find your website (through Marybeth Whalen's blog). I have always loved writing and taught high-school English for 9 years. I have been at home for 4 years now with my children and am feeling God pull me back toward writing.

Amy said...

Discipline and planning are two things I struggle with daily. It's hard to adust to a more structured lifestyle. However, I am learning to adapt. It makes life easier. Especially now that my husband is entering the ministry. I am leaving behind a job of 13 years, selling our home and leaving the community I was born and raised in. Keeping order in our home is a must right now.

sapphire said...

Tricia, thanks for posting about "the next thing." I am going to try it.

It's a wonderful adventure, isn't it? :) Glad all of us get to share in this journey together.

Clifford said...


I'm so new to this writing ministry that I find myself spending more than half my day reading a lot of material about the publishing industry. Somedays, I feel guilty that I'm not writing enough on my new projects. I need a lot of help in the area of discipline. I never dreamed I would be writing Christian books, magazines articles, and even poetry. I also will be attending Seminary soon. I want to be surrendered to all that the Lord has for me in ministry. I'm going to begin to use my scheduler in outlook everyday. I think it is a great idea to list all items even the seemingly small task. I'm about to begin designing my website. I have a web page available with my dsl service with AT&T. Please give me some advice on how to put this site together.

Tricia Goyer said...

You wonderful people have brought up some very good points here ... and I'll add a few things to remember.

1. Don't spend more time "thinking, reading, and planning" writing ... than actually writing.

2. Set writing goals first, and deal with the "business" of writing after that is done.

3. Find a friend to keep you accountable. Also find someone to help out.

4. Finally pray, that God will help you sort your priorities. It's something I pray all the time!

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

You're right.

I find that if I spend too much time thinking, reading-researching, and planning that I don't get much work done at all. Then, at the end of the day I'm frustrated because I could have gotten a good amount done.

I don't really have someone to keep me accountable. My husband tries very hard- but it's difficult with him, considering work and all. He listens and gives advice if I ask...but for the most part, it's me and God until he sends someone to keep me on my toes about it.

I guess, one thing that constantly boggles my mind is this: How many pages in a Microsoft Document will equal a 300 page book? I'm just so curious to know this. My husband tells me not to worry about it at all because the book will be however long it's supposed to be when I'm done. I just really don't want a 30 page book, you know? I imagine at least a pretty decent size. I don't know why I think about that so much. So far I'm almost at 60 pages... am I writing enough to say that I'm on chapter 6? I am VERY new to this...I didn't realize it would be this challenging.

You're more than welcomed to email me an answer at kennishahill@yahoo.com

Thanks Tricia!

God Bless!

Tricia Goyer said...

The average fiction novel is 70,000 - 90,000 words.

The average non-fiction book is 50,000 - 70,000 words.

I hope that helps!

God's Servant, Kellus' Wife said...

Okay.. thanks for the information Tricia. I guess I'm doing ok.. I'm at 28,476. I realize I need to do more homework on book writing and publishing.

I am doing some research on conferences and organizations that I can be involved in also. That's been on my mind a lot lately anyway...so what you mentioned must be confirmation!

Thanks again and have a blessed day!