On exercise habits, writing, facing fears and entering contests

Someone somewhere once wrote that if you do a push-up after every bathroom break you take, it becomes habit and you won’t even think about it anymore.

Pee, drop down to the floor, do the push-up, get up, wash hands, leave.


After a while, perhaps you’ll do two, or more, push-ups at every bathroom break, and before you know it, you’ll have bulky strong arms and a re-energized motive to keep doing push-ups every time you have the urge to go to the washroom.

I don’t do this. I mean, I take endless breaks, but I never do any push-ups. I make coffee or tea, I grab a snack, I push buttons on the laundry machine, but I don’t drop down to the floor to do any form of physical exercise, at all.

Maybe I should.

My 8 year old daughter can do at least five push-ups. That’s about four more than her older brother, much to his ire. To call those two competitive is an understatement, but secretly, I’m proud of the fact that she’s got all this upper body strength. She probably gained this talent in her gymnastics class where she climbs ropes all the way up to the ceiling. Once she’s up there, she hangs about one-armed while waving with the other. Amazing strength on that girl.

I hope she never loses that physical ability to keep moving.

* * *

Yesterday I spent more time reading than writing words.

Despite the fact that the internet is littered with articles on how to write, when to write, what to write, how to deal with writer’s block and all the rest of it, I could not write the words.

Then I came across this page:

How writing 1000 words a day changed my life

He says: write a thousand words every day.

All I have to do is park my ass in front of the laptop and write. Every day.

He says that even if you write garbage, write it anyway. Write for the trash can (or, more aptly, the recycling bin).

The most important tidbit I got out of this article though was that writing garbage was still better than not writing at all. Ultimately you’ll find that inside the torrent of trash-worthy articles you just wrote there may be an idea that wants to emerge, that begs to be explored.

It all begins with the words you write.

So you write your words, and just before you hit delete, you leave them on the screen. Go away, go to sleep, do something else. Tomorrow, the words may still be garbage, but deep down inside a convoluted paragraph, you might see something you didn’t see yesterday. Something that catches your eye. A word, a seed of an idea, something that could illuminate a new creativity inside your brain. A new train of thought.

That something suddenly becomes too precious to throw out.

Like the endless pieces of Kinder Egg toys the kids collect. I find them in every nook and cranny, in plain sight or hidden behind stuff, on top of the shelf, in the sock drawer or the laundry basket. Inevitably, I scoop them all up and throw them out. Somehow, they always find their way back into the house…

Perhaps it’s time to try this out, this writing every day a thousand words. Even if it’s only garbage.

* * *

I entered a writing contest.

Actually, that’s a lie. What I did was I wrote a piece I want to enter into a contest, and I still have nine days to hum and haw over it. I tweeted about it, once, and Erica Ehm @YummyMummyClub responded to say that I should be brave and submit it.



So I went back and re-wrote the piece. And edited it. And delete the crap and re-wrote it better. And then I slept on it, and ignored it, and hummed and hawed over it. And it’s still here, in my file, waiting to be re-read and ultimately submitted.

Perhaps another way of looking at it is to do this:

Write in order to be rejected.

This is what Vikki Reich said in her post “Embracing the Fear of Failure“. To me, this is the best tip I’ve heard in… forever. Who writes for rejection? We do. Or we should.

I do. And I will.

My piece I wrote, I’m proud of it. If it’s accepted, that’s great. If not, then I can add it to my collection of rejections. At least with the rejections, there’s proof that I’ve written the words.

It all begins with the writing of the actual words.


2 Replies to “On exercise habits, writing, facing fears and entering contests”

  1. This is sort of my Year of Contests, when I’m using contests and their deadlines as motivation to get me to write stuff. It was working great until a story of mine placed second in one of them. Now I find I’m paralyzed – I feel like I’ll never write anything else good again, and when I compare to my own story I always come up short. My sister is a big psych buff and she says it’s been proven that winning things or being rewarded for things is actually *demotivating* for this very reason – it instills a stronger fear of failure. Not sure where I am going with this comment – does this mean we should enter and hope to lose? Or not enter at all? Or not be afraid of entering? Anyway, there’s a point in there somewhere :). Wrapping up: awesome to hear you are prepping something, and you should DEFINITELY enter it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well if it makes any difference, you are an inspiration to me! 🙂 I’m playing and dabbling with all kinds of things, including a facebook page that I’m inviting people to like, so I get that feeling of paralyzed…and the what ifs…we’ll just both have to keep going. And keep writing. 🙂

      If I was in Ottawa I’d be at your Blog Out Loud event every year!

      Thank you for commenting!



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