Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stamina and Repetition

pen and ink drawing by Dot.
Swimming and writing both improve with practice and repetition.

Stamina. To keep going. To do more. To do it better.

Yesterday in the pool I noticed that the point where I have to debate whether to stop or work through it didn't happen. Not that it wouldn't have happened - but it didn't happen in the time that I had to swim. When I first returned to regular swimming, it happened at five to seven minutes. Then it moved to ten minutes - pretty rapidly, too. Then fifteen and, most recently, twenty minutes.

Like with writing. Do I keep writing the short stories? Work on more revision of the memoir? Or do I believe the little voice which says it's crap and to stop and why bother? Where's the money? Why keep doing it?

In the pool : at that point my arms ache - usually the shoulders feel tired and week, usually my breathing is slightly more labored and shallow and I may or may not have a slight back or neck ache. But I learned in the past that I reach this point before (probably) the endorphins kick in where I feel like I have to stop; like it's too much and I can't go any further.

With writing: it feels pointless and like my stories are no good. I may tell myself that I don't have the time to write and revise and send them out and find new places to submit. I haven't found the pattern in writing, yet, like I have in swimming. I don't yet know what it is that kicks in when I feel like giving up.

But maybe I'm about to find out.

Like yesterday. I just kept swimming. No slow down. No kick board laps. No shallow or difficulty breathing, no shoulder discomfort, no sense of stopping.

Yesterday I only stopped swimming because I needed enough time to shower and get to an appointment.

Yesterday I gave feedback in both of the writing workshops. I haven't started my two assignments but I have completed the quick write and the free write.

Today I know that my stamina is increasing and that I'm doing what I need to do.

And I'm not stopping for doubts, be it swimming or writing. In swimming, I know when I really need to stop - my lungs tell me. In writing, well, I'm not stopping - if this particular story goes nowhere, the next one will.

One stroke at a time: of my arms to propel me forward, of the pen to make the next letter, of the keyboard to put it into print.