I'm working on the discipline to write and publish weekly. Some weeks it's torture, and some weeks it's effortless. Regardless, I show up and write. Whether I feel inspired or not, I write, because I said I would.
By nature, I'm structured, disciplined, and I tend to follow the rules. I'm the type of student who sits in the front row, nods while smiling, and turns in my homework early. My well-mannered parents and polite southern schooling taught me the rules, and I memorized them so I could play the game and win. But eventually the game got boring and I started breaking rules just to see what I could get away with. I desired creativity and freedom, but I didn't know how to find it.
Creativity breaks rules. Creativity isn't straight, like straight A's. Creativity is curvy, wild and unwieldy. Creativity can seem like some elusive magical nymph who occasionally shows up, casts a spell, and then dissolves back into the ether. No matter how hard I've looked in the past for a magical formula or the hidden trap door, I've had a hard time figuring out the rules of creativity.
How can creativity and discipline coexist without negating the other? Creativity is like water - it flows freely and changes forms. Discipline is like the container, and without it, creativity can float away. So I've become a disciple of creativity, using just enough structure to architect my freedom.
Without discipline, creativity could take years to show up. Discipline creates rhythm and habit so that creativity can be free to flow, circulate, and undulate.
Discipline says that I'll write and publish something every week, even when creativity wants to go roller skating instead. Discipline makes me stick to a specific topic for ten minutes when creativity wants to switch to dancing five minutes in. Discipline gets the work done, even when creativity is unreliable or shows up late to the party. Little by little discipline fosters more creativity, and eventually the two become best friends.