I’m participating Blogging U.’s Writing 101 course this month, and the first assignment is to “free your mind” by writing stream-of-consciousness for 20 minutes–and then publish it. This is pretty much my worst nightmare, because as a writer, I have a terrible time banishing my inner editor. I want everything I write to be perfect the first time, and I’m totally guilty of constantly editing as I go. Ugh. Yet, I know that it’s good for me as a writer, the same way prune juice and working out on a regular basis are good for me physically. I hate those things, too–see them as horrible chores to be reasoned away at all costs. Lately, though, I have been better about the exercising, at least. I’ve started committing to working out at least 3-4 days a week. And you know what? I feel so much better on days that I work out. The days I don’t, I find that I miss it. What is happening to me? Who is this girl who likes working out? What has she done with the real me?
I guess that my newly discovered love of working out could be seen as a metaphor for this intense dislike I have of “free write” assignments like this. It’s true, I dislike them for an entirely different reason. Although, now as I think about it, maybe not such an entirely different reason. I don’t like working out because I’m not good at it. I’ve never been athletic. Not in the least. And I don’t like sweating, or breathing hard, or generally being uncomfortable. And THAT makes it really hard for me to get in shape to a point where I’m NOT dripping sweat or breathing hard, because I put off working out because it’s unpleasant.
So yeah, not so different after all, from my dislike of these free-write, stream-of-consciousness assignments. Similarity 1–they’re both good for me, and a way of training and getting–and staying–in shape. One’s mental, one’s physical, but it’s really the same. Similarity 2–even though I know I SHOULD do it on a regular basis, I DON’T, because I don’t like it. Too much work. Too uncomfortable. Too anxiety-inducing. Similarity 3–It feels like a chore. Yes, it’s true what I said earlier. I’ve started to enjoy working out more. This is my first free-write in a very long time, so I’m not enjoying it much at the moment, and I’m what–just about 10 minutes in. Half-way there! My elliptical machine beeps at me when I’m halfway there. I’m not going to lie, it’s a big motivator.
One of the things I’ve done to get myself to enjoy working out more is watching the TV show Friends on Netflix when I work out. For right now, at least, one episode is good enough for a 25-minute work-out, and I do find that it helps me enjoy my workout time a little more. Karen and I have also been watching Friends during the evenings–those times when we just need to decompress from the day and watch something mindless. One thing we’ve noticed is that there’s this really interesting phenomenon around this particular TV show. On one hand, it’s a great time capsule of the mid-1990’s. There are a lot of jokes on the show that are just not funny anymore because times have changed. The fashions are SO mid-1990’s. We are on Season 2 right now, and Jennifer Aniston is still sporting the hairstyle she made famous (that didn’t work on my untamable wavy, poofy hair at all when I was 13, by the way) and prancing around in a pair of overalls that I definitely owned in middle school but would not be caught dead in now.
And yet, in other ways, the show is pretty timeless. The major plot arcs are still universal when I think about my own life a 20-something, which began just as the show was coming to an end. (I graduated from college the year the show went off the air, if I’ve done my math correctly.) It’s funny to see what dates the show and what is still pretty relevant.
Okay! A quick check of my timer tells me I’m just about done! Woo! As with working out, I feel a bit of pride in myself. I did it! Now, if only I could develop the self-discipline to keep it up regularly.
Well, now, isn’t that what this “Building Your Blogging Habit” course is for?