The Writing Muscle

I was listening to the most recent Adventures in Sci Fl Publishing podcast, featuring an interview with Kris Rusch, and she said something that I really already knew. She said that writing is a muscle, and that to write fast you just need to practice writing fast.

Well, duh.

But, you see, I’ve been off work this week, and it’s suddenly hit me again just how true this statement is. I’ve been having a great time of it this week. My daily process is: (1) Get up about 8:00 AM, (2) write until noon, (3) lunch, (4) do something good around the house/yard, (5) walk to the gym and work out, then walk home, (6) go to dinner with my lovely wife, (7) do whatever in the evening with her, (8) go to bed. Simple. Great. Much fun.

But then, I need to say that the 3-4 hours of writing has not always been particularly fruitful. I’m not used to having that kind of time anymore. I’m more used to 30 minutes or an hour. It’s actually a little annoying. But yesterday I actually loosened up a bit, and got a lot done, and then…all of a sudden…in the middle of the book I was working on, I wrote a strange paragraph. It ddn’t fit, you see. So I pulled it out, and looked at it.

It belonged in a different story.

So today I decided to stop working on the book and explore this story. That was the plan, anyway.

For a couple reasons, I decided that today I would do the cliche-kinda thing, and go to Starbucks to write. I settled in with my Mocah, and I started to write. But oddly, I didn’t start with the paragraph I had intended to. Instead, I started with something completely different. Decidinng to trust my instinct, I just went with it. I powered on. Two mochas and nearly four hours later, I had a complete short story. Beginning, middle, end. Do you know how long it’s been since I wrote an entire short story in a single sitting? I honestly can’t remmeber the last time that happened.

All I can say is that I feel really solid about it, and I like the story, too. Sure, it needs work–it’s a first draft, afterall. But the story is there.

Very cool.

I was thinking about this when I went to the gym this afternoon. I’m spending time there nearly every day, working on my muscles, working on my endurance. I’m feeling good about that. But, for the obvious reson, I’m feeling better today. I’ve missed that feeling, the sense of confidence that I can finish a story in a day. It’s a swagger thing. And it’s good to get it back.

Yeah, I hear ya…

“Well, duh.”

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