My New Best Friend

I have never seen much value in this mantra: I don’t like to write, but I like having written. If you don’t like to write, you should probably find something do you like to do. While it’s true that I too like having written, and I too have slogged through some profitless sessions, have trashed tens of thousands of words, have spent days feeling utterly disconnected from everything I have ever written, in the end I like to write. Eventually I get connected, and something begins to flow, and I find myself lost in the dream of whatever I’m writing, and I can’t imagine giving up that experience anytime between now and the day I die. A couple years ago, however, I had begun to view exercise as something I simply liked having done. I had stopped running because my knees had become cranky, and the little regimen of pushups and chin-ups and sit-ups I was doing was boring. I began to skip it more and more. I put on weight. Then I came across something called T25, a series of DVDs featuring the happily fit Sean T., who became my new best friend. Sean T. told me I must focus, and I did. Sean T. ran me through a rapid series of exercises for exactly 25 minutes and shouted encouraging aphorisms. Sometimes I shouted back.

I loved it. I loved it for much the same reason I love writing – because I must focus on the moment. In fact, Sean T. gave me this very advice. “Focus on the moment!” he called from T25 Land, and I did. If I did not remain focused on the moment I would lose track of where Sean T. was telling me to go, and he and I would be in very different places, and he was my new best friend and I wanted to lunge, squat, sprint, and burpee right along with him.

And when I was done focusing on the moment for 25 minutes I was tired and I sweaty, but I had that lovely cleaned-out feeling that comes from intense exercise—and, now that I think of it, intense writing, too. It’s as if I’ve cleaned out the past with the present. There I am, having exercised or written, feeling finished and empty and ready for something new to focus on.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion.

"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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