Monday, April 27, 2009

DAY 11: Building the Write Muscles

I began this series with the premise that finishing a novel is much like training for a marathon--not just in the duration, but in what it demands of the participant: daily discipline, faith, the adoption of habits and lifestyle that support the work. As Flaubert said: "Be regular and ordinary in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Both running and writing also demand a willingness to push through fatigue and resistance until the marathoner suddenly discovers she can go further than she could before. And not only that; she can go there more gracefully, with greater focus and power.

So today we commit to increasing our distance. If you're easily writing an hour (or three) a day using your timer, add an extra half hour, or even fifteen minutes. If you're measuring your productivity in words or pages, demand a little more of yourself. Redefine your limit. It's the only way to build muscle.

Meanwhile, I have decided to trade the weekly Chapter of Faults for the daily Chapter of Virtues. Inspire me! What did you do right today? What are you planning for tomorrow?


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  2. What a great perspective Patry. I like the parallel you make between a marathon and writing, particularly since I've been applying many of the things you've been saying here to my process of picking up the pace of exercise (i really slacked off since completing my half marathon in january and can feel it; and not in a good way ...).

    What did I do right today? Besides my usual morning writing, I listened to a hypnosis/trance session (always helps in the eating better/exercise process and sometimes i willfully ignore it), ate a yummy roasted cauliflower meal for dinner. Tomorrow: another hypnosis session ... and some time at the gym. (kinda like mile one!) :)

  3. I need to exercise my write muscle more in the right ways, not the frivolous ways.

  4. deb: I love that you're applying this to your workout program. It's meant to be adapted to any discipline. Your day definitely inspired me. Now I want the roasted cauliflower reward.

    Kathryn: AMEN to that!

  5. I cleaned out a storage closet today and plan to hit the writing ground running at top speed tomorrow. Looking forward to it!