There are sayings about the advantage of moderation in our lives, like being able to enjoy bad foods–only in moderation! I’ve noticed over the past few months that there are other things that are better enjoyed in moderation as well.
About a month ago, I had to adjust my schedule, cutting my gym trips from 5 per week to 3. I was worried that this would reduce my ability to achieve my health goals, but so far I can say that is not true. I have actually felt more power during my on-days than I felt when I went every weekday, like the days of rest are allowing me to push harder on the days of work. I had heard this before, that you should allow your body proper time to recover after workouts, but here it was in practice. I’m almost ready to move up in weight on most of my exercises with what is almost half the amount of time spent in the gym.
I consider this a lesson in trusting my body to take care of what it needs to so that it’s ready the next time I challenge it.
And likewise, I can apply this principle to writing.
We all know the saying, write every day. I don’t know about you guys but I find that very difficult. I have a job, and a kid, and chores, and there’s some days where after all that I just don’t have it in me. But like giving my body recharge time to be more powerful the next day, so too have my writing days been more prolific when I focus on it only a few nights a week. A few months ago I tried to write every day, and it didn’t last long, and the days in a row were usually only accomplished with a few hundred words here and there. Lately, I’ve been mostly editing, but again the same principle can be applied – let it all stew in the recesses of your brain for a day or two, and then when you sit down it’ll come out more easily than if you forced it to trickle out every day. This has historically worked well for me. I’ll never forget several years back when many Saturdays were spent writing from morning to evening while my hubby was at work, after a whole week of working and thinking and letting the characters and dialogue churn in the back of my head. (what was taking up my time during the weekdays then? Ugh, I’m so ashamed. World of Warcraft.)
So that’s my advice for fellow writers who have a hard time writing every day. (or fellow gym goers feeling guilty for not lifting every day!) Don’t force it, especially if life is too demanding to make it easy for you. Allow your mind/body time to rest and focus on other things, and next time you’re able to work, hopefully the words/power will come to you without pain or frustration.
We all want that full page, or that lifted weight, or that chocolate cheesecake… hmm. I could probably eat a whole chocolate cheesecake right now.
Heh… moderation. I’m still working on it.