“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.” William James
How easy it is to stop running before we’re even tired and how much we lose when we never hit that second wind! Have you ever done this with your writing — gotten to a certain point where a project gets tricky and more demanding — and just put it away because you didn’t feel like wrestling with it?
Truth be told, there probably isn’t a writer around who doesn’t have a few of those half-hearted, half-baked stories or essays or plays or poems hidden away somewhere and languishing.
What is there about hitting that first speed bump that discourages us and keeps us from pushing forward and finding our second wind? How can we get push ourselves “far enough on our first wind to find out” that we’ve got a second wind? How can we tap into those reserves of energy and staying power, and keep gong when other people quit?
We can remember that it’s “the start that stops most people.” As my coach and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert* says so well, getting started is the hardest part of any project. Once we start, the law of physics works in our favor — “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” So just start!
We can push ourselves to do more than we think we can — more than we expect to do in any given writing session. Just working 5% or 10% more time — pushing yourself past the point when you feel like stopping — can propel you into a second wind. And that new burst of energy can give you the strength to keep going.
We can remember that when we find our second wind, we also often find hidden treasure. I’ve found that whenever I push myself to the point where I get that surge of renewed energy, I enter a zone where fresh ideas and sparkling words are waiting for me. But I need to tap into that extra staying power to unearth them.
We can remember that we always have extra gas in our writing tank. We’re creative beings. Out minds love being stretched and challenged. When we feel tired but push on past those feelings, which are often fleeting, we are often delighted and amazed to find that we’re never empty. Our minds are like Artesian wells — the more water we pump, the more there is.
So let’s run far today — let’s be second winders as we all write on!
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