Sunday, December 4, 2011

Retraining the Mental Muscles

For the majority of my life, I absolutely hated running. I can remember having to run one lap around the track during P.E. in high school and feeling like I might just collapse. It was only a quarter of a mile but it felt like the length of the California coast. Even in college when I was working out regularly, any attempt to run left me feeling winded and wimpy and totally unmotivated rack up any sort of admirable distance.

Then in my early thirties, my girlfriends distracted me with conversation and I realized that if I could push through the first couple miles, I was totally capable of running several more after that.

I just needed to get warmed up.

Those first two miles always feel like a slog. But I know that once I blow through them, everything is going to get easier. And the endorphins at the end of my run will be that much better. Yeay for endorphins!

I realized this week that writing for me is just like running.

Well, except that I never hated writing.

But it requires me to warm up in a similar fashion—or else I can't really get in a groove and enjoy the elation of accomplishment when I finish. It's funny because I need about the same amount of time at the keyboard as I do on the sidewalk. Twenty minutes is the magic number.

I wonder if they've done studies on the twenty-minute factor. Maybe everything gets easier if you stick to it for 20 mins. Maybe the payoff is always better if you do something for longer than that allotment of time.

I'm just glad that I recognized the correlation between putting on my shoes and panting, and settling in at the computer and typing. I'll likely have to remind myself of it every single day while I'm *living the dream*.

Just like training for my half marathons, if I'm ever going to get to the publishing finish line, I'm going to have to warm up and push myself into better and better shape.


  1. Great analogy...and you're right....20 minutes of warmup does seem to be the key.

  2. I wonder if the 20-minute rule applies to procrastination. The first 20 minutes suck, because you keep thinking about what you need to do. But, after 20 minutes, it gets sweeter, because you're committed to putting things off and doing them some other time. hahaha.

    I can't wait to hear more about your writings!

  3. 20 minutes is the magic number! You are so right. I wrote all my books by the 20 minute rule. You're living the dream!


Well, whatdya think?