Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Rerun

Happy Monday, everyone. Instead of writing a new post for today, I spent the weekend watching my sons play a total of nine tournament baseball games. I left a notebook out on the table last night in the hopes that the magical post-writing fairies would pay me a visit, but no such luck. So today's post is a rerun. And, thanks to my ongoing internet service troubles, I'm posting it late, too. Have a great week!

Yoga Practice
Post by Jenny

I have a few yoga-loving friends. They are lithe and energetic and fit, but despite being excellent advertisements for the discipline, they have yet to convince me to attend a class. I’m afraid that public displays of contortionism (mine or anyone else’s) would have me giggling uncontrollably. I do have a yoga DVD, however, which I practice along with in the comfort of my home. I used to do it every weekday, then three mornings a week, then two, then—maybe—one. Then…none. For a long time, none.

I realized recently, as I strained to pick up something off the floor, that either my arms have shrunk to T-Rex proportions or my hamstrings have lost what little flexibility they once had. Because my sleeves still fit, I had to assume it was the latter. I was tempted to ignore this turn of events, but I knew that, in the long run, sticking my head in the sand (if I could even reach the sand) was not my best plan of action.

With a bit of trepidation, I dusted off my DVD and gave the routine another try. A couple of the poses were challenging—one in particular, which I think is called ‘Tangled Paperclips’—but, all in all, I did okay. And it occurred to me that I didn’t completely bomb because I had a history of consistent practice to fall back on (not literally, thank goodness). My muscles hadn’t lost the memory of what they were supposed to be doing and tried their best to do it again.

The same is true with writing. If my writing muscles are toned by frequent use, it’s much easier to get back into the routine after taking some time away. Like any other workout, there are days when I can’t wait to get started writing, and I burn through two hours with energy to spare. And there are days when I have to force myself to write, when it feels awkward and clumsy, and I‘d rather give up and eat something.

I used to think everything I wrote had to be perfect, and I still revise and obsess more than I should. But I have also come to realize that writers—like yoga devotees, like tennis players, like musicians—need regular, consistent practice. And practice doesn’t have to be perfect.

That’s why it’s called practice.

How do you keep your writing muscles in shape?

5 comments:

Marlena Cassidy said...

If I hit a particularly arid dry spell where I hate everything I write and then delete it all in a fit of rage three hours later, I find that either reading a new book or going to back to some tried and true favorites helps rekindle the passion again. After reading a few chapters, I get inspired again and can go on a writing spree for a few days before I work myself back into routine.

Dean K Miller said...

I've got four projects in current production, so there's a variety of choices. Sometimes I'll pop in Poetry Mode to stretch those muscles (gently). Other times I'll go back and re-read something I've written and let those good vibes pull me back.

If I'm still dry, a trip to the river for fly fishing, or a sit in the hot tub does the trick.

Charmaine Clancy said...

If I get a bit rusty with writing I just practice by writing out plot ideas or recording dialogue. Fun post :)

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

Nice post. Here is what I do to keep the writing juices flowing:

*blog
*join blogfests
*writing exercises and prompts
*work several days a week on my WIP

The Write Soil

Jenny said...

Thanks for the comments and the great suggestions. But I think fly fishing would just frustrate me :-)

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