I’ve been gone awhile. Did you give a shit? No? Me neither, so there, blah. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.
This summer has been filled with my physical issues finally put to rights. Health trumped blogging. I refuse to regale you with the minutiae of my trials. I don’t want to read someone else’s whining and I’m assuming you don’t, either. We all carry around our own personal bucket of suck. Blogging TMI about your aches and pains and body fluids is skeevy, IMO. Worse yet, thinking other people actually want to hear your shit storm is narcissistic.
So, you won’t be catching me doing that here. Lucky you!!
I will, however, correlate my summer experience with writing. Because, that’s what I do. That’s what you’re expecting from me. (If you were looking for skeevy, move along, creeper.)
Has anyone ever been sentenced to three months of physical therapy for age crimes committed to the body? Oo! Oo! I know this one! Me! Me!
If not, let me break it down for you. Physical therapy consists of repetitive exercises and stretching to strengthen the muscle and work the particular kink out of your system that’s giving you fits.
They’re not hard exercises. We’re not talking major cardio. Each exercise is simple and focuses on the same muscle group. Over and over. One foot, two foot, Frankenstein-walk your way with rubber ankle handcuffs across the room. Now do it again. And again. Oh, does it hurt? Are you sweating? Fun time is over, cupcake. Sucks to be you. Now, do it backwards. Strap yourself to this contraption and pull. Pull. Pull. Twist. Pull. Give this big bouncy ball a lap dance. That’s it, move your hips. Get down on all fours. Lift your leg. No. Straight back. Here, don’t let this ball roll off. Straight back! Now lift opposite leg and hand. Yes, at the same time. Thirty times. Don’t let that ball drop! Focus. DO IT, I SAY!
Betsy, WTF? You’re whining. You promised no whining. No one wants to hear this.
I’m not whining. I’m working my way to a point. Each of these small exercises, despite how foolish they looked, despite how doing them repeatedly hurt, had purpose: To work the muscles over and over until the stiff and frozen ache thawed into a strong and flowing forward motion. Pain free! La! La!
I see your face. You’re bored now. Your hand is hovering over the mouse to click on Fakebook instead of my vapid diatribe and you’re thinking: What the hell does this have to do with writing?
Everything! *smack* Aren’t you paying attention?
It’s the “write every day” adage. Work that stiff gray matter every day. Use small, repetitive exercises – a/k/a write a 100 words a day. Write 250 words a day. Write 1k per day! The more you do it, the more the muscle works, the more the words flow. Writing every day keeps your story in the forefront of your mind so it doesn’t get stiff and comatose in the cobwebs of your brain basement.
Writing every day helps you remember where your story’s at, and with daily “workouts” you’ll know where your story’s going so you don’t stall out. Just a few sentences. Start small. Stretch until you feel it, not until it hurts. The next day, you’ll be able to stretch a little bit more. And a little bit more. Your 100 baby step word count might jump to 500 after a steady week of progress, until it builds, stronger and stronger, longer and longer, soon you’re spewing 2k without even blinking…. You get the idea?
So. The take-away lesson? Physical therapy sucks. It hurts. And it takes time and repetition. Lots of time and repetition. But, eventually, the suck goes away and the muscles flow. The same can be said for writing. Bitch slap your fear, your writers’ block, your fickle muse – whatever excuse you’re using to NOT write – and shelve that shit. Just for five minutes. Go write 25 words. Two sentences. Six. More. Just do it. Feel good? Limber? Yeah, that’s the good stuff. Nike and my sadistic PT gal would be so proud.
Now do it every day. For like, weeks. Months. Make it a habit.
Here’s why: Remember when I blogged last fall about Gazelle Girl and her bout with PT because of her squinky heel? How it sucked? How loooooooooooonnnnnnng it took and how many awful cups of Caribou Coffee I had to drink waiting out her PT sessions 3x a week? Yeah, well, here’s the scoop on that: This spring, Gazelle Girl went on to become a State Qualifier in the 300 high hurdles. She’s one of the top hurdlers in the whole f*cking STATE because she put in the time, effort, stretching and OMG-THIS-SUCKS physical therapy to get herself back into champion mode. I am beyond proud.
She is my hero and I will forever beat my chest when I talk about my baby and how she inspires me. She makes me want to be a better writer. She motivates me to pursue my goals. She sets the example of what can be achieved with fierce determination and stick-to-itiv-ness.
Because we all have choices. Every day. We can sit around, surf the ‘net while we wait for ‘inspiration’ to smack us upside the head – Or we can get off our dead asses, force our brains to work and stretch through the pain of story creation to give our novels a daily dose of who’s-your-mama. Keep chugging away until your brain is practically salivating for you to fire up your computer and spew plot and conflict all the way until The End.
Because, that’s how real writers write. Every day. No exceptions.