Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not quite what I expected


Say you're someone who's always preferred reading and writing and drawing and playing the piano to running cross country. Say part of the reason is that you always run out of breath within two minutes and you hate feeling like a wimp. Say now you're older and wiser and realize that while reading and writing and drawing and playing the piano are still so much more enjoyable than running cross country, physical stamina is a very good thing that is worth pursuing.

What would you do.?

Well, you may put on your sneakers and start a very gentle program to build your endurance from, oh maybe walking 30 minutes in a session to eventually running 30 minutes? Sounds very doable, right?

What if, after a month of it, you still feel as wimpy and winded as you were? What would you think?

Just give it time. The stamina will come. It's common sense, right? Everybody knows that if you start training, you'll eventually get there.

But then a newest study shows that exercise won't boost endurance levels for 1 in 5 people.

What would you do then?

Cry? Curse your genes? Eat ice cream? Rant?

But what do you do with those
sneakers?

Writers know the meaning of toil. We do it every day. For most of us, we do it with no real, tangible reward in sight. We do it for a variety of reasons: we love it, we can't not do it, we know it's the good thing to do, we know it's the right thing to do.

Then we are reminded that talent and luck do play a role. What if we are one of those people who don't really have the talent (the right genes that allow training to build our stamina) or the luck. What is the point then?

Those of us who have been slogging for a while at writing will have our own answers to this question. And we've kept our sneakers on. I would love to hear some of yours.

(Incidentally, here is an article that tries to balance the hype.)

12 comments:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Maybe all I need is a new pair of sneakers. ;)

I'm certainly not ready to take a seat in the bleachers and give up yet.

Corey Schwartz said...

Hmm, I think I am in the 20% with you! :)

storyqueen said...

I always wondered why no matter how long I tried to run for, I still always got winded too soon!!

As for the writing correlation, well I personally think that people who write more become better writers. No matter the talent, I believe in that old saying, "hard work will beat talent if talent doesn't work hard."

Never underestimate the power of hard work.

MG Higgins said...

I agree with Shelley. (She's so wise.) Even if my talent was never great, will never be great, I know I'm improving. Through lots of hard work my writing is much, much better today than it was a few years ago. it's enough to keep me going.

Irene Latham said...

Give the sneakers to the dog?? Doesn't really work with the writing metaphor, but that's where I'm at with the real sneakers. :)

lotusgirl said...

I agree with storyqueen. work hard, baby. That's the way.

Julie Dao said...

I agree - I think pretty much anything in life just takes hard work. And sometimes a TON of patience. Exercise is one of those annoying things that never seem to yield results fast enough - but it really, truly does. I don't know if I believe that a person can be genetically incapable of improving themselves through a strict routine of 30 minute walking every single day. Lungs workin', heart pumpin' ... maybe they won't be able to run 5 miles, but they'll definitely be stronger than before. Same goes for writing, I think.

Bish Denham said...

Even if I learned I would never will be a marathon runner, I could still enjoy being outside. I say keep the sneakers and jog around the park.

I have a lot of writing experience, but I started writing for children rather late in life. Even if I don't get a book published I have thoroughly enjoyed the "jog around the park," and will continue to jog for a long a I can.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I think I'll just eat ice cream while wearing the sneakers and be thankful that I'm better at writing than I am at running :)

Ha!
My verification word is "cones"--is that the universe giving my answer a cosmic justification?!

laurel said...

Interesting metaphor. It's possible that some writers slog away at a genre that's all wrong for them. Their technique improves slowly or not at all because their hearts are in what they're writing. Sometimes trying something new (like swimming instead of running, to borrow your image) will lead to a breakthrough--voice found, work sold.

laurel said...

whoops. I meant "their hearts AREN'T in what they're writing."

These cold meds make me so loopy!

Yat-Yee said...

Tricia: you do need the right equipment, after all!

Corey: So you know what I am talking about, this breathlessness after hardly any time.

Shelley: I am a firm believer in hard work as well.

Melissa: that's so true. We have to be able to see where we came from and what hard work has given us. Keep writing, sista!

Irene: Hehe. I have a friend with a chocolate lab who walks around with a sneaker in her mouth.

As long as you keep your writing sneakers on!

Lois: Amen!

Julie: Yeah, I am not sure how much stock I put in that study either. Seems like a attention grabber but I suspect the actual data has much more to tell us.

Bish: that's a great attitude. Enjoy your jog every day!

Sherrie: you are destined to eat ice cream--in a cone, no less!

Laurel: Sorry to hear about your cold. And it's interesting you brought up the type of writing a writer does. If I have to do just technical writing or journalistic writing, I think I'd burn out pretty quickly. Feel better soon.