Some days I can write without ceasing. Words pour from my mind as fast as I can type them up or write them down. They may not be evocative or powerful, deep or in any way profound, but they come in such a fluid way that I can float along. The words flow so fast and deep that I get lost in the process of calling them forth. I get lost in time—lost in the act of mining my mind.
Some days my brain feels depleted. I feel a mental drought. I search the desert for any thought that will inspire me—any modicum of an idea that resembles a start. On these days, instead of pouring out, words must be extracted. I am my own impediment—hyper-conscious of what I am (or am not) doing. I am a writer blocked. Stuck behind an obstacle that is within me.
These are the days when excuses crowd out ideas. Procrastination becomes my primary mode of transportation. I start trying to let myself off the hooks I installed. I start looking for loopholes in my own resolve.
But if I sit down and refuse to let myself up from the table until I’ve written the equivalent of eating my vegetables, then I’ll end up with something. This is when I remember what discipline is for. It isn’t for those days when you’re motivated and inspired. It’s for when the work looks heavy and you’re really, really tired. Discipline is for when you have to fill the pool before you can go swimming. It’s doing the work you have to do in order to start working.