Persistence, Writing, and Sports

One of my challenges in writing novels is to keep the persistence and motivation up. There are days when I just didn’t feel like doing it, or when I feel like I’m hitting a wall of “forever doomed unsuccessful”. Yeah, those are my dramatic moments.

I know that the key is to keep on doing it, and if I keep at it, I will prevail. That’s the big theme. But sometimes the big theme needs little steps, the small things that would keep me going each day. It’s like someone said to me, “If you walk straight from here in Berlin, you will get to Rome.” Even if I’m really certain he’s right, I would still need milestones. I need something to tell me that I am making progress.

Is there a way I could benchmark writing? I know some writers use word counts. Others clock the hours. But how would I know that I have progressed? That I have done the right thing? That I am actually writing better words than last time?

I don’t know yet. Maybe I will never be sure of it. Because I realized writing is an art, and there’s no sure way of telling if today’s work is better than yesterday’s.

Bummer.

But maybe… If I could do something else for benchmarking, then I could at least see the hope of progressing. What could I relate to writing?

I tried sports.

Why? The first reason is because I was a total klutz in sports. If I could progress in something that was that hopeless, then I could certainly progress in writing.

The second reason is because it is something I managed to do regularly for the past 3.5 years. I did home DVD pilates, yoga, and exergaming: eyetoy kinetic, wii fit, and ea active sports. I started 2 – 4 times a week, from half an hour to an hour per session.

In the first couple of months, I didn’t feel any difference. I didn’t lose any weight, my muscles still looked the same lame thing. I almost lost my patience.

But then things started to change. I started off stiff as a board; I couldn’t even touch my toes. I started to inch closer and closer to my toes, and after a year (or so) of pilates, I can (finally!) touch them.

I used to hate running, but in the last four weeks I decided to add jogging to my sports activity. Perhaps I got bitten by the spring bug? But I must say, I finally started to enjoy running too. And what I like even more: it’s easier to track my progress. And I did progress.

I feel it now. Every little thing helped me. Maybe I couldn’t feel it the next day (because I could only feel the muscle aches) , but I would definitely feel it in the next weeks. If I could bring myself to persist in sports, I could definitely persist in something I love too.

And so I continued writing. Inching towards my goal.

8 Comments

  1. I’m sure you reached your creative toes a long time ago, my friend. Keep up the good writing and if you ever need a nudge, you know where to find me.

    Reply
  2. Great article, I know the feeling of not being able to track my progress, I’ll retake up novel writing once time becomes availiable with your wise words in mind.

    Reply
  3. Hey Astrid,
    well, what happened couple of days ago is that i opened my diary, which i didn’t (unfortunately) touch for many months and just randomly started reading it. what hit me is that how well it sounded (for my standards, of course ;)). there were good sentences, which i didn’t see when i was in the process of writing. perhaps one way is to put it off for a while and then read it again, but when you feel inside that this is the right moment, because only then your “receptors” are well-tuned. this feeling from the stomach will tell you which words, paragraphs are good and which are less…
    and you will be surprised with how many sentences you will be pleased with :)
    courage!
    aigul

    Reply
    • Thank you Aigul! So sorry I somehow forgot to reply to your comment… yes, you’re right, sometimes I’m a very harsh critic on my own writing I couldn’t see anything good in it (or was too afraid to say it’s good for thinking I might be delusional). But it’s one of the things we learn with time and experience :)

      Reply

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