Monday, July 20, 2009

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.


Terry Odell said...

I remember when I was a 'good girl' and used the machines that had the computer programming built in that timed each rep. It was a major effort to go that slowly. I tell myself I should get back to doing the slow reps when I muster the motivation to use the weight machines. I prefer sitting on the recumbent bike so I can read.

But at least I choose the "random hill" option so it's not exactly the same every day.

Dara Edmondson said...

Yeah, the bike's great for reading, but for me, I need weight bearing cardio - blah!

Katie Reus said...

So true! I tried to include more toning in my weekly workout and I feel like I've been through a blender. Apparently I need to mix it up :)

mimi said...

Excellent point, Dara. I've been whining and playing poor-pitiful-me over a massive rewrite I have looming, but really all I have to do is slow down and do what I know works. Thanks for the kick in the butt!