Classic cause and effect: in order to actually be a writer, you have to write. In order to write, you have to plant yourself down on your bottom. And sitting on your bottom all day can be a fast track to piling on pounds. Case in point: me and my bottom.
If my body was as active as my mind, I’d be a freakin’ woman’s fitness champion with a six-pack and glutes to make a grown man cry. Trouble is, the more consumed I am with getting words down, the more time I spend parked in a chair.
It’s quite unjust actually, that when I do physical activity – like walk the dog or workout – my brain is in constant overdrive with plot development, character building, and new twists and turns that are aching to get on the page. By contrast though, when I am working my mind, writing ever so diligently, my body just sits there. How is that fair?
Why can’t leaning over the keyboard work like crunches, and editing the page work my thighs like lunges? So basically, my brain never gets a rest, while my body hibernates most of the day.
In an attempt at shutting off my ticker-tape brain during my walk this morning, I kept reminding myself to stop thinking.
Just look: the crystal-like snow sparking on the trees, horses at the farm next door huddled together in a rainbow herd of charcoal and chestnut, honey and hickory.
Just listen: the sounds of my feet crunching on the newly fallen snow, the occasional bird chirping a tune, the sound of brisk wind whirling though the trees, water trickling steadily in the half-frozen stream.
Inhale and smell: a hint of pine, and crispness in the cold fresh air.
And feel: the cold against my face, the tight strain and pull through the muscles in my legs as I climb the long slope of the hill, and Maalik’s soft muzzle against my mitted hand every time he runs back to nudge me a brief hello before he bounds off again.
Living in the moment was almost like a meditation, a calming, grounding way to centre myself in the now. Which was calming, and a little annoying, because my brain has lived 42 years on high drive, and it wasn’t clear why I was trying to change the routine. Nice, but the jury is still out whether that is what works for me. Neurotic, obsessing, mind-bending thought-streams work too.
As an aside, I promised to keep you posted on the query situation: I have 4 ready to go, and will send them Monday morning (I decided Friday’s are no good – nobody wants more work on their desk on Friday’s).
Before you jump in to say that four isn’t that many considering I’ve had all this week to do it, I need to clarify – sending a query is no bulk form letter. Each literary agent has different guidelines, and requires different information be submitted. Some want 50 pages and a query letter. Others want the first 10 pages and a synopsis. Some want it mailed, others by email, and most tell you to research the agents within the agency so you send it to the right person (one who would be interested in your genre). So, it isn’t as simple as a typing up a one shot deal, not by a long shot.
So, I’m happy with four by Monday, and I’ll work my tail off next week to get the other nine done by Friday, so I don’t have to wear the cone of shame upon my head.
Have a wonderful weekend, whether you spend it meditating or obsessing.