January 15, 2013
Mine are not so great. Being sick the first two weeks of the year is not getting me off to a roaring start. I’m reading, writing, thinking and editing, but I haven’t run a step. The marathon is now less than five weeks away and unless I get cracking, there will be no marathon.
We do not want change to be incremental. We want it to be all at once. The internet is full of pills you can take to make yourself lose thirty pounds in thirty days. If this worked, wouldn’t everyone in America be thin right now? We don’t want to lose thirty pounds in a year, we want to lose it in a month or at least a couple of months.
What do Americans ask when they walk into a dojo? How soon can I get a black belt? That is not right thinking. The right question is whether that dojo with that martial arts master is the right place for you to enter what will become a lifelong study of martial arts. I always dream of doing martial arts myself, I even started taking classes once, but sadly, I did not have enough time or make enough time to continue.
This is why writing is one of the most difficult art forms. First of all, you have to be willing to spend a lot of time by yourself in a room. The whole time you are there, alone in that room this little voice in your head is telling you all the different things you could be doing. It’s saying, Let’s check the email. Let’s check FB. What about another cup of coffee? The dishes are in the dishwasher, they need to be unloaded, God knows what will happen if they sit there too long. What about the laundry? Isn’t it time to put in another load? Or for some people, I wonder what’s on television. Or shouldn’t I call my mother/brother/best friend, right now while I’m thinking about it? And, of course, I’m tired. I’m sleepy. I’m bored. I know I’m not going to write anything else today so I might as well give up now.
You have to write past all those little voices in your head. You have to ignore them and keep writing, and then, here’s the good part. You have to see if you can get anyone to read what you’ve written. Before you even try getting a stakeholder person who will edit and publish your work, you need stakeholders who will read your work and respond. And that’s not easy. Because it’s not like looking at a painting or a dance or a play. Reading a manuscript requires a level of work and engagement. The way you find people who are willing to do this is you have people whose work you are willing to read. To have a stakeholder you must be a stakeholder.
Write past the boring times and the dark times into the space where it starts to make sense. That’s like the runner’s high which hopefully I will experience in the next few weeks if I can get myself moving. And for those of you blog readers who have emailed me to mention that running really isn’t good for me (at my age… what age?) I plan to back off on the running at some point. But not yet. This year, I need to run more than I ever have. Get in shape. Those new year’s resolutions are still wet on the page.