by Christine Kling
The last couple of months have seen some amazing achievements by people who had to reach far beyond their comfort zones. Jeanne Socrates finally completed her non-stop solo circumnavigation on her third try at age 70, and Diana Nyad, at age 64, completed her swim from Cuba to Key West and taught her detractors a thing or two about the Gulf Stream in the process. These two women personify tenacity.
When I meet people for the first time and we get around to talking about our professions, I often get the comment, “That’s something I’ve always wanted to do. My (fill in the blank with mother, teacher, wife) always told me me that I should write a book. I envy you.” There are many people who have terrific talent, but they lack the commitment to complete a book or a voyage or the many, many hours of practice it takes to get good at anything.
Kenneth Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager wrote,”
“There’s a difference between interest
and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it
only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you
accept no excuses – only results.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think I have the best job in the world. But still, it is a job. And it can be very stressful. What some people don’t realize is this writing gig can be hard work. Inventing, creating new characters and scenes and worlds is hard work for me. I’m not one of those people who joyfully sits down and trips the light fantastic through 6,000 words as easily as typing. It requires intense concentration and mental energy and most important of all — self-discipline.
We have grown into a society that adheres to the principle “If you don’t get caught, it isn’t wrong.” Very few American workers do a good job for the sake of doing something right, and if the boss isn’t watching, they goof off. If they didn’t have to punch a time clock, they might not even show up. That is the society I grew up in. I struggle with this every day.
Self-discipline does not come naturally to me. I am a life-long procrastinator. But in this line of work, there is no time clock and no boss to monitor me during the day. There is nothing to stop me from reading a book, playing on Facebook, shopping for boats on Yachtworld.com, or turning on the TV. The only thing that prevents me from doing any of that during the day is my own determination to finish this paragraph, this chapter, this book. And then the next. And the next.
To be successful at this thing I’m not naturally good at, I must choose tenacity. I work at it and worry it every day. Even if I only get a few words written, I won’t give up. I’m back in the chair the next day.
Words of encouragement help. I found this Pinterest board with some lovely posters and quotes. Take a minute, click on this link and read. Then make your choice.
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