Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Discipline of Your Heart

Mind discipline is rule-bound. It says: You will write for 62.5 minutes every day and produce 1,488 words at each sitting, each sitting commencing at precisely eight minutes past nine o’clock in the morning.

I exaggerate, of course. Yet much discipline is forced, rule-bound, punishing, joyless.

Heart discipline is different. It says that there is no optimal amount of time to spend at this or any writing session.

Heart discipline says, “Trust.”

Trust that when you sit down, whenever you sit down, your Muse will answer your invitation (for your Muse is always with you). Trust that all you hear, including that it is either time to write or time to stop, is true. Trust that all the words that flow through you, be they five or five thousand, are the correct and appropriate ones for the moments in which you hear and record them.

Listen with your heart and discern. Listen with your heart and you will know, through practice, when it is time to start and when it is time to stop. You will know which words will ultimately go and which will stay. Listen to your vision for your work and hew to that. That is your discipline. That is your calling.

Let discipline be your discipleship to that vision, to that calling. That is what it means to be a writer from the heart, a writer of truth. That is what it means to be authentic — as a human being and as a writer. That is what it means to answer the call of your heart, to open to the voice of your Muse.

• excerpted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write by Mark David Gerson (c) 2008. For more excerpts go to

The Voice of the Muse book and companion CD have earned 30-plus five-star reviews on Amazon and 2 literary awards. Get your copy of the book and CD on Alternatively, download it for Kindle, Nook, Kobo or iBook and get your MP3 the CD at Amazon, iTunes or CD Baby.

Photo: by Mark David Gerson: Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Coast, CA

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