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How do you kick your own butt?

May 25, 2012

I have to admit, working out has been work lately. I’ve been going at it hard for about five weeks, after recovering from a stupidity-related injury. My body seems like it’s perpetually sore and honestly, in spite my emerging Adonis-like stature, my weight is pretty stationary. It’s a chore working out these days. I do it, but only because I don’t someone to stop me on the street, compliment my Jabba the Hutt costume (which I wasn’t wearing), and ask where the Star Wars convention was.

There’s a great parallel between writing and exercise. If you want to get in shape and drop weight, you have to exercise and eat write. Every day–with a periodic exception here or there. Thinking about exercise while you chow down on fudge marble cake with a six-pack of mud slides for a chaser doesn’t help.

Neither does thinking about writing while you’re watching the latest of 2,618 NCIS marathons on USA Network. (How about the Gibbs wants you to be doing something else marathon?)

Hey. Get to work.

In short, the only way to be a writer is to…you know…write stuff. Ass in chair and all that.

But, as with exercise, there will be times when you’re thrilled for your ass to hit the chair. And there’ll be times when the chair might as well be wrapped in barbed wire and surrounded by a field of broken glass and booby traps. At some point, for every writer, putting fingers to keyboard and pen to paper ranks someplace between root canals and a colonoscopy–and you don’t get the good drugs when you write that you get with the colonoscopy.

The key to success is to do the writing even when you don’t want to do the writing. Force yourself. Get past the part where you accomplish nothing because you don’t want to be there and all that’s coming out of your brain is freeze-dried poop.

The question is, how do you do that?

So…how do you do that? What works for you?

  1. May 25, 2012 11:32 am

    I have accountability partners through my fiction writing group. We all set a goal at the beginning of the month and then check in (via an e-mail loop) every day to say how many words we wrote. Everyone who meets their goal by the end of the month gets a “badge” (a JPEG of the group’s logo) to display on their website or Facebook page. It has amazed me how this teeny bit of accountability motivates me to get my numbers in.

  2. May 25, 2012 9:32 pm

    To jump start my book series, just completing #16, I collaborated with another writer. We pushed each other pretty good, just like Workout partners should. It was a pleasant experience, and we will do at least one more book.

  3. May 27, 2012 7:15 am

    A superviser at work gave an employee a ‘Gibbs slap’ but forgot about the large class ring on his finger, and left a welt on the back of the fellow’s head. That didn’t go over well. But I love NCIS.

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