Monday, December 29, 2014

'Tis the Season to be Sprinting

One of the things I was most looking forward to during my break between semesters was getting back into the writing sprint habit I established last spring and summer. An hour a day doesn't sound like much, but when class responsibilities began to accumulate, that hour fell away. Eventually, so did other things (like clutter control) and I was looking forward to slowly regaining control of both my schedule and my surroundings over break.

Accordingly, I began trying to fit some sprints in the week before Christmas. I knew I wouldn't be able to restore my daily habit while preparing for the holidays, but every bit of writing that I did served as a warm-up for the regularly scheduled sprints that would follow after the holidays.

Over the weekend, despite holiday travels, I managed to squeeze in some slightly unconventional sessions (editing in the car, and finishing the hour after everyone else had gone to bed), and finally, last evening, I was ready to begin the daily commitment.

It was only then that I realized that the "sprint" is more aptly named than I realized. Like a runner approaching a track event after a long, cold winter, I couldn't simply dash back into the event and expect it to flow as it had before.
This stuff is hard. Especially when you're out of practice. And while the warm-ups I'd been doing in the form of blogs, stolen writing time and sporadic sprints had kept my fingers on the keys, they hadn't required the butt-in-chair commitment or the brain-in-gear commitment that an hour long sprint requires if it's to be successful. Like an athlete at her first practice after a long, laid back off-season, I kept glancing at the clock, my brain "muscles" tired and frustrated long before the workout was over.

I've done this before, so I know it will get easier. And at no time have I stopped writing completely, so I know that muscle memory, if you will, will take over at some point. Even when I was sprinting regularly, I had days where an hour felt like two and I had to push through, unsure of the quality of the work I was producing.

But that's (also) part of the beauty of the writing sprint. Even an hour that produces only work that cries out for substantial editing is unlikely to get me so far afield that I can't return to the starting line and make some sense of the event. And, since it's once again (finally!) sprint season, I know I'll have plenty of opportunities to improve my personal best.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some stretching to do.

1 comment:

  1. It always amazes me how writing is like exercising - if you skip even a day, you get a little out of shape! I guess there's a reason Stephen King says in On Writing how you should write every single day. I always found it doubly hard to sit down and meet my quota if I've taken a couple days off! I feel your pain. :)