When my husband was training for the Chicago Marathon, he’d get “squirrelly” when he didn’t get his scheduled training runs in. I learned that it was easier to move my schedule to accommodate these 1 or 2 hours of training to keep peace alive in our home.
I’ve come to realize that writing is MY exercise.
I’ve heard that writing is often compared to an “extreme sport”, and I felt the power of that label yesterday. I didn’t get a chance to write because of a number of unplanned things, including an impromptu trip to the endodontist’s office and a cable/internet snafu that unplugged me from the world. The internet is back up and running, and I’m feeling better, albeit bitter: I never had a chance to sit down and work on my novel.
Clearly, this is not the end of the world; there are far greater things to be edgy over than a message on a computer screen saying “unable to connect to server.” However, I’m still edgy.
I’ve come to realize that I have a physical and emotional need to write. It helps me focus. Writing grounds me. The act of sitting down and consciously channeling thoughts from brain to fingertips to keyboard is, well…let’s just say my endorphins kick in. I feel refreshed after I write. I feel whole.
I’ve noticed, too, that I learn something every time I write. Sometimes I learn new and interesting things about the characters I’m creating. Sometimes I learn that I have a loooooooong way to go in my writing skills. But every time I write, there’s a discovery. And that feels like progress in itself.
I’ll try my best not to skip my daily exercise of writing…even if it’s just a mini-session. As Suzanne Harrison recommends in “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Authors”:
Write every day
Joyce Carol Oates said that she would write, even when her soul felt as thin as a playing card, because somehow the act of writing would set it aright. There are going to be times when you just “don’t feel like it”, but like any other job or activity that is important to you, you must still, somehow, sit down every day and write. It has been said that it is by sitting down every day to write that one becomes a writer. Stephen King writes every day, including Christmas Day. Whether you are working on a book, story, article or nothing, still sit down and write something every single day. Even if you only write one page every day, that’s 365 pages in a year and that’s a whole book, isn’t it? When you are a writer, you cannot not write, and writing is like breathing. You have an urge to put things down in print, so to keep that fresh and alive, you need to turn that tap on every day. It’s more than practice. It’s life.
It may not always be easy. It may not always be pretty. It may feel like slogging (for me, it often does). But it will come together, and the finish line will be crossed.