Thursday, March 04, 2010

On Writing and Exercise Addiction

So the problem with Facebook...okay, you're right, ONE of the problems with that everybody knows what you're doing. So say, if you, meaning me, if I am working out a lot every body knows it. Nothing wrong there, right? It keeps me connected to my Crossfit buddies, keeps me honest.
However. Right. However...
Then, when one goes out, meaning gets asked, "How's your writing going?" And then if one says, well, you's not great. I don't really have time to know, the grading. Then. Then my friends, you know, the asker, the asker says, "Well, you have time to work out. You're always lifting weights and running." To which one says what? What, I ask, does one say?
Well. What I did say was, "Well, working out is social! It's fun! And writing...." I trailed off.
And then today, after working out (note: not writing) I felt great. I felt high. I felt amazing. And I thought, how often does writing make me feel great? I've felt great after writing maybe two times, maybe three times that I can remember. Most of the time writing makes me feel inadequate and sub par. Less than. Terrible. Affirmation that I am, in fact, not a very good writer. I would say 9 out of 10 writing sessions make me feel adequate or less than.
But Crossfit. Well. The opposite. I would say 9 out of 10 workouts make me feel great. I say after each workout, Wow! I lifted that! I did 35 deadlifts and 35 hang cleans and 35 front squats and 32 push jerks. That's amazing. I kick ass. And I feel good all day.
So today, I did find an hour. And I wrote in a coffee shop. I wrote about 1,500 words. Not bad. I went back over the stuff I had written and it wasn't bad. But did I feel adrenaline coursing through my veins? No. Did I feel like I had just accomplished great things? Sort of.
Writing my friends, is a lonely, lonely business. It's not social, and it has very few (if any) immediate rewards.
The key, I guess, to repeat myself, is balance. Can't I do both? Can't I Crossfit and write? And can't I keep updating my FB status with workout stats? Please?


Lisa B. said...


>> Writing my friends, is a lonely, lonely business. It's not social, and it has very few (if any) immediate rewards.

is the stone TRUTH.

Carry on.

Middlebrow said...

If you were to combine writing and crossfit somehow. Here's your workout:

AMRAP in 20 minutes

20 air squats
write a five sentences
15 pushups
write five sentences
20 ab mat situps
write five sentences

radagast said...

Right on, sister. So many myths about writing have not proven true--at least in my case: that "true" writers HAVE to write, for it's what they DO; that for "true" writers, internal motivation and inspiration are all that is needed; that writing is its own reward. Crap. Crap. And lastly, crap. IMHO. I say if you've found something that makes you feel good about yourself and that makes your life tolerable, make THAT your art. Writing can either get on board with some adrenaline, some natural high, or it can suck it.

Sara Lucinda Bell said...

Sheesh, I know exactly what you mean!

Down with Facebook!

Nnamdi said...

Everyone does not what you are doing on Facebook if you choose to post.

New book, "Facebook Addiction: The Life & Times of Social Networking Addicts"
More Info:

Nik said...

Grad school made writing better. There were always people around who cared about writing so much. It felt like group work. But even then, everyone had different goals. It seems in cross fit, the numbers make objective the goals. And plus, like you said, you're mostly competing for/against yourself. How do you measure improvement in writing? Word count? Doubtful.

susansinclair said...

I just LOVE to hear writers debunk those writing myths. Plus, I was reading Inc. (at the hair salon, natch) yesterday, and there was a section on productivity, and these highly successful folks were offering completely conflicting advice. So, being human, I found the advice that most closely resembled my current behavior.

ErinAlice said...

Yes and writing a dissertation is lonely. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing there is a degree out there, somewhere, for me, when I am done. I love working out too. Have to balance it with my writing since I do want to graduate sooner than later. Keep on pumping iron and writing. Perhaps a novel where the heroine is a crossfit junkie???

Counterintuitive said...

And why isn't there such a thing as a "writing addiction."

Steve Fellner said...

Dear Counter intuitive--

Obviously, this isn't Lynn's case; she means it tongue-in-cheek.

But having taught a lot of young women, exercise "addiction" can be harmful, if not fatal. It's a form of an eating disorder--it ostensibly seem healthy, but it functions as a wearing down of the body, a depriviation and simultaneous overexertion of sorts. I had two female students in the last two years hospitalized and that was their behavior.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I found writing to be intensely pleasurable. I mean it is difficult, challenging--but it also makes me high and expansive. It has all my attention when I'm doing it and I love the thrill of insight and discovery as I connect fingers/pen to keys/paper.

For me, the difficult part is going back to it and seeing where I have failed, where I have been subpar...that is fucking painful so I feel for you. But no matter how we feel about it--we go back if we really care about it. This isn't mere addiction--is it genes, a salmon-like drive? Whatever it is, it's there to stay even if it goes underground at times.