Back in the Water

I have been a slack blogger, of late.  My writing mojo shrivelled into nothingness the minute NaNoWriMo began. I figured all the writing energy was being sucked up by everyone else and there was simply none left for me to use. Strangely, as the month of November draws to a close, I am itching to get back into it again and am wading my way through hand written notes that I have made over the past month.

I struggle some weeks with a way to make the process easier. I love writing straight to the page but hate transcribing pages and pages of notes. The end of my day sees me tired and feeble minded. Rewriting pages of hand-written notes ranks equal to sticking pins in my eyes. It’s nothing short of painful.

I started swimming this week. After three long seasons out of the water, I plucked up the courage to unleash my tog clad self on the general public. (Sincere apologies to the general public…) It was hard (for me and them but for entirely different reasons).

Those first few kilometres, I felt I was drowning. I had no direction and barely enough strength to get from one edge to the other.  I began slowly. A big bag of swimming toys to help me along and with each passing day, it has become easier and my stroke has become stronger and smoother, more effective and far more enjoyable.

At some point in the swimming journey, during a sun-drenched blissful glide through the water, I realised that writing is no different to swimming. The longer you leave it, the harder it is to get back in your togs and get going again. But when you do, nothing else feels as good. I realised I always have a big bag of writing toys to help me on my way. They are called ‘words’. As I mentioned to a friend the other day – when I swim and when I write, I feel like an OMO ad – lighter and brighter and all sunshiny inside. So I cling to the knowledge that with one stroke at a time, and one word at a time, I  will get to the other side if I just keep going and paddle like crazy.

Here’s to a safe and bountiful passage!


12 thoughts on “Back in the Water

  1. Hope your journey back to the page goes as smoothly as your swimming now is! I’m really struggling with writing at the moment, so can really relate to this post. I know it’s just about finding my rhythm. I’ll get there, I just need to vacate my mind of some other things…

    • Thanks, Kath – though the transition seems to be harder than I imagined. A shift in the plot has seen my word count shrink further. Oh, well. I think you have nailed it when you speak of ‘rhythm’. I need to synch again with the rhythm of the story and get back into the flow. And like you,I have too much other stuff occupying valuable real estate in my mind. Day at a time…

  2. Hi Lynn – I can completely relate to the swimming analogy! It’s like the phrase about exercising: motivation is what gets you going, routine is what keeps you going.

    I find if I get out of my routine of 500 words per morning, then it all gets too hard and there are too many excuses not to write – exactly the same as exercise!

    Keep practicing that stroke!


    • Hey Dr D,

      I need to get my routine back as well. You are so right. Routine and rhythm – this week’s major goals. So I just need to remember to breathe!

  3. You’ll be my inspiration this week (e gads, only 3 days left of it!) Lynn – especially getting back into the water and swimming.

    The hardest part is pulling on those togs after a year with all the sticky-out bits and the unusued muscles – the ones you know will cause you grief for a day or so.
    Yeah, it’s just like writing! 🙂

    • Hi Sheryl,

      Yep – getting back into the togs was kinda scary – especially after three years! And just like writing, once I am in and moving forward, it’s all good. Hope you managed to jump back in.

  4. Good analogy, Lynn. I’m the same but with running – that first k is a killer, but once I find the rhythm it comes much easier. Funny thing is, if I’m out of routine with one, I’m usually out of routine with the other as well.

    • Hi Trudie,

      I think rhythm is the key to all these activities we like to procrastinate over. Immersing myself in the activity usually results in being swept up and carried away. It’s just tough getting through that first little bit of resistance. I agree with you – if I am feeling average and out of synch with writing, it ripples through the rest of life, and vice versa.

    • Funny you should say so, Chris. As I was penning away today, I was wondering whether I jump into a story too soon – whether it isn’t better to sit and let it stew awhile until I know which way it is meant to meander. It made me appreciate those who sometimes take years to develop and then write a story. A great piece of advice – thanks.

  5. Hello Lyn,

    I thought it was time to jump in and pay you a visit – and guess what? Your blog is all about jumping in!

    I have fallen by the wayside these past 4-6 weeks as well. I have also had to rethink my story and then rethink my approach to my story and that is a very hard thing to do. It stops you dead in your tracks [getting right away from analogies of swimming pools etc].

    I do find that a bit of incubation does help. You can’t help but think about your story anyway. I find that if I can get those thoughts down, even in note form, then it will all come together when the time is right.

    The story I won the One Book Many Brisbane’s prize with had been in my head for 2 years and in various notes, trials, experimentations etc as well – never a complete story and never as many words as it ended up being. When the time came I wrote it in two days and edited it in two weeks.

    Notebooks and pens/pencils rule, OK.

    Jen B.

    • Hi Jen,

      I can totally understand where you are coming from. I think part of this rethinking process has come about because of YON. The exercises make me consider things from different angles and so unearth possibilities I never considered before. And there is something about a pen on paper that makes me feel good. I loved your One Book experience. Wham – there is was right on cue. I’m getting back into writing shape again. Back into daily training for the long haul. And it is a long haul – so I need to be focused and fit, else I drown on the way!

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