To update on my last entry, I started that novel. I’m really excited already with how it’s going. But my hesitation coupled with another hobby I have renewed lend themselves to an interesting comparison.
A few years back, I went gym crazy. I worked out an hour a day 6 days a week (which to any gym regular probably seems piddly but to me who never previously had done any exercise more than one day in a row, it really meant something.) running and weight lifting. I fell in love. I worked myself up to doing full pushups, running 2 miles. I lost some fat and gained muscle definition. I felt confident and alive in ways I never had before. And then, after about 5 months (stop laughing that’s a long time for me) I fell off the horse. I struggled to get back into it over the next few months but it just didn’t happen.
When Nate hit a year old and I had hardly tried to get a normal routine going again, I knew something was going to break eventually. And finally, I am back into it. 15 days in a row and feeling bloody fantastic. I can’t wait to get back to where I was and then push through to even stronger heights.
So one of the best things I learned in my gymcapades was when I was weight lifting: when you get stronger, the weights don’t feel lighter. Seriously, I had to wrap my head around this concept. I thought when I was strong enough, lifting the 20 pound weight would feel like how difficult the 10 pound weight used to be. But no. It’s twice as fucking heavy and it is still twice as hard to lift. But you simply become capable of handling it.
This concept was revolutionary for me, and I’ve found you can apply it to many different situations. For example, writing. In my last entry, I expressed contempt at how difficult it still is to start a new novel. Of course, it’s just as difficult as it has always been. But I have definitely become more capable of handling it. I can think back to writing certain scenes in my first novel, my second, my third. There were some scenes, especially any that involved the death of a main character, that were monstrously difficult to write. But I pushed through them and emerged on the other side a writer with a few more tools in her writerly toolbox. And each time I had to push through, it was just as hard, but through my experience, I could more efficiently think of different ways to make the scene work and get through it.
I guess I’m advocating the practice makes perfect idiom. If you keep working you’ll see results. But be patient, figure out a routine that works for you, and when it seems difficult, remind yourself that you’ve grown strong enough to handle it.
I hope to emerge on the other side of this all a healthier person with another novel under my belt. And who knows what’s next? Performing a pull-up? What? Why are you laughing so hard?
Have a great weekend, everyone!