Nothing Does Nothing

I'm going to play around with the analogy thing this morning. Okay? Okay.

I don't exercise. I used to, back in Jr. High when I played basketball. I was running miles no problem, hundreds of sit-ups and squats a week. I was in really good shape. Then I quit playing basketball.

Fast forward to 2011, age 20. Out-of-shape and flabby, though still skinny by God's gift of genes. Knowing I should run on a regular basis...or something. Sometimes I'll go out and run a mile, but that usually ends up being something like twice a month, and we all know that does no one any good.

Recently I've been wanting abs. Who doesn't want abs? I tried on a bikini and discovered that skinny does not a bikini body make. I find it hard to run because of side-cramps, which my scholarship-track friends tell me can be avoided by...abs.

But the thought of returning to my old basketball habits, hundreds of sit-ups, killed me. Too much sweat. Too much time.

What about 50 sit-ups?

Fifty?! You've got to be kidding me, fifty is for wimps! It does nothing!

No, nothing does nothing.

So for the past two weeks I've been doing 50 sit-ups before I get on my computer. It takes like five minutes. Part of me rebels at the thought of doing something so weak - fifty! But I'm doing something. I'm doing more than nothing.

And yesterday, when I looked in the mirror...I had abs. Not like, surfer abs. Not ripped. But they were more there than they were.

Okay, that's a lot of words about physical exercise. What does this have to do with writing?

The writing process is overwhelming. The publication process is overwhelming. There's so much information, so many rules, so many good blogs to read and so much helpful advice. Then there's the thought of writing 50, 60, 70, 100 thousand words. Too much, too daunting.

Or what the editing on that book you finished? You know it needs lots of work...you know it could be great if you did the work. But do you know how many pages of editing that is? How many things need to be changed?

Do it. Baby steps. One page may not seem like much. It may seem like something for losers. Only baby writers edit one page a day. Only newbies find it difficult to spit out only a couple of paragraphs instead of a couple of pages an hour.

You know what? Only non-writers write nothing.

Write something. Because something is more than nothing. Writing nothing because you're afraid of a small something is still writing nothing. You're better than that - you're a writer. Writers write.

No one will think less of you. It's okay to start small. It's okay to take baby steps. Whether you're new to writing, or new to editing, or getting back into routine, or a NYT bestselling author who's written oodles of books. It's okay to take baby steps. Because something is better than nothing.

1 comment:

Liz P said...

Great analogy. I get down on myself a lot for my slow progress. But at least I'm doing something rather than nothing! And I think I'm going to get back into my old crunches routine - it's a short session but it made such a difference! :)