Sometimes it's a picture taken at an unexpected time (you know, the one where you say to your friend, "Please don't post that on Facebook"), sometimes it's a news report about the dangers of "belly fat", and sometimes it's just another pair of pants that just won't seem to button without Herculean effort, whatever it is, it's telling you, it's time to DO Something.
No, you didn't just stumble onto a weight-loss or fitness blog; I'm still the Excuse Editor, but I'm also a late 30-something woman who is realizing the importance of listening to the clues from her body, mind, and world around her. And the memo from my choice of skirts with elastic waistbands started to read much like the writing on the wall from my writing procrastination days.
The Excuse Editor Steps To Writing Fitness
- You know you need to work out when there's too much of you to fit into YOUR jeans.
- You know you need to get writing when there's too many of your deadlines to fit in YOUR schedule.
It's not going to happen all at once, but in order to transform your life to fit your goals, you have to take the first step. I've emphasized the personal here because this is your own life you are living in and creating, not anyone else's. The jeans I want to get into are my own, they made sense for me in the not- so-distant past, so I know that they are realistic. For the writing outside of my day job, these are goals I chose for myself because of a realistic interest (a writing contest, call for submission, a query letter). If these deadlines are starting to feel like they are getting too tight, I need to do the work to loosen up my time.
- You know working out is good for you.
- You know writing is good for you.
Step Two: Focus on the benefits of the journey, not just the goal.
I am probably not going to be taking my Zumba-inspired dance moves to da club or "So You Think You Can Dance" anytime soon, but I still enjoy it. I also know my heart is thanking me for the cardio, and my bones and muscles are getting stronger as well. When I allow myself to get into the writing zone, I feel calmer, happier, and more accomplished, even if I don't get as far as I would have liked. You know that voice that buzzes your ear all hours of the day and night, saying you should be writing, outlining, or plotting? You won't even need to swap it away if you start working on what you want to write, it will quiet itself.
- Inhale, Exhale
- Think, Write
I used to think it was funny when I was in a gym class and the instructor would remind us to breathe. We are sweating and working hard, breathing should come naturally, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes people find themselves holding their breath at the times they should be using their breath to help them through. Spending all of your time thinking about the next steps your writing should take and not getting those thoughts on the page is like forgetting to exhale. Writing is the next step in the cycle, and once you write, you will naturally begin thinking again, to nourish your next release of words onto the page.
- Is it what you are eating, or what's eating you?
- Is it about lack of writing, or what your writing is lacking?
Step Four: Learn to listen
It's not difficult to hear the basic message being sent by a closet full of tight clothes, but listening deeper is a bigger challenge. If my clothes are saying that I'm eating too much, why? If every time you get time to write you are frozen, try to hear where that is coming from. Listening to your inner editor needs to go beyond hearing the basic criticisms, we all have those. What's the reason behind them? Did something happen in your day that is distracting you from your writing, even while you find your butt in the chair, actually writing. Acknowledge it, and when you hear the bickering from your inner editor, remind yourself that it's not all about your writing, it's about your whole self. If the distraction can somehow positively work into your piece, use it! Otherwise, be mindful of its presence, but set it to the corner of your thoughts and concentrate on the piece in front of you for as long as you can. If it gets to be too much, allow yourself a break, and come back when you feel better. If you are lacking the presence of mind to surrender yourself to your work, you need to nurture yourself, not force yourself.
Take care of yourselves, and your writing!
What else would you like to see on this blog to give you a step up in your writing? Leave a comment or drop me a line, I would love to help! --Tina