Today, I decided to head back to my exercise routine–pilates reformer.
I had major surgery in August and it took a little longer than I expected to recover.
Several weeks out from the surgery I had moved from recovery to couch potato. The want to move more than necessary kind of crept in and sat there. Basically, I got lazy and the idea of starting all over again, fix my sagging middle, had to be the last thing I wanted to do.
But I promised myself the Monday after Thanksgiving, I would return. To make sure I’d follow through, I told my friend who runs a pilates studio that I would be there today. I even paid for the month of classes I swore I’d take.
Honestly, I looked forward to returning. Pilates reformer is one of my favorite exercises. I get an excellent workout without beating my joints up. Excitement built and as exhausted as I was from the Thanksgiving holidays, I was happy to go.
The first fifteen minutes of the class went well enough, but the class naturally progressed to increasingly difficult movements. Within a few sets, frustration took over. My core was far weaker than I anticipated and my endurance suffered. Suddenly, I hated that I’d started this class. I hated the class. I hated that I ever wanted to be healthy. I hated that I’d gotten off the couch at all.
Why had I put myself through this torture?
So I did what any woman would do when they are overwhelmed and want to scream at everyone in the room. I went to the bathroom and cried for about a minute. Berated myself for falling so out of shape in the first place. For trying to fix something so weak (me) because it wasn’t just the idea of today, but the work involved in getting to my goals–both short and long term.
After my emotional purge, I told myself to go finish the this one class. Just this one.
For sure I would be clumsy and sloppy, but I hadn’t come up here to hide from my crappy attempts. If I honestly thought I’d be in as good of shape as I was before the surgery, I’d only lied to myself.
I knew full well why I came up here. Simply, to start over. To work on a new project (me) and I knew it wouldn’t be easy.
And I did just that. I finished the class and by the time I was done. I felt better. I felt slightly empowered and I knew I’d begun a new journey to repair my body and my health. I’ve signed up for Thursday’s class and I’m looking forward to returning.
What does any of this have to do with writing? Everything, my friends. Everything.
We all do this. Build the excitement of a new project, tell our friends, make ourselves accountable through deadlines. We begin the project with excitement, knowing that there will be roadblocks and distractions, but we can do this because we really do have our act together.
Initially, the words might flow freely. Getting the first meeting of our heroine and hero to the page. Again, it might be sloppy, even clumsy, but we get them there.
Then reality sets in. We get to the part of the book and wonder why we ever thought we could write anything remotely close to this. We doubt ourselves, maybe even curse ourselves for reaching so high, especially when we get to that sagging middle.
And yet, when we’re done with that first draft (or tenth), we smile and congratulate ourselves. We know why we do this self-inflicted torture. It’s who we are. We’re writers.
Then edits start and we begin again. Maybe not all over with a blank canvas, but we throw ourselves right back into the mix, only to go through the same process over and over again until that story that’s been nagging us comes to life.
Self-doubt is a constant companion and frustration is a close second, but those of us who have published works have pushed through those roadblocks either through sheer determination or defiance.
Just like exercise, there’s not a one size fits all formula, but the point is show up. Keep going. Push through the frustration and anger and fear of it all. You can’t edit a blank page any more than you can build muscles sitting on your butt at home.
With NaNoWriMo finishing up, it’s important for all of us to remember we do this because something inside of us says, “tell that story.”
The creative torture pays off in the end.
Soulmate writer, Patricia W. Fischer, is the host of Readers Entertainment Radio and has a monthly book picks segment on San Antonio Living. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Her books are available at Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.