Writing is like Exercise


A few weeks I accidentally ended up in an Interval Training class at my gym. This is not a mistake I would recommend. I’d intended to go to a different class, but because I was distracted by a phone call, I wandered into the wrong room and by the time I realized my error, it was too late to leave.

For those unfamiliar, interval training is a type of physical exercise that combines short spurts of different moves, usually at a high intensity. In short, it’s terrible, but terribly effective. After my accidental class I felt exhausted yet accomplished. To have exercised feels wonderful. It’s the exercising itself that is often so painful to endure.

Writing is much the same for me. I love the feeling that I’ve written something, even if I never share the contents with anyone else. But the writing itself? Excruciating. Repetitive. Soul sucking (sometimes). Most days I’d rather do 50 rounds of burpees instead of the “butt in chair” exercise, as Anne Lamott once tweeted of the nature of writing.

Nearly a year ago I set out to write a book, a daunting project to undertake at any stage of life, but at the time I was a new mother, a new business owner, and a soon-to-be new board chair. There were many days, weeks even, when the “butt in chair” exercise didn’t get done. I felt a lot of guilt over my negligence to exercise my writing muscles regularly.

But, there’s a lesson for me in my gym mistake a few weeks ago. Sometimes the key to accomplishment is showing up ready to work and being open to the unexpected, however unpleasantly it might arrive.  At some point I had to give up my expectations of what the book writing process was going to look like and accept it for what it was: messy, frustrating, and occasionally rewarding enough to keep me coming back for more.

Now back to that chapter.

My book Women Rising will be published with the FAR Press in 2017.