Here are some quotes from Oswald Chambers, written in his work “Disciples Indeed“. I like the pragmatic and realistic approach to Christian discipline. Further – as always truth applies across discipline, so if you write, do music, paint, create art, or are working toward any goal that requires study, you will see applications in these nuggets of wisdom.
Study to begin with can never be easy; the determination to form systematic mental habits is the only secret. Don’t begin anything with reluctance.
Beware of any cleverness that keeps you from working. No one is born a worker; men are born poets and artists, but we have to make ourselves “laborers”.
The discipline of our mind is the one domain God has put in our keeping. It is impossible to be of any use to God if we are lazy. God won’t cure laziness, we have to cure it.
Inspiration won’t come irrespective of study, but only because of it. Don’t trust inspiration, use your own “axe” (Psalm 74:5). Work! Think! Don’t luxuriate on the mount!
The demand for inspiration is the measure of our laziness. Do things that don’t come by inspiration.
Your mind can never be under your control unless you bring it there; there is no gift for control. You may pray till Doomsday but your brain will never concentrate if you don’t make it concentrate.
In the most superficial matters put yourself under control, your own control. Be as scrupulously punctual in your private habits as you would be in government office.
It is better for your mental life to study several subjects at once rather than one alone. What exhausts the brain is not using it, but abusing it by nervous waste in other directions. As a general rule the brain can never do too much.
You can never work by impulse, you can only work by steady patient plod. It is the odd 5 minutes that tells.
To learn a thing is different from thinking out a problem. The only way to learn a thing is to keep after it uninterruptedly, day after day, whether you feel like it or not, and you will wake up one morning and find the thing is learned.
Beware of succumbing to failure as inevitable; make it a stepping-stone to success.
In beginning to study new subject you do it by repeated starts until you get your mind in a certain channel, after that the subject becomes full of sustained interest.
We have no business to go on impulses spiritually, we have to form the mind “which was also in Christ Jesus.” People say their impulses are their guide – “I feel impelled to do this, or that” – that may be sufficient indication that you should not do it.
Vision is an inspiration to stand us in good stead in the drudgery of discipline, the temptation is to despise the discipline.
The more we talk about work, the less we work, and the same with prayer.
Enchain your body to habitual obedience.
Beware of being haunted by the suppressed dissatisfaction with the arrangements of your actual life – get with the right program! The secret of slacking is just there.