Getting Back on the Wagon – All the Way Around

Just got off the elliptical – 20 minutes. And boy am I exhausted. So exhausted, in fact, that I decided to share with all of you how I’m back on the exercise wagon. Because, you see, as tired as I am now, in the long run I’m going to feel better. I used to think that was crap. People said exercise, you’ll be less tired. You’ll have more energy and feel like you can accomplish more. Yeah. Whatever. But I screwed up my back pretty well a while back and was forced into PT (physical therapy to you regular folks – painful torture to those of you who really know!). At first, I thought I was going to DIE! It hurt. A lot! But as I kept going, my back felt better. In fact, all of me did. And one day I was sitting on my steps talking on the phone. My hand was resting on the railing and I looked at my arm out of the corner of my eye. Then I had to look again. And again. Forget double take, it took me a full four times to realize what I was looking at. I had a muscle! An honest-to-God, well-defined bicep! I could have died.

Of course I went out an joined the Y. Lost a ton of wieght and my back felt terrific. Then my schedule changed and my normal gym time wasn’t working. Then the other gym in town closed and I had to compete for machines with the spandex-clad, husband-hunting, rail-thin, irritating….  ahem. Where was I? Oh yeah. Gym rats. Actually, I have another name for them which starts with sl and ends in ts, but the point is they would sit there on the one machine I needed to do to finish my workout, slowly doing their reps and talking to some muscle-bound moron. Then I had some surgery, which put me out of commission for awhile. And then they raised their prices. For me to sit there and wait for YMCA Barbie to get a date.

I think you see where I’m going here. I quit. I gained the weight back, my back is a wreck, and I am tired all the time. All. The. Time. But I bought an elliptical machine! Which sits in the basement and gathers dust. But I have spurts. I go on there for a few days, then stop again. But, in the spirit of the New Year, I’ve actually gone on there most every day for a week now! Whoo! And making 20 minutes today was a momentous occasion, I can tell you. Especially since I felt like I could actually go longer. The phone, however, prevented that. But tomorrow it’s 25, I swear!

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, my writing story is amazingly similar to my workout story. I used to write every night. I was addicted. Heck, when my job was simpler, I used to write there, too. I could pull of a rough draft in a month. No lie. NaNo was cake for me then.  Then my kids got older, my job got more involved, and I fell off the wagon. I still wrote, but not every day. Writing was actually a little like pulling teeth. Oh, once I got back on, the wagon was easy enough to ride. I’d get involved in a passage and tap away for an hour without realizing any time had passed. But it would be day before I touched the computer again.

I’ve tried a million little tricks to get me back on the wagon again, but it’s been tough. My new laptop did a lot for me, since I had to justify putting nearly $600 into a toy for just me and me alone. But it still didn’t get me to write EVERY day. In fact, the spurts were now interrupted by email, since I had a laptop manufactured after the stone age and wireless Internet.

But I think I’ve figured it out. And even though I think I know the anwswer, I realize it’s not going to get any easier. It comes down to this: when I exercise, I really feel good. I do. Even now, as my leg muscles twitch as they relax from a good workout, I feel more energized. Same with my writing. I forced myself to re-write the first scenes of MURDER IN F MINOR the other night, and felt like I’d run a marathon. What I wrote wasn’t pretty and it had taken me what felt like a million years to be done with what I wanted to get done. But afterwards, even though I felt exhausted, I felt oddly energized.  And I know the more I do it, the better I’ll feel. Just like that blasted elliptical.

Now if I could just figure out how to do both at the same time. Hmmm…

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