Tag Archives: motivation

Monday’s Metaphor: Train for Your Goals

9 Jan

Eva finished her first full marathon at Disney yesterday!

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with metaphors. So how could I not be inspired by my dear Chick’s 26-mile, 5+ hour accomplishment? It’s the perfect start to what I plan to make a regular Monday post, a brief observation of a living metaphor around me that week.

So fellow writers, dancers, quilters, mothers and other humans, take note! We can learn a lot from those who call themselves runners.

The thing is, Eva only claimed this new title a couple of years ago. She was a true beginner. With no credentials. No experience. No promise of success. But she did have a goal: to complete her first triathlon.

In this regard, I think runners and athletes have a distinct advantage over writers. They have clear deadlines. If they sign up for a race, they have to train for it, consistently and in ever-larger increments throughout the time leading up to an impending fixed event.

Chick Peggy recently lured me into a literary equivalent. She and I both accepted the 12 x 12 in 2012 writing challenge, committing along with 250 other aspiring and experienced authors alike to draft one new young children’s picture book each month this year.

Like the other runners encouraging each other along Eva’s marathon route weaving through the various Walt Disney World theme parks yesterday, I’m looking forward to the support and positive peer pressure of other children’s authors. There is strength in the support of those who share your goals. That is, after all, the purpose for this blog. And while we all want to do our best, at the end of the race, we’re really only competing against ourselves.

Once again, Eva crossed another finish line she set for herself. Here’s hoping we writers can live out the metaphor this year with our own goals, not sprinting, but training, encouraging, supporting, pacing and enduring through the process of preparing for and completing our own marathon.

Walking in This Manuscript

24 Mar

Photo courtesy of Tony Karp.*

The only thing more terrifying than attempting to write a novel is to publicly admit so.  It’s a whole new level of commitment: a cross between the kind administered by holy men of the cloth and the kind administered by strong men in white coats.  And yes, you are at once married and clinically insane.

Julia Cameron well describes the daunting challenge faced by artists who embark upon large-scale ventures.   She does so metaphorically, likening the creative journey to a tangible, physical and geographical one.

Doing any large creative work is like driving coast to coast, New York to Los Angeles.  First you must get into the car.  You must begin the trip, or you will never get there.  Even a night in New Jersey is a night across the Hudson and on your way…Rather than focus on large jumps–which may strike us as terrifying and unjumpable–we do better to focus on the first small step, and then the next small step after that.

~ Julia Cameron, Walking in this World

Inspired and abetted by my runner friend, Chick Eva, I’ve charted my own course.  It starts where I am: here in Orlando.  It ends where my story ends: Richmond, Virginia.  Specifically, I picked the Robert E. Lee statue as my ending point, just to have a mental image.

I’ll be tracking my progress on dailymile.  When I setup my account, it asked what kind of exercise I would be tracking.  I was initially dismayed to find no category for custom or even other.  Then I saw the last option: WALKING.  I smiled and nodded appreciatively at my Mac screen.

For you left-brainers, here’s the math:  Each mile represents a page in this journey.  Hence the 780 miles of my walk correspond to the estimated 780 pages I have left to write.  While I’ve already written about 130 or so pages, (A) I have a lot of ground to cover in my story and (B) this number takes into account the many pages I shall write that will inevitably not make it into the final manuscript.

I even came up with a not-so-complex equation for calculating portions of a mile from actual words written, using a conversion factor of an average 225 words/page.  So if I write only 10 words (don’t laugh; sometimes this is significant progress for me), then I’ve “walked” 0.04 miles.  It’s not a lot, but it’s something.  It’s that much closer to Richmond.

Will this work?  Will it inspire me to make daily progress in my book, step by step?  Or will my well-intended motivator prove to be another unconsciously self-sabotaging expectation?  Only time will tell.  I did walk in my manuscript last night.  Not very far, mind you, but enough to get to me Orange Avenue.  Someone tell General Lee I’m on my way–one small marching step at a time.

* On a side note to this post, in searching for the perfect transcendent photo of a person on a walking road, I was instantly drawn to the one shown at top.  When I clicked over to see to whom I could ask for permission to use, it took me to a site and page called ArtMuse2.0 – Musings of a Muse.  As it turns out, the photographer artist who took the picture calls his wife, Marilyn (the one walking in the photo), his Muse.  This is what Julia Cameron calls synchronicity, the unseen hand of GOD–Good Orderly Direction and/or whatever else God means to you–guiding us to seeming coincidences.  You can see other examples of Tony Karp’s fine work at The Techno-Impressionist Museum.

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