Be thankful for the rain!
I’m not a rain runner unless I’m running a race and have no choice. So, I have the day off to let my sore calf muscles heal. It’s days like this when I ask: Do I have what it takes to run a marathon? Then I remember the fear I had in February and the daily question I had to answer. Did I have what it took to run a half-marathon? The answer then was, “Yes.” That’s the same answer I have now.
Challenges are always stressful. Doubts creep in and try to undermine your determination. How do I stay strong enough to fight the doubts?
Number 1: I have to constantly remind myself that I can do it (whatever it is—run a race or write a book), and that my desire, passion, perseverance will see me to the end.
Number 2: I somehow put myself in a position that physically won’t allow me to quit. If I’m five miles from home, I have to get back somehow. Sure, I could call for a ride, but unless I’m bleeding or have a broken bone and need immediate medical attention, I refuse to admit failure. If I can’t run home, I walk. It just takes longer.
How does that work with writing? I give a critique partner or beta reader permission to keep hammering me for the next chapter. It gets embarrassing after a while to say it’s not ready.
When I’m writing and I stall out, I leave the computer and usually go take a shower. I don’t know why, but answers always come in that hot, confined space. For me, hot water melts away resistance and allows my brain to work through problems and find solutions. I call them V8 moments or slap your forehead moments. “Gosh, why didn’t I see that before?”
We all have devices for solving problems or avoiding them, strategies we learned as children. Some of them are not as constructive as they need to be, but we’ve used them for so many years we’re not about to change them now, or we don’t know how to change them.
When my first child went away to college, I was a mess. I did everything I could to make sure her transition to college life went as smoothly as possible, to the point of almost neglecting my other child who was in high school. But I couldn’t let go until I knew everything that I could do had been done.
I feel much the same way now. It’s hard to give my second book the attention it deserves because I’m so busy making sure the first book gets the best start it can possibly have. At some point, I have to let go. Just like my late husband told me that I had to let go of my college-bound child. It was the right thing to do, but I had to do it in my time, not someone else’s.
I guess it’s that same persistence, that same conviction, that same acknowledgement that failure is unacceptable that keeps me running and writing when my legs ache and my muse is wandering around aimlessly. It’s the same, because I’m the same, not that I haven’t changed and grown and healed, but down deep inside those same personality traits keep me running and writing today.
What keeps you motivated on a rainy Monday kind of day?
Happy writing and running, Kathy