Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On writing, swimming and other uphill battles

This is a photo of me. (In my own little make believe mind.) Flickr cc

It’s that time of year. In preparing for the Provincial Masters Swimming Competition next spring, I’ve begun pool training again. It’s been a while and I’d forgotten how much I love to swim. And so I’ll be posting updates of my progress - though it’s not an outdoor adventure. (Since I live on a lake you are probably thinking, why isn’t it an outdoor adventure? That, my friends involves a tragic and embarrassing turtle phobia of which I may tell you about later)

While doing basic drills today, it occurred to me that swimming was a little like writing. So many techniques to remember. Body roll on the long axis. Relaxed, high elbow arm recovery. Kick from the hips. REACH for the catch. Stroke count. Streamline off the wall. If I try to remember them all swimming one length, my stroke becomes choppy, unpretty and fun-less.

When writing, if I concentrate too much on technique, it also becomes unpretty and fun-less. Show don’t tell. Move that plot with dialogue. Watch those tags. GOOD GOD my mc needs a disabling quirk!

The 400 meters of drills I did were certainly needed. But it was the 1000m of back and free style, slicing through the water like a dolphin, that was pure joy. It’s what ensures that I go back on Thursday to do it again. And sometimes, I begin a story with scene description. Just for fun. I’m that much of a rebel.

14 comments:

LeSan said...

Good heavens tell me that isn't you in the photo! I don't think I can show my keyboard around this place again. At least not till I dig out my hiking boots from the back of the closet or were they under the bed? I echo your sentiments on the writing dictums. It can suck the life right out of it along with your will to live.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Thanks for reminding me to label the photo from FlickerCC. God, that is so NOT me. But it is what I imagine I look like when I push off from the wall.

Jackie said...

exactly how far did you swim today? and how long did it take? i am getting a bit nervous now. it has been 2 years remember!!!!!

LeSan said...

tsk tsk. Terry, Terry, this is where you lie, remember you're on the internet after all. hehe
You lookn' good girl! LOL ;-)

C.R. Evers said...

Thnx for stopping by my blog!

I love swimming too. I've never done it competitively before, but I swim for the health of it.

I also find it like writing. When I'm doing other fitness routines I"m thinking, "how much time do I have left?" but when I'm swimming, I'm thinking, "maybe just five more minutes."

Kind of like writing. I'd rather go longer than pray that my time is over.

great post!

Angela said...

When writing, if I concentrate too much on technique, it also becomes unpretty and fun-less. Show don’t tell. Move that plot with dialogue. Watch those tags. GOOD GOD my mc needs a disabling quirk!

This is me too. But I find the longer I write, the less I need to think about it. And I rarely think these thoughts at all while drafting or it completely messes me up.

Catherine A. Winn said...

I wanted to say thanks for commenting on my blog today and I also wanted to say I love your blog! You lead such an exciting, adventurous life! I will definitely be coming back each week. Cathie

C.R. Evers said...

Hey Terry! Just wanted to pop by and let you know that you won one of the books on my giveaway! Congratulations!

christy

Janet said...

I'm envious, I don't even know how to swim. But, like you, I do love to write.

Patti said...

I liked you comment on focusing too much on technique. It does seem to take the fun out of writing.

Congrats on the swimming. I'm a horrible swimmer

Tara said...

I love to swim, but I never learned the rules. Good luck with your training.

And congrats on the pitch session. It's yours to rock!

Donna M. McDine said...

Wonderful comparison. Best wishes for your training and continued success.

Regards,
Donna
Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
Donna M. McDine’s Website

Jenn said...

Hey there. I followed your blog over from AW. You make such a great point about to much focus on the technical part of writing making it just not fun.

Nathalie said...

It's impressive! Tells much about your discipline as a writer as well. :)