The door to the study closes; the door to the study opens. Writing and rewriting is two-part, like breathing. Breathing in, I write by and for myself; breathing out, I may reshape my writing for others. The act of writing takes a combination of discipline and privacy. First, a person who is writing needs to assume her right to write which is the same as one's right to privately write and keep the audience out. Part of discipline means shutting the door. All of us must learn strategies to keep the temptations and strictures of audience at bay. Then consider the ideal working conditions behind that closed door--the second part of the discipline of privacy. This means developing a regular practice of writing that feels low-stakes, as normal as breathing. Nothing special. Happens often. No or few preconceptions about product or outcome. Just as it's the writer's responsibility to shut the door and claim his privacy, he also needs to make sure that what happens inside the room maintains that privacy. No one else will build that working environment for the writer: he must do so himself. A writer will shut that bright door more and more often--what others would call "discipline"--because of the happiness which occurs behind the closed door.
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