Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Exercising Your Writing Habits

I had cause to think about exercising.  Thoughts that led to some insights about writing. 

When I began exercising a few months back it was hard.  I often left the gym sore and winded.  But, with some proper guidance from my physical therapist and a personal trainer, I got stronger and developed some endurance.  

These days when I leave the gym, I still feel the workout, but I feel pretty good too.  Doing the exercises makes me feel physically better.   What was once a chore, planning and going to the gym, turned into a pleasurable routine.

As I considered this, I was struck by a similar shift in my feelings toward writing over the last few years.   

Once Upon A Time…

A few years ago I labored at writing in a sporadic fashion.  Writing was a chore I often had to force myself to do. 

I had ideas I liked, ideas I turned into putrid prose.   In short, I sucked.  I knew I sucked, but had no idea how to identify or correct my many problems. 

Then I got serious and began exercising my writing muscles more regularly.  I sought help from other writers who  made me see not only how truly bad my writing was, but also how to make it better.

And somewhere along the way, writing stopped being a chore.  Writing stopped being something I did instead of having fun.  My skills improved, and as they did so did my sense of accomplishment.

To those who want to write, but find it a chore

Writing gets easier…if you work at it steadily. 

It is discouraging to labor for hours with the result being dreck best discarded.   But skills improve.  Mistakes are corrected, and become easier to avoid.  The rewrites you once dreaded, you  begin to relish.   The edits become cleaner and less work is needed each time through. 

The quality of first drafts goes up, and the number of edits required before something is acceptable begins to drop.   In time writing becomes fun. 

And that is when you really begin to tell your story in a way you like, in the way it deserves to be told. 

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