Writing is Easier Than Exercising

Posted: March 23, 2016 in Writing
Tags: , , ,


Okay, I don’t mean to be obvious.  Plainly, an hour spend sitting in front of a PC writing is physically less strenuous than an hour pumping iron at the gym.  Duh.  I’m lazy, not stupid.

I’m talking about the mental side of the equation.  Because in many — even most — ways, these two activities are very similar in how we approach them.  They both force you to step up every time you do it, they both require long-term commitment, they’re both hard, and they both get easier over time and with practice.  However, that last part — getting easier — does almost nothing to affect the first part — forcing you to step up.  Maybe the hardest part of these activities is getting started each day, facing that blank page or that rowing machine one more time.

We do it because we have a goal, because we have something we want to accomplish.  We want to be fit and healthy, or we want to be a professional author.  Or some variation of these; it doesn’t matter.  But that commitment to our goal only gets us so far.  It helps us buy that gym membership or that new laptop, and it makes us suit up and sit down and crack our knuckles.  But the part where you actually do the work — that requires a new mental effort every time.

I hear you; I’ve heard the rumors that there are people who actually enjoy exercise or writing every day.  I’ve never seen them.  Obviously people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Isaac Azimov derived great joy from their daily routines, considering the vastness of their accomplishments.  Or possibly they were insane.  But that’s not most people.  That’s certainly not me.

True, there are many days I find myself happily clutching a shiny, new idea and saying to myself, “I can’t wait to get home so I can write this scene.”  It happens.  Not often enough to be statistically significant, or anything.  But even on those days it would take almost nothing to nudge me out of the “zone” and let me choose to watch an episode of Doctor Who instead.  At least with exercising I could maybe do both.  And going to the gym with others helps, because you don’t want to wimp out in front of your friends or family. That isn’t usually a thing with writing.

So why is writing easier?

Simply this: Exercising is a lifetime commitment.  A vital one, to be sure, and I’m certainy not knocking it.  But once you start, you have to keep at it regularly or you will rapidly loose ground. Your progress will be erased. That simply isn’t true with writing.  Sure, for many people writing is a lifetime commitment, too. But whatever you have written and polished and perfected will still be there, even if you choose never to write again.  If you keep working at it your skills will improve, but so will those things you have written (presuming you edit and polish them).  And that obscure little fact is something that helps me to keep sending it out there for agents and editors to read, month after month, contest after contest.  Even if I’m not actually writing anything new.  Because I don’t have to write a second book to assure my first book doesn’t get erased.  I’ve written it. It may not be perfect, yet, but I WROTE A BOOK.  A whole book, with a beginning and an ending and a plot and a message, and everything.  And that is part of the universe, now, no matter what.

Knowing that makes facing the blank page every day just a little bit easier.

  1. Jackie Jones says:

    Love slaps in the face like this one when you’re feeling like chucking the row machine into the ocean. For some reason reading this made me really excited about getting back to my writing project that I’ve been pretty slow with in recent days. Thanks for sharing :)!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amira says:

    “I’ve heard the rumors that there are people who actually enjoy exercise or writing every day. I’ve never seen them.” – Right here! Me!

    Wow, you wrote a whole book by forcing yourself to sit down and write? You totally gain my respect. I LOVE writing, and I really don’t have to force myself to do it. I also enjoy exercising, but only when I do gymnastics. (Roundoff-back-handsprings are addictive, and I often do too many.)

    I guess the down side is that when I don’t have ideas, I just cannot write no matter how long I stare at the page.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I write every day, and enjoying it is irrelevant. I breathe every day, but I’m not constantly enjoying breathing. I just do it.


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