Wednesday, January 11, 2012


If you’ve been a follower for very long, you’ll know I’m a gym regular, and that January is the season for newbies to join, come for a couple weeks, or a month, and then never return.

Newbies can be picked out from across the room in a packed gym, and it is not because their workout attire is either brand new or inappropriate (aka jeans, flip-flops, etc.). It’s that look of panic on their face, the confusion when they look at the equipment, the indecision that causes them to wander in circles.

Sadly, by the end of February, one of two things tends to happen with these people. Either they’ve given up the idea of getting fit and have moved back into old habits, or they’ve figured out the machines, found a routine, and bought a good sports bra or compression shorts.

The same thing happens to writers who are attending a conference or workshop for the first time. From the look of panic, the confusion when trying to figure out which breakout sessions to attend, and the indecision that causes them to wander the halls.

By the end of the conference though, either they’ve decided they really don’t want to be a writer and are looking into basketweaving or taxidermy, OR they’ve taken reams of notes, broken out of their shell to make friends with other authors, and are planning to attend other conferences near them.

There’s nothing wrong with being the newbie in either of these cases. It’s a very admirable thing for people to branch out and try new things. I’m all over self improvement. (Disclaimer: some people aren’t meant to get in shape in a gym. There are other methods. Some people aren’t meant to learn to write in a public setting like a conference. There are other ways to do that, too. And I wish those people luck. Today, I’m addressing those who ARE made to do things this way. )

The only way to reach a difficult goal like getting in shape or writing a book is to stick with it. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s so hard you don’t know why you decided to do it in the first place. Even when you wonder why you subject yourself to such methods of torture. Keep going and keep going and keep going, because eventually, you will see results. You will lose five pounds or ten, or write a chapter or an entire rough draft, or even a short story.

Once you start seeing results, you’ll remember why you started this journey, and hopefully, that will be motivation enough to help you stick through the next difficult phase, until eventually, you manage to reach that goal.

What helps you through the tough parts?


J.R. Johansson said...

For me, it's the rush I get while writing. I don't want to get out of the groove or rhythm and forget what it feels like. It makes it so much harder to come back to it.

Carolyn V said...

I have to just keep going. Even when I don't want to (for both exercise and writing).

Jessica L. Foster said...

Very good point. Sometimes the sticking to it part is hard but it is worth it.
Thanks for the post.

L.T. Elliot said...

I've heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit--one that you're more likely to stick with. I also know from experience that if you do something every day--even a hard something--that it gets easier every day that you stick to it. It doesn't mean you won't have bad days, it just means that it's not as hard as day one. At least, that's how I feel.