Wait a gosh darned minute here! You may be shouting. This isn’t an exercise blog and you need to get your garbage out of my face! But I beg you, my sweet summer children, to hear me out and just follow along. This does have to do with writing. Because, though I never thought it would be possible, I have found a correlation between the two through my own experience.
I’m not going to spend time giving you numbers or talking about workouts. That’s not what this is for. Nor am I going to tell you that once you finally start exercising, you’ll be bursting with energy and nothing will stop you. You know what stops me? Peanut butter patties and sleep. Two of the worst things in this world. But if you ever want to talk exercise, please, feel free to contact me on the numerous forms of social media. I’m not an expert (at anything but sleeping and Skyrim) but I will sure as hell talk with you about it.
All of us are guilty of sitting in front of a screen and staring at the keyboard wishing all the words would just come out in a torrent so that project would finally stop ruining you every waking minute that you’re not working on it. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I have an entire folder of half-finished ideas that are like warm glasses of water; a waste to throw away, but unappealing to try again.
My perspective changed a few years back that has improved my writing. One of my closest friends invited me to the gym on campus and I figured What the hell? It’s free and I’ve got nothing going on. It was a nightmare. The pain, the sweat, and delayed muscle soreness. Two weeks into the process I was ready to set myself on fire. But I continued and soon, over a long span of time, I started seeing progress. It was small and no one else seemed to notice, but I began to physically change.
We moved the weights up gradually. Though we’d stand there in the gym and watch these behemoths of people lift a vast amount of weight or run for what seemed for fucking oh my god ever, we knew that we weren’t ready for that kind of stress. Instead, we continued at our low weight and tracked our snail-paced progress. We learned that slow and steady was the safest way to be.
And then one day, when discussing this slow pace with someone who was pretending to care about exercise because I was waving my arms too much, it hit me that this was just the same with writing. Oh yeah, I’ve read all the guides and advice and they do keep me going or give me a boost of energy, there’s nothing that’s going to speed up the process. It’s going to be painful, long, and unrewarding. Like in the gym, I found there were days when I’d finished writing a single page and though it was hard work, I knew half of it was garbage.
But you continue to strive forward to the end.
And then you make it to the end and that’s when you can breathe for a moment.
Because then the worst part happens; revising.
Without spending time in the gym, I would have never recognized this. Most have developed this perspective. It wasn’t until I found something outside of writing to show me what I needed to do about writing.
It sounds like I don’t enjoy either exercise or writing. That’s true. Sometimes I loathe both equally. But you know what? We do it because we need to. Not because we want to. When we realize that, then we can set about processing and determining our own fate.