“Most days, I don’t feel like running until I start running.” Tom Fleming
Tom Fleming is a two-time winner of the NYC Marathon. Yet as his comment suggests, there was many a day when the last thing he wanted to do was to get out and run. It was only when he actually got on the road and started running that he found his groove and felt like doing what he had to do to train and improve.
I lace up my running shoes a few days a week and I’m totally in synch with Tom’s point of view. As a writer, I completely agree with it as well. Getting started is the hardest part.
An example: I’m working on a story on craft. Just yesterday, I began adding to it, but feeling very resistant to the whole idea. Sluggish and tired — that was my mood. Finally, I got to work. I added a fun quote and the story came alive for me and the more intriguing the whole idea of capturing its key themes became to me. My feeling of resistance just melted away and was replaced by a kind of energized curiosity.
This mindset propelled me forward and words began flowing. I soon had several pages that were rough, but could be shaped into something substantial. Instead of feeling lousy, I felt enlivened and even proud of myself. I’d wrestled with some complex ideas and had reframed them in a way that was very satisfying.
Has that ever happened to you? So often, we let our moods master us. And yet, if we can just push through them and get to work, the work itself rewards us by becoming pleasurable and inspiring. Moods are really just paper tigers: we need to burst through their artificial barriers to get where we want to go.
So the next time you feel like not writing, go through the motions and move around — take physical action. Get your papers together. Get your cup of tea or coffee. Fire up your computer or sharpen your pencils or whatever. And simply start. Start writing. Soon you’ll want to write more — and then, write on!
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