I let out a groan as my muscles strained with exertion, feet pushing firmly against the plastic biting into my tennis shoes. Thick droplets rolled down my forehead and dripped into my eyes, momentarily blinding me. I panted as I worked the bike up the ever so slight incline going home, my muscles screaming as they begged for a rest. Sure, I was out of shape, but it’s more the fact that I was trying to be in shape that was killing me at the moment. An hour of cardio at the gym followed by a bike ride home in the sun at midafternoon with a heavy backpack, did not make for a happy body.
So I suppose it begs the question, why go to the gym knowing you’ll only have to bike home and be miserable later? Well I suppose that’s a matter of knowing I need the exercise (as evidenced biking home) and because I like applying a certain level of discipline to my life. It gives me motivation, makes me work harder.
But exercise is not the only area of my life which requires discipline. No, school work, my job, and other elements do so as well. But this month I’ve been trying to apply this to writing as well.
I don’t really remember where I found out about October Writing Challenge– a twitter monthly event that requires writers to do 500 words or 1 hour of editing every day. I’d heard of NaNoWriMo of course, but the popularity of the event has always rather thrown me off truly pursuing it and last year I did my own 1000 word challenge instead, focusing on making sure I spent regular time writing rather than focusing on one particular project.
It’s always been important to me to write regularly. I go crazy if I go more than a few weeks without any ideas. I require something to occupy my attention. But making sure to do so each and every day is a challenge I both enjoy and benefit from. Even so, as I approached the end of the week, I had much the same reaction as I did on my bicycle earlier today. My writing “muscles” feel exhausted, they are demanding why I’m not giving them much of a rest, especially when I have homework to consume my time as well. However, like when I’m on my bike I’m just trying to ignore it and press on. Because I know the benefits will pay off in the long run. We’ll just see if I can make it all the way through the month. Fingers crossed!
However, there is one element I appreciate more than my 1000 word challenge last year. And that is community support and accountability. Knowing people are going to see if I post my word count or not is a fantastic way to keep me going. It’s like having a workout buddy, or a fitness trainer. I have someone waiting and watching, seeing if I’ll fail or succeed. And when I have that I tend to do well.
It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But I feel in a lot of ways it’s like climbing a mountain. The exertion I feel right now is merely payment for the beautiful results I’ll see at the summit. And I’m looking forward to ending this month only to look back at a great view of how far I’ve come.
So if anyone is interested in building some writing discipline and endurance, check out the writing challenge. It’s fantastic and really works, at least for me.
What are some ways you motivate yourself to meet your goals? What discipline strategies do you apply to writing or any other task?