Duration, Frequency, Intensity
This might be another one about running
When I’m thinking about running, it invariably brings up thoughts about writing. Sorry, non-runners out there, or those sick of people evangelizing about how running will change your life. (Maybe it will, but it’s not mandatory. Don’t run if you can’t or hate it obvs.) ANYWAY, I’ve been running again, in preparation for the Brooklyn Pride 5k and I’ve also been thinking about what I’m going to write next. The getting started, with either thing, is the worst, so yeah, I’m stalling a bit on both things.
I was talking to someone recently and they said if you want something to be different in your life, you have to change either duration, intensity, or frequency. (This was not their original idea. It’s been around.) If I want to reach whatever running goal I have (which at the moment is to run longer distances and not hate it, paying no mind to speed), then each week I need to up at least one of those things—run longer, run harder, or run more often. I’m sure there are some serious athletes out there reading this thinking like duh and would happily point me to 100 different plans designed to do these things and reach X goal. But I’m good with this, thanks.
Right now, (and don’t @ me about whatever plan I said I was going to do all the other times I wrote about running), what’s working for me is looking at my week and what I have going on and fitting in a few runs that do one or two of those things. Maybe I have the time and energy for a shorter, faster run on Tuesday, and a long run on Saturday. Maybe the next week I can get in three runs. And the next week a realllly long run and that’s it. I’m tracking this down in a spreadsheet, because I love a spreadsheet, and each week I look at the last and see if I’m doing what I said I would do—increasing one of those things week by week. I’m not some elite runner, so it’s no big deal if I don’t do it perfectly. But this way, I’ll probably get where I want to go. Maybe I’ll sign up for a 10k sometime this summer to have another goal to shoot for. Or not.
You can do this for writing. I could do this for writing. Look at your week. Do you have time for two 30 minute writing sessions on Thursday and Friday, and a long one Sunday afternoon? Can you write for 10 minutes every morning for the next two weeks, before you go out of town and have no time to write? Are you able to clear a Saturday and close the door and write all day, but your weekdays are a mess? Duration, intensity, frequency. Which one can you focus on now, and which one can you focus on next week?
This kind of flexibility doesn’t work for everyone, of course. But also, the rigidity of you must write everyday doesn’t work for everyone either. This might work for you. It might be the thing you can focus on that leads to the work getting done, because these books won’t write themselves. If you want the book to be written, then you have to write it. And if this tricks your brain into writing, for five minutes or five hours, then the book will get written. The miles will get run. (Don’t @ me about the grammar of that sentence lol.) The pages and miles will add up and you will get to where you’re going and then you can do the next thing. A longer race. The revision stage. Querying. A faster mile. Whatever it is you want.
I am also going to do Jami Attenberg’s 1000 Words of Summer, where I will (hopefully) write 1000 words a day for two weeks. It starts on June 4th, so if you’re interested go sign up now. This is a change in frequency, because I don’t write every day (ha), but just for two weeks because I don’t think I could write everyday, well, everyday. After that two weeks, I’ll do something else with all the momentum I will have, hopefully, gained. It’s something, right? You gotta do something.