Noticing as the minutes feel less lousy

photo-188On Sunday morning I didn’t think I was in for a good run.  I was tired. My legs felt heavy. But I hadn’t run on Friday or Saturday and the air was relatively cool after a Saturday night rain. I thought it was worth a shot. I started slowly. I kept going. At a little under 3 miles, I felt good enough that I added an extension that brought me to 4 miles. At 4 miles, I was feeling so in-the-groove that I decided to add another extension and make it a wee bit over 5.

I’m not quite sure what happened in the course of those first 3 miles. There was no one moment when I went from “this feels lousy” to “this feels awesome.” But that transition happened nonetheless. The mistake would have been to quit during the lousy part before I ascertained that every minute was feeling just a wee bit less lousy than the previous one.

I have been thinking about this as I ponder coming up with a new non-fiction book idea, and putting my existing novel through one more round of edits, and as I debate taking another stab at writing a new novel (maybe during NaNoWriMo?). I’m already writing a lot. A lot! The idea of thinking up new things seems about as appealing as running 5 miles when my legs feel heavy.

But I know if I do start on new projects, the odds are good that a few weeks in, I won’t feel lousy. I’ll love what I’m doing. I’ll want to spend time on these projects. The key is to notice the minutes feeling less lousy, and hang on through that.

When do you tell yourself to hang on through the lousy parts?

9 thoughts on “Noticing as the minutes feel less lousy

  1. This has nothing to do with writing, but as I read your post, I thought about how breastfeeding is, honestly, sort of lousy at first. I remember toe-curling discomfort at the beginning with all four of mine, but eventually, some weeks down the road, all was well.

    Thankfully, before I had my first baby, a friend told me to expect that things would hurt for the first several weeks, and that helped me keep going during the worst of it.

    So, expectations make a big difference for me, I think, and also knowing that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s a way off.

    1. This is a great analogy. For me it was the first 5 weeks and I thought about quitting daily but set tiny goals like 1 day, 2 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, etc.

      Having a friend who was just 7 weeks ahead of me also helped because she could confirm that it eventually it did get better 😉

  2. I just got back from my run. As I mentioned over on my blog yesterday, having constraints about when I can run has actually do it. I also make up rules for myself. For running they are: I have to run a little further before stopping and walking for a bit each time. And after that first break, anytime I want to stop and walk, I have to go just a tiny bit farther than I want to.

  3. Waking up today after our 9th anniversary mid-weed dinner out, I am prepared for the first mile today to feel awful! Also, running in the South in the summer has been a hit to the ego. It was my favorite season for the eleven years we were in New England. I’ve cut by mileage and don’t worry about pace, which in some ways has been liberating and reassured me that I love to run and exercise in and of itself.

  4. About NaNoWriMo, I have some bad – and good- memories. The good thing was that I learnt what it takes to write a novel and how hard it was. The bad thing was that 1/100 of the way through my novel, I realised my idea and writing style sucked and kind of gave up. I know that the point of NaNoWriMo is just about the process of writing, so maybe I will try again in future. I hope that I get to write at least one good, worthy-of-publishing book in my lifetime, because right now writing seems to be a great difficulty for me!

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