When I was really focused on my fitness goals, I put up pictures of my version of an “ideal body” to give me the visual I needed to continue on my fitness path. I also internalized motivational quotes and used a lot of focusing techniques to keep me driven to reach my goals. Though ripped abs and ever increasing weights are not the central focus in my life, I still have an awesome graphic of a strong woman doing squats as my computer’s desktop image. It comes complete with this statement: “A firm behind like mine comes from the old school leg exercises–deadlift, squat, and lunge.” (For the curious, I stumbled on the pic at Jen Grasso’s Renegade Fitness website here.) I keep this image up to remind me that I have reached my goals before, and to use that success to fuel the success in other areas of my life.
So far, this action plan is working. I am writing and learning more about the process and myself each and every day. However, there are times when I’m just plain tired. Tired of life, or being my own personal cheerleader, whatever. And, though I parallel my writing journey to my fitness journey a LOT, the one thing that doesn’t quite fit is the “pay off” that comes from doing something even when I don’t want to do it.
For example, when I don’t want to train for whatever reason, I could always coax myself to do something which inevitably snowballs into a really good training session. The pay off was, once I started moving I physically felt better (yay endorphins!). Plus, I got great feedback visually because week after week, the result of the constant training was a stronger, more svelte figure. Easy straightforward science.
On the other hand, writing isn’t quite so straightforward. Sure, I can go off of pure word/page counts. And, I do kinda feel like the god of my own universe when stuff starts working and flowing. But, those times that aren’t quite working…when consecutive writing sessions aren’t adding to the story at all despite growing word counts…I begin to feel like…what’s the point?
Why show up?
That’s the feeling that I started with today. Though I was on fire to write yesterday, a long day (which stretched into 5:30AM this morning) turned my writing mindset for today from “on fire” to “blah.”
Thankfully, a few of my darling NerdSquad members were on Twitter, and gave this little pep talk:
And of course, I reminded myself of what Margaret Atwood tweeted at me a few months ago:
On a usual day, I absolutely love the challenge of working through my WIP, either ripping it apart or adding scenes or both. But sometimes, there are days when I’m tempted more than usual to stop progressing. Days that I forget that dreaming up worlds and using words to paint a picture of them is the goal in itself. That I don’t need approval or permission to write; that even if I stop writing, I would invariably return to it (and curse the misspent time of my writing hiatus).
On those days, I’m so grateful to those who walk this path with me to remind me of why I write, and gain strength and encouragement from that.
“When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t crawl, when you can’t do that…you find someone to carry you.”
The Message, Firefly