It is really hard to address work ethic with students. There are so many reasons why we can't seem to get to work or stick to the work. I am not sure where I learned the discipline that I have... was it watching my mother paint, even when there was no gallery hunting her down or buyers, having to do chores, regular music lessons, ... or am I just obsessed?
I swear that any success that I have had is simply my ability to stay in the studio and plan my life so that I can be alone in a space... and stay there. Not that I don't struggle with committing! But creating art has not been the hardest issue for me...
here are 10 things that I suggest to students:
1) investigate why you self sabotage? what scares you about success or failure?
2) Maybe you simply never learned how to work! If you never had to work hard at things when you were young, maybe you have to learn that now, rather than blaming yourself- just accept that no one ever taught you and get to work learning a new work ethic
3) Try to learn something really exciting but also REALLY hard... some people who learn fast and things come easy to them give up once they hit the hard part of the road later on...
4) Make a schedule and give it to someone who cares about you, or someone you pay if you can afford it, and ask them to make you accountable
5) Talk about what you are doing (or want to be doing !) to everyone you know... they will keep asking you how it's going!
6) Pay for regular studio/work space or hire someone to work with you -put some skin in the game
7) Create a real deadline if the world does not create one for you (it most often does not) - call that person you admire and hire them to come see 15 minutes of finished material for a date in the future and pay them up front.
8) Apply for a festival BEFORE the piece is done... (that is what most of us do anyway!)
9) Ask yourself how you are working that isn't fun? if it is fun you will want to do it! HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT FUN? I do math puzzles in the studio to get me through rough moments!
BUT if it still isn't fun, maybe you are doing the wrong thing... what WOULD be really fun?
10) Maybe you need a bigger purpose - WHY are you doing it? If there is no burning reason- then you won't do it. I always work on something that scares me and many of the successful creators I know do the same... it has to mean something big and real... it is too hard to create otherwise... make it personal and make it useful.
As we actors like to say 'raise the stakes'