Thoughts from the Treadmill: Incline
While “Enchanted April” is still in progress, I thought it time to get back to the treadmill, literally, since my enchanted April activities have interfered a little with my fitness schedule, as well as figuratively, time to get back to the subject of writing.
Though the treadmill and I have become more frequent companions of late, we’re taking our time getting thoroughly acquainted. My goal the last few months has been to increase my number of visits per week as well as increase the amount of time spent each session. Only once so far have I pushed the “Incline” button. Didn’t take it to too high a grade. Baby steps.
“Incline” means “going up, raising the bar.” Although the treadmill’s incline feature itself is a challenge, for today’s post I’m also using it as a metaphor: meeting challenges by taking small steps to get there. I’ll use the treadmill itself to illustrate my point. I’m trying to go for thirty minutes a session. Endurance-wise, it’s do-able. My problem is, I get bored easily. One day, before I figured out how to work the room’s TV monitors, I counted the cars going past the street the fitness room faces. Seventy in thirty minutes. How bad is that for being bored?
More recently, when even the TV show I’m watching can’t hold my attention, I break the time into smaller segments. “Okay, I don’t really have to do a full thirty minutes today. I’ll just try for five. Once I reach five, I’ll see how I feel about going for more.” So I get to five minutes, congratulate myself for surviving that long and raise the goal to ten minutes. I can usually get to fifteen minutes using this technique. Then I realize I’m only halfway there, that is, if I’m really serious about the full thirty-minute thing. But wait! I told myself twenty would be fine. And that’s just five more minutes. I can do that. Then I reach twenty minutes and, well, what do you know? I’m still standing. I could do another five at least.
At twenty-four minutes, I start cutting my commitments into two-minute segments. Before I know it, I’m at twenty-six, then twenty-eight, and…I’ve made it to thirty and will live to tread the mill yet another day. I walk out of the fitness room pretty darn proud of myself.
My writing is a lot like that as well, divided into smaller, do-able tasks. Maybe I can’t get that chapter finished on a particular day, but surely I could finish a scene? Once I’m done with that, maybe I could hang in there and get a good start on the next scene. If I’m revising, the goal is to get through so many pages at a time, and if I get that far, maybe add a few more. Baby steps, inching along to the, if not the final goal, at least a major accomplishment. If I’m researching, it’s a matter of working down a list of items to be reviewed and checked off. If you’ve ever thought you had a novel or two in you but have never found the time to do it, consider the baby steps approach. That incline may be a very low grade, but you’d still be going up and onward to making it happen.
As for “Enchanted April,” this week’s adventure was a day trip to St. Augustine, America’s oldest city. Hard to believe our visitor trolley passed by the spot where Ponce de Leon landed five hundred years ago. In more “modern-day” St. Augustine, we saw the two luxury hotels built by Henry Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil and later the t Florida East Coast Railway. One is now part of Flagler College and the other houses the Lightner Museum. If you ever visit this interesting historical site, I highly recommend a trolley tour first to get acclimated to all the interesting spots to take in. A little bumpy on those old streets but highly informative.
To close out my week, I went to the weekly concert that’s part of the Epcot Flower and Garden Show, this week featuring The Village People. What fun to once again sing along to “Macho Man,” “In the Navy,” and of course, “YMCA.” Everyone needs a little lighthearted entertainment to top off their week.