I don’t usually suffer from what is often called “Writer’s Block.” No, my problem is that I have so many things running through my mind that my main issues are trying to figure out what exactly to write about.
Now, some may call that having ADD or HD or even MTV or whatever acronym that is in vogue these days. But my problem/issue/gift if you will, is that I see a lot going on in life and I like to tell people about what I am noticing in this realm of existence we call Reality.
To me, life is like a little kid who goes to a candy store and they only have $1.00 in which to spend. (I was going to use 25 cents, but you can’t even buy one piece of candy for that amount these days.) There is so much for me to write about but I have a hard time choosing which subject to tackle first. And as far as having $1.00 goes, well, just think of that as time.
When you are a writer, like me, you find out that while there is a lot to choose from in the world, yet you have very limited resources in which to present your points of view/tell your story/or just rant to your heart’s content. Money, in this case, is time. Most of us, myself included, have very busy schedules so our time is actually worth more than money. In fact, I had to do some major juggling in my schedule just to find the time to sit down and try to put this post together.
And if I have to be honest with you all, I’ve had a hard time these past few months actually finding time to sit down and write. Yes, I’ve found mountains of material to expound upon, the problem is getting my butt in the chair to do it. Ok, sure, I sound like a whinny little boy trying to explain to his teacher why he didn’t get his homework done. (Which, by the way, is not too far from the truth in my own childhood.) But what I am getting at is that I need to learn a new set of disciplinary tactics to make sure I write before I do anything else.
Let me explain what I mean.
This week, the Winter Olympics is being held in in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Thousands of athletes from all over the world have come together to compete against each other in athletic competition. And for the millions of couch potatoes who sit there recliners, chowing down on extremely buttered popcorn while watching these young people give everything they’ve got just for a few moments of glory and perhaps be recognized as the best in the world at their particular event, we have to ask ourselves this question: “What did it take for those athletes to get where they are today?”
It took discipline. It took the physical and mental fortitude to do all the training needed to get them in shape to achieve peak performance. These athletes have special diets that are tailored to their particular body requirements for their individual sporting events. Or, to put it another way, I don’t think a regular diet of chili dogs will be beneficial to their goal of winning the gold. I’m sure they get plenty of rest and don’t spend the majority of their night’s bar hopping and doing tequila shots on a consistent basis. No, these athletes have a training schedule they follow, dietary restrictions that help them fuel their bodies for maximum efficiency and the discipline it takes in order to stay on schedule with not only their menu options but to keep going in the areas of training. Oh, and one other thing these athletes have that most of us don’t. They constantly push themselves to improve everytime they lace up their skates, put on their skis/snowboard, or even slip into their what I call their “body condom” when they run the luge.
Now, as a writer, can I do that? Can I have the discipline to watch what I eat in order to keep my body in shape? Probably not. Why? Because what I eat is sometimes what I write about. Nobody really wants to hear a story about Kale or Brussel Sprouts. But I can get people to read what I’ve written if it has to do with Bacon and the eating of copious amounts of said “Meat from Heaven.”
Well, how about sleep? Are you kidding? What writer can sleep? We are always thinking about the next thing we want to write about. We are thinking about it when we are in bed, in the shower, in the bathroom, when we are driving, everywhere! Everywhere except when we sit down to write it because we always seem to forget those great things we wanted to write about when we go to put it down on our laptops.
Well, How about training? We writers love to train. We love to read books on writing. We love to watch videos on writing. We love to read interviews about famous authors who write for a living. But when we get down to it, it seems we are always training but we never give ourselves a chance to perform (write).
I’m sure that those athletes would love to go party instead of focus on their training. The same holds for us writers as well. While we may not go out and party, per se, (Major eye-roll inserted here.) we may waste our time doing non-writing things. Things like:
Binge watching Sherlock on Netflix (which I’ve seen at least 4 times already).
Reading way too much. Now, before you get mad at me, I love to read. As a writer, it is important that we all read books…lots and lots of books. But don’t let your love or reading take you away from writing. What I’m getting at is there is a time to read and a time to write.
Even time with family and friends. Yes, they are important, but they also have to understand that you are a writer. You need time to write. If you don’t sit down and write, it will affect all the other aspects of your life. Because, as a writer, if you don’t write, then that hole in your life, that creative space that is missing in your exitance, will never be fulfilled and you will go through the rest of your life kicking yourself because you didn’t do what you were put on this earth to do in the first place.
So people, go for the gold. Put yourself in training to be the best writer you can be. Grab a cup of coffee and get to work. Set a time aside each week where you will work on your craft. Fry up some bacon and get your thought process moving towards that new book/blog/column or whatever you want to put out there.
But above all, be consistent. Those athletes on TV didn’t get where they were just in a haphazard way of doing things. They have a schedule and they follow it. They push themselves harder and harder every time they train/compete. The question is… “Why aren’t you?” Better question yet is… “Why aren’t I?”
I now return you to your regularly scheduled life…already in progress.