Let Me Tell You a Story #24: Another Running Analogy

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When I started this blog last summer, I wrote about my running. A lot. More than I probably needed to.

But I’m heading out later today to go on my second run of the new year. The first was on an unseasonably warm day back at the end of February, when spring peeked its pretty head out for a day then retreated again for six weeks.

I know I’m going to get blisters. I always do when I haven’t been running for months–I don’t run in winter for two major reasons:

  1. I work on my feet at my day job and don’t want to risk a slip-and-crash on ice;
  2. I run barefoot-style, and look at those shoes! I’d get frostbite!

So it takes my body a few runs to adjust to the running routine again.

And apparently, the same thing has happened to my brain.

Remember how I said I loved that new rewriting method I tried out?

Apparently, it made my brain forget for a while how to write entirely new bits of story. Over the past week and a half, I’ve been struggling through the space left by five chapters I had to cut 90% of, to rewrite that entire plot arc from the foundations up. And in some cases, the foundations, too.

It might be the hardest slog I’ve done on this book thus far. I felt slow and stupid and sluggish.

And then, yesterday, I was presented with the cherry on top, figuring out how to transition back into the original draft, picking up (mostly) where I left off after the cuts. It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped, and this morning, I toughed it out, writing the bridging chapter to bring my new storyline back to where it needed to be.

I was hoping I’d be done with this rewrite by now, so I could go back to the beginning of the new draft and work on the technical edit–spelling, filler words, repetition, all that fiddly stuff.

I’m not. And it’s frustrating.

Now, I need this run. Even though I know I’ll be slow and sluggish, and my body will ache like hell tomorrow. Especially because I know that.

If I can retrain my brain, then I can retrain my body, and in a few weeks when I’m back in the running habit, it will be something I look forward to instead of The Dreaded Exercise.

Struggle is good for us.

But so is taking a break from rewriting, when the words go fuzzy in my brain and I need music and the feel of concrete under my feet.

Work hard, my fellow writers, but not too hard. Go enjoy the sunshine!

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