Archive for September 17th, 2010

If It Were Easy

Running a marathon is hard. Hell, training for a marathon can be downright excruciating.   Those are pretty obvious statements, right?   They are pretty obvious unless you are, like me, always harder on yourselfthan others.  When I first started running marathons I thought I was just really bad at it.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t glide over the miles.  Why the people on television looked so graceful while I was pouring sweat and looking for a bathroom every 5 miles or so.  For years, I beat myself up over the suffering I was enduring during long runs.

Until one day while I was training for my fifth marathon, when it occurred to me – marathons are not supposed to be easy.  Wow, what a incredible thought that was.  Suddenly, I wasn’t the only one struggling through my long runs.  I was not alone in the sweating and the runner’s trots.  Others were experiencing the same thing.  It didn’t make the training physically easier.  But it did make it mentally easier.  Instead of finding myself mulling over negative thoughts with every step. I gave myself permission for praise.  Wow, I am out here when I could be spending the morning watching cartoons with my kids.  Isn’t it great that I just ran eighteen miles?  Isn’t it awesome to have just finished marathon number five? Suddenly, instead of beating myself down over what I couldn’t do, I was raising myself up for what I could.

But I am not a fast learner.  Just because I learned that marathons are hard, doesn’t mean that I have applied those same forgiving thoughts to other areas of my life.  So, lately as I have struggled with the rewrite of my novel, pulling my hair out when I come to a bit I know is not quite the way the story should be going, I have been denigrating myself.  What kind of a loser gets stuck on a rewrite?  What kind of a loser can’t figure out how to make characters do what they are supposed to be doing?  Why in the world am I taking so long to get this done?

Then the epiphany hit, again.  After listening to three separate authors speaking on Barnes and Noble’s Meet the Authors and listening to each of them say how hard the process of writing a novel is, suddenly I had that lightbulb moment, again.  Writing a novel isn’t supposed to be easy.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and not only that, but everyone would be doing it well.

So I am going to give myself permission to stop beating myself up.  I am going to give myself a pat on the back for sitting down at a blank screen and getting words on paper.  I am going to give myself credit for making an attempt at a dream I have had my entire life. And most importantly, I am going to keep on writing and rewriting it.  I am sure I will have to remind myself of this again and again but for tonight, I am working on a rewrite.  I am writing a novel. I am a novelist.


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