The Weight Room
When I was a freshman in high school a gym teacher introduced me to the weight room. I was hooked. I was fascinated by how my body changed. Not only was I stronger by the end of my senior year I was a lot more confident.
After I graduated I joined a local gym. I was there for a long time and made a lot of friends. Every January a flock of new arrivals flooded our gym floor.
I remember when February rolled around half of them were gone. By March about a quarter of them were left and by April a small handful remained.
For the longest time I wondered why? What made them quit?
Years later I found the answer albeit in a different sort of way.
The Writer’s Room
A long time ago I thought writing a novel was easy. And…well…it is easy if you want to write a bad one or you’re incredibly gifted.
But I had no intentions of writing a bad one even though I wasn’t terribly gifted. I was going to throw myself in it and come out looking great.
I started off strong. That first week I wrote every day. Morning. Night time. You name it. I did this for two weeks but later in the month I had a bit of a drop off and by the end of the month my dream of writing a book became just that.
The Notebook (no, not the movie)
Frustrated, I took a month off promising I’d figure it out. That so-called month turned into years and years of lost promises.
Funny how things happen isn’t it. We fall into a routine either good or bad and accept it.
A few weeks ago I was cleaning out an old box that had somehow survived several of our moves. Aside from a pair of worn out gloves, dried up pens and endless cat and kid toys I found an old notebook that was in surprisingly good shape.
Somewhere in the middle of the notebook I found something fascinating. Apparently I set out a list of goals that I expected to achieve once I completed this amazing first novel.
Keep in mind I hadn’t a clue what I was doing but that didn’t stop me from believing it could be done.
I’m glad it survived after all these years. It’s cringe worthy but valuable all the same.
Novel will be finished in a month. Six weeks tops. – Didn’t happen.
Do not share with anyone. Agents and Publishers only. – Not exactly my brightest idea.
Self-Editing. No need for extra help. – I’m pretty sure I subtracted a comma for a period. Clearly a huge move.
I have an idea for a plot. But not an actual plot. Keep writing it’ll work itself out. – Looking back I still haven’t a clue what the thing was about. A possible sign of trouble.
Meet or exceed five chapters per day. – If that includes short chapters and lots of scribbling….sure.
I’ll have a book deal by the end of the year. – Forgive me. That’s all I ask.
Need to find the perfect place to write before I start otherwise it won’t happen. – I remember a spare bedroom that I thought would be perfect. When it didn’t happen I’m pretty sure I blamed the book failure on that.
I wonder now if the people who bombarded our gym in January wrote something similar. And if they did now I understand.
It’s easy to create in our minds a fabulous adventure before it takes place. We’re all guilty of dreaming big only to discover it takes a lot of sweat and a dash of luck to succeed. Unfortunately we conveniently forget the work, the frustration and of course an actual plot or plan to begin with.
Lesson learned on my end.
Hopefully for those of you just starting out this will serve as a reminder that any goal can be achieved, you just need a better plan than the one I had.
You might also want a plot, a setting, a protagonist an antagonist and…..well….you get the idea.