So I was at the gym a few days ago, going through my usual routine, upper body that day. I often speed through a certain machine because although I work out nearly every day, I'm basically lazy. And it's so much easier to do all the reps if I do them fast. A man I see there all the time stops in front of me, shaking his head.
"What?" I ask.
"Slow it down," he advises.
"But it's too hard that way," I answer.
He gives me a solemn nod. "Bet your ass. But you're not getting what you could out of it. Won't do a damn thing for you unless it's challenging. And it'll only be challenging if you do it the right way, slowly."
Now, I know what he's saying is true. I've been at this for many years. But I forget that just going through the motions won't do me any good. My muscles have grown resistant. So I slow my pace. And the movements are tough. Really tough. And I can feel the burn. Now, I'm not wasting my time. Now I'm doing something.
Later that day I got to thinking how that truth in the gym also fits the craft of writing fiction. You can keep doing what's easy, never stretch those writing muscles. Or, you can grow and get better by putting in the time and the effort to learn, to better the craft. Falling into that comfortable rut is so tempting. But unless you push yourself, you're going nowhere.