Writing I mean.
Other stuff, too, but we’ll talk about writing but first we’ll start with hiking.
Stay with me.
If anyone knows me at all, they know I despise exercise. When I was much younger, I fell in love with yoga and dreamed of teaching one day in my own studio. For almost a decade, I followed yogis and clocked in ninety hours of teaching, and mediated regularly to find my inner peace. This was a path revealed to me after too many years of anxiety, depression, and general fear of the world. Finally, I’d found something that worked.
Yep, writers are crazy.
Then I got old. And I had kids. And life changed, along with my goals. And my metabolism slowed to a crawl and suddenly I couldn’t touch my toes, let alone stay away from the sour cream and onion potato chips. I found myself back and forth on some various diets, losing 25 pounds, keeping it off for a year or too, then something would happen and trigger the next plateau and we’d be off again.
My point after this long tirade is I haven’t done yoga in centuries, or gone to the gym, and I’m really out of shape. I plan to tackle that now, but I won’t bore you with details. I’ll just entertain you with my weekend foray when my brother came up with the whole crew and we went hiking at Mohonk Mountain House.
I love Mohonk, and have even managed to complete the famous Lemon Squeeze hike – twice. But we usually have brunch and spend the day and park in this special lot where you climb some stairs and there is the lodge.
This time, brunch was sold out.
This time, we decided to park in the lot for commoners because it was only twenty-five bucks a carload and we had thirteen people.
This time, I was told I had to hike three miles just to GET to the lodge.
When I protested nervously this was not something that sounded FUN, I was inundated with positive accolades such as –“It’ll be a great way to kick off your new exercise routine!” and “The path is mostly level!” and “It’ll be so much fun and family bonding!”
Yeah. I bond really well with my family while watching Big Brother, but I was overtaken by the majority so I went along with this plan.
I’ll give you the short story.
It was not a level path. It began with an endless amount of steep stone stairs and when we bought our tickets I was already out of breath.
After a few minutes of straight walking and I had begun to relax, I was treated to an intense rock climb where I prayed I wouldn’t die. When we reached the top of the mountain via these giant rocks (where you had to lift your legs VERY high to get to the next rock) the “regular” path began. The three mile part.
Let’s skip the dramatics, shall we?
I made it. We got to the lodge and I got to have a milkshake and soak in the beautiful scenery and wander around the grounds. I skipped the Lemon squeeze hike because I could barely stand, but my crazy family did that, too.
After a few hours, we had to hike all the way BACK.
So, yeah. I almost died. My legs were so shaky, I had to turn on the Rocky theme song on my iphone just to power through the last mile, which was hiking DOWN steep rocks that made me weep with fear.
I wasn’t able to climb stairs for 48 hours. This is a fact.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
The family bonding was pretty amazing. When you are forced to walk for hours with nothing to distract you, there’s this thing that happens called TALKING. We chatted and laughed in different groups and had a blast.
I felt proud. I had attempted and succeeded in doing something that was out of my comfort zone.
I learned even though I think I couldn’t do it, I did. I may not have liked the whole thing, but I liked it AFTERWARD.
I pushed through real pain and really didn’t die.
As I do with everything in my life, it all connects to the writing.
It reminded me that sometimes writing is really hard and that’s okay.
Take the good days with gratitude and a smile.
Take the bad days with gritted teeth and Rocky playing in the background.
Surround yourself with inspiration.
Go onto social media and put a cry out for help to your peeps and ask for some major ass kicking.
Set a goal of 1K and write as many sucky words as you can in the hour. Fix that shit later. Much later.
Unless you are listening to music, lock your phone up until the words are done.
One word begets another. One page leads to another.
The painful parts of the book will pass.
The pride when the new words are written will help you sleep at night and remind you that this career you’ve chosen really IS worth it.
Remember, one step leads to the completion of a six mile hike.
Remember, 1K completed is the building block of a 100K book, but if you think of the goal too soon, you might as well give up because it seems overwhelming. Don’t think of the deadline or the goal. Concentrate on putting words on the page, fighting your way through.
I still don’t know how I’ve written the books that stand proudly on my bookshelf behind me. It seems like a mysterious, alien-like process I don’t believe I can duplicate. But I do, each and every damn time, because I put words on the page, my loves, and that is what you all must do.
Run the marathon.
Finish the book.
Go after the new job.
Start your own business.
Sell your shit and move to Hollywood.
There is only one thing you MUST do to accomplish all of it.
Peace out, loves.