I haven’t been to the gym in three weeks. And I think about it a lot.
The combination of preparing to go on a family vacation, being on vacation, and then coming back to reality after a vacation has left me choosing to cut out this important part of my routine. I won’t try to tell you I’m a star runner or weight lifter. Instead, I go to the gym looking for a way to clear my head, get an endorphin rush, and maintain some semblance of physical fitness. And when I don’t get to clear my head, get some fresh endorphins, and generally zone out while flailing my body about a public space, I get stressed. I stress about how stressed I am. I stress about how little I’m doing to relieve the stress.
Why am I using this blog as therapy for my gym habits? Well, because that stress is similar to the way I feel about writing.
If I was cutting out gym time during these past three weeks, do you think I made much time for writing? Both are important, and both are difficult practices to maintain within a schedule that includes a day job, a night job, volunteering, scrubbing the toilet occasionally, and communicating with my friends and family more than occasionally.
As I enter the last few weeks of my grant period, I’m doing a lot of not-writing. I have refined the same passage of text no fewer than three times with the help of my mentor. I’ve planned and collected video footage to use for my gallery installation, which will resemble a book trailer and provide an excerpt from my story. And beyond that gallery-ready multimedia piece, I’m also coming to realize that it’s time to wrap up the bits, bobs, and passages I’ve already written during my grant period. As I said to Gianna last week, “I’ve realized I have to stop writing further into the story, and shore up what I have.”
They say you become a stronger artist the more you practice. If you make yourself available for inspiration to strike by taking time to practice, you’ll be ready to honor it. It’s sort of like going to the gym. Some days, you jog slowly and recognize that you made the effort. Other days, you feel like you’re on top of the world after a great workout.
As I strive to make writing a more frequent routine—especially in light of this project and the opportunity my grant has provided—I know that suiting up and being ready to play is half the battle.