Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Work-out Writer
When I was in Oregon, I jogged a rather difficult path with my son. It surprised me how much trouble I was having, because I thought I’d been doing The Difficult Workout on my treadmill. It wasn’t until I returned home that I recognized what I had been doing. Before my trip to Oregon, I'd be on the treadmill and whenever the end of a song came, I’d stop, take a drink, stretch a bit, and then hit it again. What I noticed once I returned from Oregon was that as a song began to end, my body began to tell me to STOP! I saw how I intently watched that little indicator to see when the song would end, and could actually feel the tension in my body urge me to STOP.
I didn’t stop that time, or the next, or next, and soon my body began to adjust to the idea that I wasn’t going to let it get away with it. There are times we must push through when our bodies/minds tell us it wants to slow down or stop—not to the point of exhaustion or dangerous over-working, but that you’ll need to figure out for yourself -- what is your truths and what is your justifications/excuses.
Writer: Some days I just ain’t feelin’ it, you know? Some days I whine that I haven't even been noticed by the New York Times, much less on their best seller's list. Publishers Weekly, why hast thouest forsaken me? Oprah, well dang, that's a long shot of a mil to half of one. Little Indie Bookstores I touted so hard, why ain't my books in your stores? Oh sigh. Wah Wah Wah Woe.
Well, Kat, suck it up. Sit your arse down in the chair, fingers to keys, and write. Timed scheduled writing isn’t going to do it for me, but that's just me. If I have to watch the clock, then I’m going to be ever aware of that clock ticking: 15 minutes of writing? Okay – tic toc tic toc tic toc. The work also isn’t going to be done by my whining about how haaarrrrd it is to be a wrriiiiiitteer—um, maybe it is sometimes hard, but the jobs I had before were soul-suckers, and which would I rather be doing? Tic Toc – let me take a wild guess here: writing? Duh! Yes! Time to stop whining and time to stop my “mind/body” from telling me I caaaaann’t. Books aren’t written by rolling our eyes and sighing about how writers are full of angst and woe-is-me. Royalties aren’t paid to writers who aren’t producing books. The work is done by doing the work. There will be "off days" and I'll respect them, but I must find my truth versus my excuses.
I don't know if I could ever run a maratttthooonnnn. I'm tired of not eating what I waaaant toooooo. How come she looks so good and young and dewy and she doesn't hardly do a thing and I work my ass off to stay in shhaaaaape (though maybe she is working her ass off, how do I know, huhn). But when I sit on my ass and gobble down an entire box of chocolates, feeling sorry for myself and the state of Everything, what happens is I feel even worse than before. My body is bloated and sick from Chocolate Overload.
I’m sluggish, tired, cranky. Better I’d gone for a walk in my beautiful calming cove and then treated myself to just a few pieces of that chocolate, savoring every bite and feeling happy I ain't doing so bad for a 54 year old -it's fruitless to compare myself to a 20 or 30 year old. It's fruitless and stupid to compare ourselves to Any One Out There: say that loud and say it again and again and again and ever more again: Don't compare yourself to others. Carve your own path. And, geez, you don't know who is comparing themselves to You and wishing they had what you had: just sayin'!
Writer: Sometimes I just want some chocolate. Sometimes I want to sit on my ass and do nothing but eat chocolate and feel depressed and not do a danged ole thing. Some days feel sucky. Well, guess what? So do thousands of other people, and if thousands of us sat our asses on the couch and ate chocolate and did nothing, who’d write the books/newspapers/articles/blogs? Who'd take care of business? Who'd make my supper, GMR? (haw!) This business isn’t always easy, but ask yourself: Is this what I really want to do? Am I ready to be in this for the long-haul? Do I love writing more than my right arm? Am I ready to sacrifice? Can I handle the rejection without breaking up and breaking down? Sometimes this is the easiest best job in the entire danged ole world, and other times it sucks like a big fat suckity sucky britches—but I love it more than my right arm. And, see "soul-sucking jobs" comment above. And also see "comparing yourself" above. Then get back to work.
Writer: When the writing day is done, find a moment to reflect on this writing life. Calm the voices, the rejections, the expectations, the harried hurry and the long-ass frustrating waits, and remember just why you love this life so much. The raw beginnings of it, when it was just you and a white space of whatever in the world you wanted to say to anyone who would listen, even if it was only your own ears. Find that joy in quiet reflection. Give yourself a big ole break, okay? There isn't a one of us who can tell you how to do this life and why and how much. We can only find our truths and learn to ignore our excuses/justifications--and they can be sneaky.
Relax. It'll all be okay. Your journey will not be mine and mine will not be hers his yours. Calm. Calm.
Writer: When lying your head upon your pillow, writer, remember to give gratitude for what you have accomplished. This business is so much about looking ahead to what we “should” accomplish, or what may come, or what we hope will come, that we must remember what we did achieve, hold on to it, let it come with us into our dreams. “You Did This! Good for You!” Sleep. Dream. Going to sleep with a heart of gratitude will ready you for the next day’s challenge.
Update: here is the 'clip' of my fun time with Steph Jordan's "Living in Color." Stephanie is a HUGE supporter of writers, musicians, artists, and etc.
photos Taken by Kat (or kat's bff's or GMRs)