Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Writing is Just Like Going to the Gym

I like to tell people I used to jog ten miles a day. But I found, if I take the car I can be done much quicker.

Lame joke. I know.

But writing is a lot like exercising. It's about developing a routine, following a schedule.

It's been said many times that if you want to write, then write every day.

This is sound, solid advice.

If you belong to a gym, my guess is you have some kind of a work-out schedule. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, let's say. And I'll also bet, when many of those days roll around you do not feel like going to exercise. However, I'd continue to wager, that once at the gym, you are fine and the work-out begins.

That's how it can be for writers as well.

Or, more specifically, that's how it should be for writers.

I have a small key-group of people, writers, that I write with.

For me, writing at home does not always allow me the ability to write for as long, or to produce the best writing I can. Too many distractions. The TV. The refrigerator. The sofa. The phone.

On Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, me and these other writers make a plan to meet at a local Barnes & Noble's to write. It's a way for us to hold each other accountable. It's a way to ensure quality writing time. We tend to power up laptops, sharpen pencils, and plug headphones into Ipods, and write without disrupting each other.

At the same time, when one of us hits a stumbling block, a speed bump, seated around that person are potential resources to help overcome the hurdle.

I may say, "Steve, how does this paragraph sound? Does it sound like writing, because if it does, I need to re-write it."

Or Steve may say, "I need my develop more sympathy for my character. I tried this, does it work?"

It's not always possible to make it to B&N on every day scheduled for us to write. When this happens, there is guilt associated with telling the others that you can't make it.

Guilt is an awesome tool that keeps our group from canceling more often than we may want to cancel. See what I'm saying?

If you want to write, to improve your talent, to hone your skills as a writer, then it will be more than important, it will be essential, that, as a writer, you develope a writing schedule that fits your needs. Whether it is every day, first thing in the morning, or at night after everyone else in the house has gone to bed, or heading to a coffee shop after work. Whatever the case may be, you need to know that you have a schedule to follow, and devaiting from it will cause your writing to suffer.

Teaming up with other writers is helpful, not necessary. Two or more with the same goals, same dreams, will help you hold yourself, and them, more accountable for the work that needs doing.

Writing should be satisfying, just like when you leave the gym -- feeling pumped and energetic, and excited about the work-out you'd completed for that day. With writing, whether you completed a chapter, a few pages, or some complex portions of your tale, when you finish writing for the day you should feel pumped, energetic, and excited about the words you'd strung together.

Like with exercise, writing is theraputic, inspiring in and of itself, and a wonderful stress reliever. I'd go as far to say that writing is healthy. Maybe not for physical results, but certainly for emotional and spiritual purposes.

Now, enough with reading the blog. Get out there and write!

Thomas Phillips
Author of The Molech Prophecy

1 comment:

Robin Shope said...

Its true, we need a routine and be faithful to that. But then along comes a grandson and he takes over my life in ways I never knew existed. :)