Learning to Appreciate the Writing Drills In Order to Get Things Done


If you’re a sports fan, you’re likely sad to see the Olympics are nearly over. If you’re not, or you’re simply not an Olympics fan, you’re tired of hearing about them. Sorry! I promise my analogy today will only mention them briefly. Mostly here! Because they kind of inspired today’s brain child.

I’m not an athlete. I’m decent at sports when I choose to play them, and I always enjoy myself (always did), but I never played on teams as a kid. Chock it up to a mix of expense, social anxiety, and adolescent angst.

In any case, watching the Olympic athletes at the pinnacle of their respective sports always leaves me in awe because I can hardly fathom the amount of work it took them to get there. Day in, day out, they’re up bright and early pushing their minds and bodies in order to compete for mere minutes on the world stage.

It’s the discipline that gets me.

Overall, I would consider myself a fairly disciplined person. But I’m starting to learn that I’m also more results oriented than I thought I was. I can easily put my nose to the grindstone and work my butt off. I get satisfaction out of a job well done. Always have. But I need to get something back from that arduous work eventually or I lose motivation.

Lately, my need for that something sooner rather than later has increased tenfold because I don’t feel like I’m getting it anywhere. That in itself is a whole other problem, though, so I’m going to stick to writing. I’ve been feeling a bit deflated, for lack of a better term, with my writing for a while now. I put in bits of effort and when I don’t get a payoff, say an acceptance to a submission, I slump away in defeat and ignore it. To be brutally honest, my output is not where it needs to be to reach any level of success. The scale is not weighed in my favour, but I can’t seem to reconcile that.

Writing, writing, and writing some more, then submitting, then submitting again, then writing, writing, and writing—and you see where I’m going with this—is the only way I’m going to make any headway. Sporadic bursts of furious creation are not enough. I need the steady stream of creation if I’m going to start tipping that scale.

I’m going to go off track and share something here: I have a vivid memory of performing basketball drills in a junior high gym class. It stands out because we rarely did drills in gym; we covered the rules and whatnot, then we played the sport. I remember both loving and hating this shift in routine. I loved the drills because they were a novelty. A friend told me the stunts we were doing were routine for her and her basketball team, and I recall laughing. I also hated the drills because I would much rather have played the game and called it a day.

“Writing, writing, and writing some more” are the drills of the writer’s life. The novelty has worn off for me, but I need to get over myself. I really wish I had played a sport growing up so that I was more disciplined in terms of the practice parts of life. A lot of writing is practicing and learning from mistakes and growing as an artist. It seems like I need a constant reminder of that. I need to start learning to appreciate the drills to get things done—to get some darn writing done!


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