Tag Archives: Practice Makes Perfect

Advice for Struggling Writers

I decided to do a little Sunday (non-religious) motivational today.  I read another blog where an aspiring author was (or sounded) severely depressed about the inability to get going as a writer.  I left some heartfelt encouragement there.  I’d been struggling with the same issues myself for the longest time after all. 

I think there are other writers out there that could use similar words of encouragement.  With that in mind, I want to pass on what’s helped me make my breakthroughs.

First, one of the biggest causes of writer’s block is simply self-doubt.  That, in turn, frequently comes from being too externally focused.  That means you’re basing your sense of self-worth on the input of others.  The problem with that is people are almost always negative if you have a dream different from where they’re at or aiming for in life.  Why? 

Because they’re secretly jealous that you have the courage to try something different and chase a dream.  If you succeed, it’ll make them feel all the worse about themselves that they never even had the courage to try. 

The million different rationalizations you’ll hear will all be cached in terms of protecting you, not wanting to see you fail, wanting you to be realistic, etc…  The truth is though that they’re scared of what they THINK your potential success means for or reflects upon them.  They’re probably not evil, just worn down by life and rationalizing on a level so deep that they don’t even realize why they’re truly attacking you.

In terms of dealing with the negative feedback, the best option in my opinion, is to turn it around in a friendly positive way.  Ask them about their dreams and then encourage them to chase those, “even if it’s just a hobby or side gig”.  That last part will make it sound less threatening for them to do so.

The main thing though, especially with breaking through the writer’s block and struggling, is you have to let go of the self-doubt and have faith in yourself.  You’ll struggle, you’ll fall, but THAT’S OK.  It’s part of the learning process.  Accept that, gently analyze where you came up short, and work to do better next time. 

Beyond that, you have to do it for YOUNOT to prove others wrong, (although that does work for some people), not to get an inflated ego that will block your learning and growth either.  Write show yourself that you’re capable, to grow better, and because it brings you joy.  When you can give yourself permission to do that, it won’t matter how many books you write, or how many you sell.  You’ll be a success because you’ll be growing as a person.  Work at it though, and the financial success will likely follow the emotional and spiritual success. 😉

ALMOST everybody has the talent to be a good writer.  Want to know a secret?  Almost everybody has the talent to be a great ANYTHING.  You just have to be willing to work at it.  Michael Jordan and Lebron James were NOT born great basketball players.  They got to be legends among professionals because they worked at it 8 or more hours a day, every day.  I guarantee you they were rough at first also.  They were determined to work at something they loved though and gave themselves permission to fail as long as they learned from it. 

Likewise, realize that you CAN do it (whether it’s writing or anything else).  It WILL be slow at first, and you WILL have to be dedicated to continually improving yourself.  Time, effort and patience, especially with yourself, is all it takes.

As far as some writers turning out tons of books a year…  I guarantee you very few people doing that are turning out QUALITY work.  At least not their best quality. Even a good portion of James Patterson’s books are ghost written.  Maxine Paetro writes all his “Women’s Murder Club” books, for example.  On the flip side, Michelangelo took 4 years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but everybody remembers it.  Ergo, it’s OK to work slowly, just keep going.

What A Workout!

Yes, I still like my vague titles, lol. Keeps people curious.

OK, so I had hoped to be back here (and at my other blog) writing again sooner, but things have been busy. There’s alot of little chores with a house this old and a fairly sizable yard. We’re also still sorting and tossing things in an effort to trim back and simplify.

On top of that, I’ve been working HARD at one of my New Year’s resolutions… You know, that one that EVERYBODY makes:

I’m Going to Get In Shape!!!

THIS has been my torture device of choice:

It’s a water based rowing machine. LONG story short, we decided months back that when we moved we were going to get one more exercise machine to go with our stationary bike. I thought long and hard about it, and pushed for a rowing machine because it works so many muscle groups at once.

Picture from Amazon’s store page

It also works your back and shoulders. I even feel it in my forearms. Rowing around on a lake (in an inflatable boat) was how I first got in shape in my younger days, and it’s a habit I still enjoy, so this was a natural choice to me.

I still have yet to get a certain lazy spouse on it however. >_<

For those of you who have been slacking on your fitness… Let me tell yah; you don’t realize how badly you can go downhill before you truly feel it. I knew I was out of shape thanks to my back and neck keeping me sedentary for 8 or so years. I walked, I did things around the house, so I assumed I wasn’t THAT bad off.

The first time I got on the rower, I could only do fifty reps. 😶 NOT good, since the rower pretty much provides the same moderate level of resistance as real rowing.

I’ve busted my butt however, and am determined to NEVER go back to that condition I was in before decompression therapy. In roughly three weeks, I’ve gone from 50 reps to 1000 yesterday. Some of my improvement was probably just the exercise working fatigue poisons and other toxins out of my system. I know I’m feeling mentally and physically better, even if pushing hard leaves me wiped out afterwards. 😀

I’ve also lost 10 pounds and am determined to keep that up also.

The Best Diet Advice I Ever Got:

Was something so simple that most people wouldn’t believe it works; just SLOW DOWN and enjoy your food. Take your time, thoroughly chew it, actually make conversation with people while you eat, etc… The ideas being that first, it takes 15 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s had enough, no matter how much food you scarf down. So yes, closely related to that, it’s also better for your digestive system.

The hidden benefit to it though is that you AND your body will quickly figure out what’s truly good food. I was skeptical on this one and actually tested the idea on a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin one day. I used to love the things. Slowing down and chewing it though… truly giving myself time to sample the flavors… The sausage is REALLY disgusting, and the muffin and cheese aren’t much better.

Some of you may have had similar experiences with other foods. Little Ceasar’s pizza for example; it actually tastes good if it’s hot and you don’t truly take your time. Let it cool off even a little though… Yuck! Even if you eat it quickly.

If you want to read more about the whole concept, there’s a book called “The Slow Down Diet” that goes into more details, but I’ve given you most of the highlights here.

Just make that one simple change in your eating routine and see how much changes in your life.

The Ongoing Neck and Back War:

Speaking of the neck and back… Moving REALLY took a toll on both of them, given how rushed everything was. My worthless ProNex therapy tool broke on me also:

The damned thing tore in half at the narrow center section of the top piece, just from normal use. Talk about cheap! I mean I knew it was foam rubber, but still…

Pronex doesn’t stand by their products either, even if brand new. Needless to say, I’m changing my review to zero stars, wouldn’t recommend. After some meticulous research, I came across an alternative:

Only $50 more than the Pronex, but it’s solid construction, not low grade foam rubber.

It worked so well that we bought the lower back unit made by ComfortTrac also:

With my bad back and the auto accident my other half suffered in the Subaru, this unit has been a godsend for both of us. Chiropractic treatment never did anything long term for my back, but this is helping tremendously.

Neither unit is QUITE as good as full blown professional decompression treatment, BUT with common sense and regular use, they come VERY VERY close, for a good deal less. My previous decompression treatments ran almost $4000, and the moving undid a large portion of that. These two units had a combined cost of roughly $1000 on Amazon. That’s still ALOT of money, but we’re both benefiting from them, and it’s cheaper than professional treatment, and FAR FAR cheaper than surgery.

If there’s enough interest, I’ll do a more in-depth review on both. For now, suffice it to say they’re a large part of why I’ve been able to push myself so hard, and will help guarantee I never go back to that broken down state EVER again.

Oh yes… Remember that recurve bow I bought also?

Well, I finally got it out and started shooting also. The weather has provided limited opportunities there, but I finally got out the other day and shot a few flights. This was at about 30 feet of distance BTW. Not too impressive. My first volley was a bit of a mess also, LOL:

I hit the target with all 3 arrows though! I consider that fairly good since it was the first time I’d shot a bow since 1987 or 88. There was no nock point (a little piece of brass wrapped around the string) on the bow string, no sights, and the tab (finger guard) I was using on my drawing hand was incredibly sloppy.

Picture from Amazon’s store page of the exact one I purchased. Somebody sure chews their nails, LOL

I have to replace it with a shooting glove for sure.

BUT, I shot bare bow for the first time in 33 years and out of 50 arrows at between 30 and 35 feet, I only missed the target 3 times. By the last flight of arrows, my accuracy had improved too:

I even put one nearly dead center!

Funny… I was worried that a 40 pound draw weight on the bow might be a hair too much. It’s actually proving to be just about right for me, and is giving my arms a little extra workout also.

I’ve forgotten some of the technique I was taught back in college, but it’s amazing how I could pick up on what I was physically doing wrong with my shots; primarily being too tense, and sometimes not just simply releasing the bow string.

For those who have never shot a bow, the ideal release technique is to just simply let the fingers holding the bow string go limp. It prevents an accidental jerk of the string sideways, which will make your shot go wide. That can happen if you try to force your hand to release the string, or outright jerk your hand away.

ANYWAY… I need some practice for sure, but it wasn’t bad for a first outing. 🙂

I’ve also taken a few preliminary steps towards brushing up on my Kenpo and Wing Chun. That’s a story for another time however. 🙂

Five MAVO Points to anyone who can tell me what that last picture is though… WITHOUT an internet search. 😛