I’m more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner.
Actually, let me clarify. When it comes to track, my preferred position is spectator.
But if you were to drag me back in time to high school, re-enroll me in my sophomore year, and force me to fulfill my physical-education requirement by taking a semester of track (you heartless time-traveling bastard, you) — then yes, I’d be more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner.
My dad’s the same way. We work best with short bursts of energy, and not prolonged periods of continual exertion.
Case in point: I can’t write every day.
I’ve tried, but it’s a goal I’ve struggled to keep … sort of like my New Year’s resolution to jog each evening. (Come to find out, binge-watching Top Chef at night puts a damper on my daily exercise regimen.)
I know writing every day would be good for me. And it’s something I’d like to do. After all, the most successful writers are the ones that train themselves to make writing a habit. They treat it like a job.
Although I suppose I treat writing like a job, too – only it’s one that involves a shovel, a pile of cow dung, and knee-high wading boots.
That is to say, it’s not only an unenjoyable job – it’s often downright excruciating.
Part of that is my penchant for perfection. Rewriting and editing are important parts of the process, but it’s easy to wring the heart from a piece through rigorous revision. That’s a problem I know all too well.
There’s a vein of creativity that runs through the mind, and my best work emerges when I can tap into it and transcribe the thoughts that stream effortlessly through my fingertips.
On the other hand, striving for technical precision suffocates the life from my writing, leaving me with a series of grammatically accurate sentences that collectively lack a soul.
Another issue I have is writer’s block. There are so many days when I sit down to write and nothing’s there. It feels like I’m wearing concrete boots and slogging through a mental cavern of thick cobwebs. (Unfortunately, today is one of those days.)
Other days, I’ll feel clear-headed and energetic, and I’ll dash out two or three blog posts in one sitting.
It’s weird, but apparently, it’s how I work.
I still try to write every day, but if nothing’s there, I’m not too hard on myself.
I also remind myself to have fun. If I’m not enjoying what I’m writing, then likely no one else will enjoy reading it.
I also remind myself that perfection is an illusion, and striving for it will suck the life from my writing. When it comes to creativity, good enough is truly good enough.
So if you see me on the track, just know I won’t be running the mile full-steam. I’ll dash forward, walk for a while, then dash forward until I run out of oomph.
Again, it’s how I work.
And maybe that’s OK. Because whether I’m sprinting or walking, I’m still going the distance. I’ll get to the finish line eventually.
It’s just that it’ll be on my own terms — and, apparently, in my own sweet time.