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A Practice - Fruit of the Vine — LiveJournal
Here There Be Goblins

calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-28 09:45
Subject: A Practice
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Mood:contemplativecontemplative
Tags:jay, yoga

Here is a post which has pretty much nothing to do with cancer, except that cancer kind of underlies everything in my mind these days, and, probably more to the point, the lifting-away of a major heap of cancer anxiety yesterday left some room for these thoughts to emerge. Which they did as I did yoga in jaylake’s kitchen this morning.

To wit: I don’t really feel like doing yoga. I don’t really feel like writing. Like, ever. If it were up to me, I’d lie in bed half the morning reading, and then eat chocolate old-fashioned donuts, and never bathe, and then read all afternoon, and then drink wine, and then read some more and go back to sleep.

But I get up early and do Ashtanga anyway. And the first few poses–especially if I’m not at class, if I’m in (oh for example) a kitchen where my computer is in the next room, and good things to eat are right nearby, and I kind of just don’t feel like it–those first few poses, I’m thinking, Okay, that’s Sun Salutation number four, one more and then I have the second five, and then the standing poses, and then the floor poses, and then the finishing poses, and if it’s 7:15 now, I won’t be done until 8:30, sighhhhh… And then after a while, I realize I’m nearly done with the floor poses, and my mind has gone somewhere else entirely and the practice has flowed and I feel lovely and energized and strong and accomplished.

And the same thing happens when it is time to sit down at the computer to write. I am fidgety and squirrelly and time-wastey and I have to get the desk organized first and I have to fool around on the internet and answer all my emails and put them away and go read my flist and refresh it and read it again and and and and…

But I have my word count goal based on how much time I have, and I eventually get myself started, and fidget around in the outline, and read over what I wrote yesterday, adding a word here and there, and then I start with new stuff, and write one paragraph and check word count again, and go and update it on my spreadsheet, and copy down the formula and see that I’ve written 37 words, and go back and write another paragraph, and read ahead in the outline and see where it’s going, and and and… then suddenly I’ve written a few thousand words and it has just flowed.

That’s the deal with a practice. You just show up. You don’t feel like it, but you just show up. It will come. I never crave writing, I never crave yoga: I just feel crappy if I don’t do those things. If I really did lie around and eat and drink and read all day, I’d be miserable. But if I’ve done my work, the work that makes me me, then the reward of reading or lazing is so very, very sweet.

The important thing I’ve learned about myself is to make room for the fidget, for the time-wasting; to not judge it. Well, I think I’ve learned that. I still overplan, overschedule; I still don’t get as much done as I’d like. But I can only be as productive as my monkey brain will allow. It’s a delicate balance: don’t force it, but keep on target. Move forward, gently but firmly.

Does anybody really want to write (or exercise, or anything hard-but-rewarding)? Or do you just feel incomplete if you don’t?

Originally published at Shannon Page: Author. You can comment here or there.

Post A Comment | 21 Comments | | Link






User: the_ogre
Date: 2009-07-28 17:34 (UTC)
Subject: Well, yeah...
...but my drawing is not something that I schedule for itself. I suspect that if I did so, I'd have a similar reaction to yours.
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calendula_witch: First Book
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-28 21:21 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Well, yeah...
Keyword:First Book
I'd like to talk to you more about your drawing. Like, for example, is it an end in itself, and therefore simply a joy, or is there something more you want to DO with it--like, me, I want to get my writing published and known and all that. You know?

And, how often do you feel (um) drawn to draw? If I waited to feel drawn to write, and didn't have the twitchy feeling that comes with Not Writing, I'd write...oh, every few months. I think. Actually, I have no idea any more--that's how often I wrote before I decided to Become A Writer. Probably there's no putting the genie back in the bottle now.

Not complaining, mind you. :-)
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Lisa E.
User: lunacow
Date: 2009-07-28 17:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My experience is similar to yours, though I rarely actually enjoy exercise and am glad I only have a 10-minute workout.

If you ask me at some social gathering if I like writing, I'll say, "Of course!" And if you ask me when I've just reached the end of a writing session, I'll say, "I adore it!" But if you ask me anywhere from an hour before I start writing to a half hour into it, I'll say, "No, this is pure torture, and I have no idea why I do it." I guess my answers at the other times is why I do it.

Good thoughts. Very glad that good news has cleared the cancer anxiety away so that you have room to think and write them.

Edited at 2009-07-28 05:58 pm (UTC)
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calendula_witch
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-28 21:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Mmm, maybe if your workout was longer you'd get into the happy zone with it. Like, on a hike, the first bit is miserable, and then it's pleasurable, once the body warms up to it. You know?

But yes--much relief of the anxiety here! Whew.
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calendula_witch: arms
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-28 21:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:arms
::hugs:: Don't cry!! We love you! :-)
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Innana88
User: innana88
Date: 2009-07-28 21:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Great post.

*sigh* Okay donuts, wine, couch o' laziness...I now have a really good reason to kick my butt into gear.
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calendula_witch: wine
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-29 02:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:wine
Hee. Write, write! :-)
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
calendula_witch: yoga girl
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-29 02:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:yoga girl
We all do what we do. Yoga is so fantastic that way. It works no matter how much or how little you do. I am astonished at some of the yogis and yoginis in my classes. I am so not like them.

So my writing stuff comes into my head while I'm doing yoga, it's hard not to see the connection. Sometimes it's like, Okay, I get it already, stop! :-)
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Rhonda Parrish
User: rhondaparrish
Date: 2009-07-29 18:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I just feel miserable if I don't (especially writing). You're not alone there :) I've also discovered (as you implied) that doing the stuff I love *cough*WorldofWarcraft*cough* is so much more enjoyable when I've worked out, written, did my day job stuff and all my other responsibilities beforehand. Not leastwise because I can just enjoy it, rather than thinking about all the things I -should- be doing instead.
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calendula_witch: First Book
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-30 04:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:First Book
Right--it doesn't *feel* as much fun to do the fun things if the "real" work hasn't gotten done first. Ah, the protestant work ethic. :-)

The exercise is beyond even that, for me--I'm at the point of being physically addicted to it. Which, if you're going to be addicted to something...
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2009-07-29 20:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh dear - I'm afraid you may have gotten those habits from me. . .

Mom
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calendula_witch: Patchwork
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-07-30 04:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Patchwork
Ha! Those are *good* habits! :-)
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The Green Knight: Watching You
User: green_knight
Date: 2009-08-05 08:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Watching You
Does anybody really want to write

Of course I do. I don't always feel like either, and sometimes they're hard work, but I like the act of writing more than _having written_ and I love exercising. I don't do enough of it, because not all of the forms I like are always accessible to me, but its good stuff.
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calendula_witch: First Book
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-08-05 15:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:First Book
I do like the act of writing (and exercising).... once I get past that initial resistance. :-) Which used to be enough to stop me. No more!
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2009-08-05 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
(Here via Jay's journal--nice work, I'll be linking this)

And, in answer to the formal question, yes. I usually (if not quite every day) wake up excited about opening the laptop and starting to write. I love the actual writing part of the job, and even sometimes the editing. Likewise I am often raring to go on the exercise front.
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calendula_witch: First Book
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-08-05 15:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:First Book
Thanks!!

And, good for you. I wonder how it would feel if I could dedicate the fresh, creative part of my day to my writing, rather than grabbing an hour or two after Ye Olde Day Jobbe has tapped everything out of me. Ah, fantasies. :-)
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2009-08-05 23:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think that being able to do it full time does make a significant difference. Also, I should note that it was the daily practice even when I didn't particularly want to which got me through a chunk of writing-related depression a few years ago.
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calendula_witch: Lizard
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-08-09 17:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Lizard
Yes. It's easy to run away from something that is hard or painful or sticky...and so rewarding to work through it and get to the other side.
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Darkwolf
User: darkwolf58
Date: 2009-08-07 01:02 (UTC)
Subject: Fiddle, fiddle ...
(I got here via the Wyrdsmith's blog)

So nice to hear a writer talking about not wanting to write. I'm much the same way with fiddling until I can get down to business. It takes much longer than I'd like, but eventually I DO end up with a finished story or novel. After finishing longer works, I give myself fun time and it feels sooo good.

If I don't write, I feel guilty and useless.
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calendula_witch: Absinthe
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2009-08-09 17:18 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Fiddle, fiddle ...
Keyword:Absinthe
(Hi!)

Exactly. Even here at WorldCon, when I finally found time to write yesterday, I felt So Much Better. (and I'm about to do some more right now!) Then the playing is such a good reward.
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