June 8, 2012

It's A (half) Marathon - Not A Sprint.

You know when you try to get things done and, without fail or exception, they don't seem to work the way you want them to? That's been today.

I'm a bit of a mastodon with my To Do lists - I exist under the belief that if you stomp and chomp away at something, it'll eventually get done well. Today I ploughed 1,000 words into a difficult scene in my WIP only to realize I'd come at it from the wrong angle. Knowing this made me cranky, because it meant having to rewrite a huge chunk of work I'd already done. So I stepped away from it and up to another project. I wanted to paint an old steamer trunk of mine so I got the paint, broke out the sander, and got things underway. It only took an hour to realize I'd gone about the trunk all wrong, too - wrong method, wrong supplies. I have to start over. I even tried to wash the dog with...well, similar results (he's fine, but peppermint bath wash is not his favorite).

I don't like this at all. It's enough to make me want to put on sweatpants and call it a day. Still, there's something to be said for going about something the wrong way. Sometimes you have to go the wrong way to realize what the 'right way' is. Plus, it makes me remember the importance of patience - a skill I'm constantly relearning.

Speaking of which, I ran my first half marathon last weekend. My goal wasn't to run super fast; my goal was, quite honestly, to run the whole time and finish without breaking anything. And, by some minor miracle, I did. In my training I'd only run about eight miles - nowhere near the 13.1 I had to do on race day. I was worried, but it all worked out fine. In the midst of miles ten and eleven (because I'm obsessive like this), I found myself thinking about my writing. Doing something creative - doing anything worthwhile, really - can feel a lot like running a marathon. There are moments when you hit your stride and everything clicks into place, but there are also those miles when you know - you just know - you can't go any further. You were crazy to think you could. But most of the time, you really can. You're just tired and have lost your focus.

I've found that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on being present - not focused on two miles ago, or one mile ahead, but right in this present place - you'll be surprised what you can accomplish. I always am.

Currently writing to: In My Veins - Andrew Belle

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