Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Work-out Writer

Work-out: In my personal trainer days, I used to tell clients to “listen to their bodies” to let them know how much they could do. I now recognize how this isn’t always the case. Sometimes our bodies/minds want to fool us, because it is Hard.

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.

Work-out: Sometimes I want some chocolate, dammit. Sometimes I want to sit on my ass and do nothing but eat that chocolate and feel depressed and not do a danged ole thing. Some days feel sucky.

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.

Work-out: At the end of a grueling work-out, find time to stretch those muscles, and then just as important as the work-out and the stretch comes the quiet moment of reflection. Time and distance from wants and needs will lift us away as we respect our bodies, minds, hearts.

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.

Work-out: Night comes. Time to rest the body. Rest is as important as movement. A good night’s sleep prepares you for the next day’s challenge. Let go and sleep sleep. Be grateful for the body that carries you from day to day. Keep it healthy and strong and then give it rest.

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.

Listen to internet radio with Steph Jordan on Blog Talk Radio

photos  Taken by Kat (or kat's bff's or GMRs)


PatriciaW said...

Great post. Both working out and writing are often a case of mind over matter, and then pushing past the mind. Because we will want to give up, take a break, do something else. But when we stick with it, we're usually glad we did.

Barbara McLaughlin said...

Love your openness and honesty. You are so easy to relate to. Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

love, love, LOVE your words! (got any a them chocklits left ta share? sends 'em to my cave. or better yet, bring 'em!).

john bord said...

The ratta tat tat tap of the drum thumps on, the mind say..... no...
The power of control to not give in is a mind changing process, stay the battle.

Eddie Bluelights said...

The work out days bring back both painful and addictively enjoyable days - oh! the rush of oxygen into those lungs at the end of a boring day at the office. I ran six miles a day and my pulse rate was 47 at rest. But alas that was 25 years ago and 5 stones lighter (70lbs) lighter. Agree we need to push ourselves through barriers but alas I think my running days are over. I really enjoyed them. I never ran a marathan - nearest I got was 20 miles. Bet you are still fit, Kat, and I don't think I could catch you LOL (unless you let me LOL). In my case for "chocoholic" read "potato crisp-o-holic". As for writing, I find it difficult to fatham you 'guys' writing to order. Don't you need inspiration and where do your ideas come from without this inspiration I wonder.

Regrettably I do not always have a lot of blogging visitinf time these days but great to 'see' you again. Eddie

Linda Leschak said...

Great post Kat! I like how you've found two seemingly unrelated aspects of your life and found the places where they connect. In truth, everything has that kind of place if we only just slow down and take the time to look for it.
Love your words and your honesty. You inspire me!

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow...interesting about the music and your body. Great tie-in with writing. I'm cringing a bit 'cause I know I've been a slacker.

Kittie Howard said...

Jessica's right, that was a great tie-in, Kat. You have an amazing way with words ("Sweetie" also comes to mind - super read) - I could relate to so much that you wrote - except that, why would you want to train for and run a marathon? Your porcelain complexion would get wrinkles! (I'm serious! We lived in Hawaii. And so many became addicted to running marathons. You're fine as you are, Kat.)

Liza said...

I am rather fond of my right arm...but I'll do what has to be done to avoid another soul-sucking job. Never once did I feel as good as I do now when I am writing.

Marguerite said...

Great post, Kat! That pic of you and the chocolate is priceless! I don't run, but I can Cajun dance for four straight hours, with one or two breaks. Does that count? lol

Barbara Forte Abate said...

Oh, good gosh, but you're playing my song :-o

Susan R. Mills said...

I love it! Well said!

Rick said...

I've been so busy working on White Cat Magazine and finishing this last novel that I haven't visited anyone including myself for awhile. So imagine my pleasure when I read this great post. Nice to come back to quality, Kathryn!

This is another of your posts I'm going to print out and put on the wall above my laptop.

Talli Roland said...

Love this - great comparison between the two. They both take a lot of mental fortitude, that's for sure!

Deb Shucka said...

Lots of wisdom embedded among the laugh-out-loud bits. The pictures are so wonderful. Did GMR take them? I can only imagine what he said as he was shooting. The one of you and the chocolates is my fave. I'll think of that the next I want to escape into sugar stupor. :-)

Terri Tiffany said...

LOL You tell it like it is!!! I want one of those chocolates. Give it here.

Carolyn V said...

Hee hee! We have twiner pictures of a chocolate fest! Love this post. It is sooooo true (the exercise and the writing). But now I'm craving something sweet. ;p