I fight a battle each day. I have been losing so much that I am now determined to claim victory. My opponents? Laziness, feeling like I'm not good enough, distrust in my ability, and waiting for someone to push me to act. In reality, I'm the only person that can push myself (unless you join me in this challenge). Discipline is my weapon--the only thing that helps me overcome all of the things that hold me back from consistent creative output.
In addition to warring against my lack of confidence and my inability to be disciplined, I have to fight against my own body each day. Fibromyalgia has a way of bossing your body around. It causes daily, unwelcome symptoms, including extreme fatigue and widespread pain. For the past three years, I let it take over. I let it do it's thing. You know, push me onto the couch, give me anxiety, make me feel hopeless. I gave in. However, this past year I made a conscious decision that has changed my entire perspective. I decided to push back. Yeah, you heard me, Fibro. I'm fighting back. When I was first diagnosed, doctors bombarded me with treatments that included lots and lots of medications. Desperate for relief, I followed their directions. A few months into treatment, when I almost passed out in the shower, and jumped out, unable to feel scared, unable to quite remember how to get a hold of Mgo, followed by an intense, uncontrollable anxiety attack, I decided to stop taking medications. The doctors failed to tell me that most FMS patients don't do too well with medication. Thanks, docs. You were a dozen panic attacks too late. So, I decided to treat FMS with natural remedies. Which brings me to my point (thanks for hanging in there)--I have begun exercising. I realize that this may not seem like a big deal. However, anyone who struggles with chronic pain understands that movement is not an easy thing. Flare ups make it difficult to get up to wash the dishes, or put a load of laundry in, or even use the powder room (ugh). But I've come to learn that just the right amount of movement, a consistent exercise schedule, has really helped me have more good days than bad. And that, my readers, is a small miracle--one that I am clinging to.
Now, most of us struggle with staying consistent with exercise. It's like our bodies reject the very idea. But I've realized that the more I exercise, the more my body craves it. My 15 minutes on the treadmill is quite a workout for my frail body, but every time I get on, I feel stronger. Strength? Something I forgot I could have! And, ladies and gentlemen, strength is returning, and I am determined to keep it.
During my time on the treadmill, I read magazines such as The Writer and Poets and Writers. It motivates me and prepares my mind for what I know I NEED to do when I get home. A lot of times I run to the front desk in the middle of a work out to jot something down. An idea about what my character could do next. A detail about the setting the character is in. An subject for a blog post. A title for an article I'm working on. All the while, the trainers giggle because they know I'm a writer, fumbling around to find me a pen. But am I? Am I a writer if, when I get home, I don't get to it. If I don't get down to business, sit my butt down, and actually do the writing? And let me tell you. When writing doesn't happen, I feel disjointed, awkward, a bit fuzzy, until I sit down and do it.
Today on the treadmill, my right foot began to flare up slightly, but I pushed through it. I kept walking. And guess what? I broke my usual 15 minutes, and went up to 20! My body wasn't as achy as I thought it would be. It was my third workout of the week. And then it hit me. I have been consistent and disciplined with my workouts, and thus have been able to push my body farther, more easily, and improve how I'm feeling. It's the consistency that strengthens my muscles, and improves my emotional state of mind. And then it hit me again--if I want to be a better writer, I need to push myself to be consistent. My writing skills will develop if I spend time with my characters every day. I will get to know them better. I'll get to know what they want most, and will push them to their limits accordingly.
So here is where this all comes together. Discipline and consistency are hard things to master. But they are the key to being the best you can be, at whatever you're trying to accomplish. For me, consistent exercise strengthens my body and keeps my pain down. Daily writing develops my characters and stories toward completion, and sharpens my skills as a creative writer.
My challenge to you is to make a promise to yourself to be consistent. If you're a writer, promise yourself that you'll write every day. I've challenged myself to write at least one new paragraph a day. And, already, I feel more confident in my craft. Remember, that you have to write badly before you can write well. Writing starts with a rough draft, and then improves with revision. So allow yourself to write a horrible sentence. Then another, and then another. Then look down at your page and realize that a miracle has occurred, because your story is one paragraph closer to being completed.
Fibromyalgia and fiction are two very big parts of my life. With consistency, I am taming one and setting fire to the latter.
Won't you join me?
Please leave a comment if you want to join my Write Every Day Challenge, and I'll do my best to keep you accountable!