I’ve been practicing yoga for a decade and try to take class four or five times each week. As my schedule permits, I bike, hike or lift weights. I used to think of exercise as a time sink but try now to think of physical activity as an important part of my daily routine. Getting stronger is a terrific benefit but something that happened slowly with interim bouts of frustration. Not every day is a walk in the park. To the contrary, there are days when I drag myself to the gym or the yoga studio because I am tired or pressed to meet a deadline.
There is a remarkable similarity between prioritizing exercise and creating schedule blocks to write. Some days, the words flow and hours seem like minutes. The yang to the yin occurs when I sit at the computer and ponder how to fill up the white space. Fortunately, that does not occur often but it’s not a happy accident.
I realize, as do most people, that practice makes perfect. One has to keep plugging away. Improving one’s skill set requires commitment and discipline. Even seasoned athletes and artists work with coaches and mentors. The point about repetition and commitment was brought home the other day when I happened upon a video of the skating routine that won Meryl Davis and Charlie White their Olympic gold. They’ve been dancing together for seventeen years.
Forbes contributor John Rampton urges authors to “write every single day – regardless of inspiration” and “push their limits.” See “7 Habits of Highly Successful Writers” (November 19, 2014) for more hints. He sounds a lot like the trainer at the gym, doesn’t he? Flabby muscles won’t get stronger without picking up the weights. Great writing seldom materializes in a flash. The good news is that hard work can be its own reward, along with the joy and excitement of building ideas to share with others.