What Doesn’t Challenge You, Doesn’t Change You

Right now, I’m procrastinating. Writing my novel this past week has been tough. I feel like I lost my momentum. I lost my lead as well. I had gotten ahead, but then two incredibly busy weekends changed that.

After I hit 25k, I really felt like this would be the easy part. In my head, it almost felt like I was done already. Instead, it got even harder. I’ve thought of some cool ideas, but it’s been hard to implement them. I sit down to my computer feeling tired and excited for being done but not for the process of getting there.

I was immensely frustrated. I toyed with the idea of quitting. Quitting! After being more than 50% done! I was annoyed at myself for even considering it.

Still, I remembered previous years when I had finished early, sometimes even before Thanksgiving so I could better enjoy the holidays with loved ones. I dreamed about that this year too, but I am not even close (34,500 words for anyone keeping track at home).

Sometimes I think that I get too excited about the destination and forget about the journey. Sometimes when the going gets tough, I find it hard to remember why I wanted to start in the first place. I think about being a published author or getting my reward for completing my novel. I don’t think about the act of writing itself. I don’t look forward to writing like I used to.

But it’s okay to be frustrated. It’s okay to want to give up. You can’t help the way you feel, but it is entirely up to you what you do about it.

Writing, like most things in life, isn’t easy. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. When I write a novel or do anything else, I get frustrated sometimes. I want to quit sometimes. Some days I’m inspired, but others I have to slog through.

Just because you hit a rough patch, just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean you should quit. When thinking about my struggles with writing lately, I remembered something that my boxing coach always tells us during our workouts:

“What doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you.”

During the workout, I think: Of course! If we don’t work our muscles hard, they won’t develop. We won’t get better.

This doesn’t apply only to boxing, however. It applies to writing too. Or anything else that you want to do with your life. It’s not always easy. But take comfort in the fact that if it’s difficult, it will change you- likely for the better.

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