Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Gym Work

I've often used the axiom that writing is like going to the gym - once you skip a day, it becomes much easier to skip the next day.  Well, I've proven that to myself in spades recently.

Those who follow closely know that I have a kind of "writing season" in which I try to churn out work.  That plan worked wonderfully...until the past eight months.  I finished Homecoming last fall and decided to take a break to catch my breath.  I just knew that I'd be able to get into the flow of things again when the calendar hit 2014.  Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned.

Taking off a couple of months from writing almost every day sapped my energy to do it consistently when the time came.  I made excuses about how life was so busy and that I needed some time off, but I never got back into it the way I once was.  Sure, I started two novels earlier in the year that have since gone into a drawer, but I soothed my conscience by saying I was going to get back into them any day(you know...once life slowed down).

However, I've found that the less I write on a specific project, the lower my motivation goes, much like hitting the gym.  When you hit the gym, you grunt and groan through the aches and pains, but it eventually becomes a habit.  You know inside that breaking that habit will mean you aren't getting as much benefit, but just one day off doesn't seem like a big deal.


When I find an excuse, it gets easier to use that excuse again.  "Oh, I'm too tired."  "You know, it's really late and I have this presentation due."  "I've been waiting for this TV show's episode all year."  Blah blah blah.  One or two legitimate reasons spaced out over time turn into searching for reasons not to do it, all out of both fear and laziness.

The laziness is simple.  We lead hard lives and sometimes want to veg out.  But vegging out can become a lifestyle.  The fear is harder to cop to - what if what I produce isn't up to my usual standards?  What if I've "lost it?"  What if I write so much that isn't good that the time is wasted and I have to re-write it?  These play no small part in a writer's motivation.

Still, they're just excuses.  I am going to work some on one of my new novels this week, despite a hectic schedule that includes moving.  I'm looking to break the inertia and get back into a groove so I can have at least two more novels before Akeldama comes out in May 2016.  Getting back into the swing will cause the aches that inevitably come with getting back into the gym, but I hope those are short lived and the passion returns for a particular project.  Only time will tell.

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