i occasionally (i.e. often) hit a lull in my writing. to combat it, i decided to write one thousand words each day. i got the idea from the prolific Chris Guillebeau (am i the only one who thinks of him as “Chris Guillll…”?)
so far i’ve only done it a few times. i was doubtful at first, wondering does each word spill forth in the right order? will they necessarily add up to a magical, significant whole?
no, of course not every one-thousand-word stint reveals buried treasure and each requires finessing. but it’s necessary to do the gritty work of collecting raw material.
ironically, writing one thousand words is difficult if you’re a decent writer. “bad” writers are verbose. better ones aren’t. once you edit you’ve eliminated even more.
but the feeling of thoughtfully putting in my time gives me a sense of accomplishment that moves me forward. how and how often you show up accumulates, building momentum.
overall, the process is exciting, like going into battle (presumably). you have a plan but you’re unsure you’ll carry it out and how it will end.
the tenacity to stay on track leads to breakthroughs. i’ve been experiencing it for years in…wait for it…yoga!
one of my teachers is legendary for her “8-minute holds.” not a literal 8 minutes but she has no qualms about keeping us in tough postures longer than feels physically possible.
while lunging in warrior 2 until you swear your thighs will explode space opens in your hip and you suddenly sink deeper, breaking through resistance to room you didn’t realize existed. retrospectively it sounds euphoric, but i saw colors when i began taking her class.
only after sitting in discomfort does your body adjust and expand. the benefits of meeting my challenging writing quota are similar. persevering when i think i’ve typed every idea i’ve ever thought always yields another. i don’t know how, but it does.
since finding this analogy between writing and yoga, it’s clear how they reinforce one another: both are goals that sound impossible, but aren’t. instead, space and ideas are limitless, although it never seems that way at the time. maybe most importantly, both demonstrate how:
persistence leads to breakthroughs, regardless of the task.
it's a remarkable phenomenon. even better—it’s repeatable. you can achieve this regularly. set a slightly uncomfortable goal, one hitting the sweet balance between feasibility and challenge. you want your feet dangling over the edge of what’s realistic, so you think, “really? i can pull this off?”
go forth, conquer. what are you waiting for?
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