Run. Write. Run. Is this how it’s done?

18 Jan

Overcoming the writer’s block with the daily dose of 500…

Dan Kennedy has a new way of doing it. He calls it the little morning exercise. Correction. It’s called the gay little morning exercise because you are supposed to be happy doing it. Yay! You’re supposed to be happy that you’re writing something – it could be just about anything, so long as you write. Graham Greene was into it, too. 500 words-a-day, no matter what. And up to now, I’ve done 71. Now 73. 74. Okay, it can be easy if you trick yourself out of it. 88. But we are grown up. We don’t do child-like things. 99. Even though we are tempted to.

beagle-tToday, and every day after today – my ass, I have to write 500 words, I have to squeeze them out of me. Yesterday, I had to run a half-marathon. I had to squeeze 21.1 km out of me – Ok, that’s 13.1 miles for all those who don’t get the kilometer-shit, but we shall take that in our stride.

Running a half-marathon, and writing – up-hill tasks both, mental games, physically challenging, and very very unpaying. Writing, physically testing? – Well, it could lead you to pulling your hair out or someone else doing that for you. Mum, for example. All she sees me do is sit for hours-on-end, leg-over-leg, staring at a screen, not answering door-bells, or telephone calls – the ones that come on the landline. And that shit really gets to her.

There’s another similarity in dealing with running long distances, and writing. It becomes easier if you break up the acts into quantified little goals that you achieve part by part. Peu-a-peu, if you know French. Schrittwiese, if you know German. Little by little, if you know what I mean. I’ve reached a crazy 292 words. But the secret to success lies in not doing the math. It’s good to be ‘in-the-now’. Never mind how much has already been done, never mind the how-much-more-to-go, focus only on the present – the current word being written, the current step being taken, and pretend it’s all good. Breathe in. Remind yourself that you are not going to die. Hydrate. Then take another stride, and write another word, because word after word after word is power, and step after step is… another step.

You will feel maimed, mangled, mauled, mutilated, until the rhythm takes over. Remove the negative shit from your head, shut up that insidious little bastard-voice that keeps bringing you back to the numbers game over and over again, trying so hard to knock you down. Overpower it. Concentrate on the marvel of the human form propelling in perfect cadence against the backdrop of a rising sun. Pray that your knees are strong enough for the concrete hills, and keep repeating to yourself: I can do this shit, it’s not difficult. And it won’t be long before you’ve got the whole 385-yards under your belt, and reached the amazing 500! Oh Lord, mum’s still after my life to answer those door-bells, and telephone calls, the ones that come on the landline. 507.

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Let’s make a beginning


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