Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Endurance, Endurance

First of all, I'd like to thank Michelle McLean, Angela Ackerman, Angie Townsend, and Katrina Lantz for adding to my list of followers. I hope I can say something useful.

So here's my topic for the day:


Just stick with me here.

Doesn't that gardener look happy? Like there's nothing he would rather be doing than pushing that lawn mower. This morning I got up at 7:30 to mow my parents yard, since I'm currently away from school and don't have a summer job. Personally, I looked more like this:

Yard work is HARD. I live on a corner lot, and a hill, so the mowing is strenuous. I have to go over tree roots, around bushes, under a trampoline--all under the Southern sun. I had hoped that by getting up so early, I might avoid the heat, but that's almost impossible in the South.

But I have to remember my goal: that $20 I'm going to get. I know that at the end of the day, I'll be rewarded for my hard work. Even if my mom forgets to give me the money for a week (which she's done before), sooner or later I will get it.

So what does this have to do with writing?

As I'm sure you all know, writing is HARD. Though we may enjoy it at first, sometimes we hit a rough patch and have to slow down. We get caught in the sun. A piece of bark flies up and hits our leg. Pretty soon, we're praying for it to be over, wondering why we got ourselves into this project in the first place. Where's the reward? It's just too painful to endure.

So, to help keep you motivated during these hard times, I've come up with a few suggestions.


Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that we love writing. Our gas trickles away, and our engine putters and dies. When I find myself needing to restart, I grab a good book and sit down to read. Reading other's finished work helps me feel motivated to keep working on my own. You know that the author labored over each sentence, each scene, just as you're doing, and now they have this wonderful novel that they can look at with pride. I want that for myself, and reading helps remind me it is possible.


This is different than refueling. Sometimes my engine's working just fine, but I can't go on one more minute without a glass of water. When that happens, I take a break, play a game I enjoy, watch a movie, something that doesn't have anything to do with my book. Afterwards I feel refreshed and have an open mind and am able to concentrate once more.


The mower won't start? Move on to edging. Sometimes while doing a line edit, I find that I just can't focus on it anymore. Try switching to characterization. Or work on a different scene. Or, better yet, work on a different story altogether. After a little bit of this, I find I'm no longer dizzy looking at the page.

What do you do when you burn out?



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