Toughness

Posted: December 19, 2012 in Inspiration, Writing
Tags: , ,

Haven’t posted for a while. I want to post at least three to four times a week, but lately I really haven’t much to talk about.

Apocalypse is doing just fine, thank you. It’s actually doing slightly more than I expected to, which is great. It feels good. Lately, I’ve been feeling rather discouraged concerning my writing, but seeing the results is giving me a much needed push.

I’m 4,500 words into my next novella, a new series that has working title of Dark Prophecies. I got some cool ideas (I think). The trick is just weaving them together into a compelling yarn.

All that news aside…for those who follow my Facebook, you know I have taken up running lately. I’m sure you’ve noticed the inundation of running alerts that seem to fly at your stunned and disbelieving face approximately once every several hours. And I know you love them.

I took it up last year for a brief stint (about two months), but had no idea what I was doing. Curiously, I didn’t research it to find the most effective way to do it and improve.

I’ve been running since October, and I’m in much better shape than before. I’m on a 10K in 55 minutes training plan…not because there is a particular 10K I’m training for, but because I want to use that plan as launching pad to jump into a half-marathon training plan – probably two hours, which is very doable by late April. I may adjust for a faster time, depending on how training goes.

I write about running because I’m at a point where improving is starting to become increasingly difficult. I was amazed with my training plan that by week three I was running five miles (albeit at a very slow pace). Distance was no problem.

Going faster was the hard part.

I just got back from an almost seven mile run, where I had to do seven half mile stints at an 8:30/mile average pace. For a serious runner, this is a breeze. However, being a newbie meant this was the most difficult run I had to do.

I’ve never really been that physical of a person. I sucked at sports as a kid. I had a zero batting average one year in little league (no…I’m not joking. I was pretty pathetic). I was better at art and, yes, writing. And video games.

It never really occurred to me for most of my life that I might be able to do something physical, because I had failed at it so hard my whole life that had no success to reinforce me in that direction. In fact, the first time I ran I was embarrassed and thought I looked stupid. I guess I just didn’t see the point. But after graduating college, being inactive sitting 8+ hours a day at a desk, I knew something had to change. I didn’t really gain weight, but I still didn’t feel good about myself. I wanted to be in shape while I was still young, so I made a goal to make working out a priority.

I started running last October, and I don’t know why I didn’t start sooner. Those first runs were hard – even getting to two miles nonstop was very difficult. It took toughness, even if a little bit – the willing yourself to go on, despite pain. That is how we all grow, physically, mentally, spiritually.

Normally on my speed work (runs designed to help you increase your speed), I haven’t been able to maintain the target speed for the speedy stretches. Tonight was different, because I actually succeeded. In fact, for the first two stints I ran faster than I was supposed to (averaging 7:45/mile and 8:00/mile for both of them. I started to realize a lot of my limitations weren’t physical – they were mental. I did have the strength to push myself on if I willed myself.

I’m also realizing that if you want to improve at running, you have to be consistent. Thanksgiving week, I didn’t run once, and I paid for it. My average pace dropped almost by a full minute per mile.

I’m thinking a lot of disciplines are the same way – repeating a discipline builds a habit, be it a sport, martial arts, or…you guessed it…writing.

Every successful writer I’ve ever read says if you’re serious about writing, you do it everyday…not just everyday, but at least 1,000 words a day. I missed yesterday, but I intend to get my words done today. Not counting this post, of course. I’m talking fiction.

There’s a lot of toughness to writing, too. Like running, you can always improve. You can never just coast along, write the same book twice. I mean, you could, but you wouldn’t be getting better. I feel like I’m in a period of growth, writing-wise. A year ago, I would have said quality of writing, not quantity, matters. Now, I think it’s the opposite when you are starting out. Someone who’s learning, like me, needs to learn to write a lot. The more you write, the more mistakes you make. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn.

It takes toughness to sit down everyday and type words, especially when the Muse doesn’t want to show up. The Muse is a flighty thing – it’s your job to show up as the writer, but the Muse can do whatever the hell she wants. Sometimes, she’ll show up when you’re nowhere near a computer, and the words she whispers in your ear are lost. Sorry if that analogy was weird, it felt weird and creepy writing it.

Anyway, point is, this is something I want to show up to every day. I’m learning. I’m glad my new novella is doing better than I expected. I hope more people get to read it. I’m excited to write more on that series, as I really like the world. But I’m also very excited by this new series I’ve started. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to write in, if not my favorite. And it’s also exciting to not to do something medievally and cliche.

This has been a long post/rant. I apologize; I really didn’t have the time to write a shorter one.

I am in no way saying that I’m tough; I’m just saying we all have the potential to be. I’m just saying I’m starting to get it.

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