Over the last several years, I've spent a considerable amount of time and energy griping about my work schedule.  I work two jobs on top of trying to write and keep up with family, house keeping, and the like.  When I first started, especially, I had three jobs (two part time online teaching gigs) and with all the class development I had to do, I was easily working 60-70 hour weeks before writing.  A couple years ago, I was able to pick up some extra classes at the full university level, so I was blessedly able to drop the community college teaching (which was a lot of work and paid poorly).  But still, I've devoted a lot of time and effort to complaining and resenting every minute of those jobs and the stress that they caused that kept me from my writing.  Because, by God, I don't want to DO anything else.

Today I'm having a bit of an epiphany about the gift I've been given by having such a demanding schedule for the last six years.  I mean, apart from the obvious about getting us out of debt, building a bit of a nest egg, buying a house, renovating that house, selling said house, buying bigger nicer house stuff.  What I'm thinking about today has nothing to do with those monetary benefits of working all those extra hours.  No, the thing I'm most grateful for out of this experience is the discipline.

I keep an insane schedule.  I exercise daily, have my full time research job, teach my classes, walk my dogs, write, cook almost everything from scratch in our gluten free household, watch a little TV, hang with my hubby, maintain a cooking blog, engage in social media...the list goes on, and on, and on.  

Routinely people refer to me as Superwoman and ask how I do so much.  

Discipline.

I've seen other writers flounder over the last few years because they lack it.  They don't have a rigid structure imposed on their day by a day job or kids' schedules or whatever external thing.  And without having a frame, they somehow manage to get less done than I do in my limited span.  Days might go by when they don't write at all.  Some of the writers who were around when I began this professional journey aren't even around anymore.  Which is just sad, because some of them were super talented.  But talent only gets you so far in this business.  Discipline gets you the rest.  It's what separates the pros from the amateurs.  And discipline is not something most people are born with.  Discipline must be learned, just like craft or dialogue or story structure or any of the other oodles of things that go into writing a viable and engaging book.

Discipline is the gift I've been given from all of my jobs and responsibilities.  And as much as I don't want to go on like this forever (fingers crossed), I am grateful for the time I have had in this crucible, honing my ability to juggle, to focus, to produce, no matter how little time I have to spend.  Because whenever I do finally get blessed by the ability to quit my jobs and write full time, I'll be able to take those skills and apply them to running my own business.
 





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