With swimming under water, perspective is everything. If you start thinking about how far you’ve got to go, your mental focus collapses, your body goes into panic mode, and you pretty quickly find yourself scrambling to the surface! As a regular swimmer I know that the ‘not breathing’ bit under the water would be impossible without getting the before and after ‘breathing’ bit right. And attitude is key.
I’ve trained my body to be able to go the distance, and my mind to trust that it can. I don’t focus on the ascent. I definitely don’t focus on the fact that I have descended under the surface! I just try to relax and focus on feeling the water as I slice through it. Totally in the moment.
I feel a lot of parallels with my approach to writing. If I think about it too much I start to feel myself seizing up; the words drying up as my uncertainties become all-consuming. But if I just take a really big breath, block out the whirring worries and write, I find my flow and all is good again. It has worked up until now, anyway!
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath”
(F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Embracing the carpe diem approach, I’ve signed up to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). I am going to give it my all but, as a relatively last-minute decision, this isn’t something I have spent months preparing for. I’m not anticipating I’ll get anywhere close to completing the 50,000 word challenge. But I am playing the long game with this one. Anything I achieve and learn this year will help me mentally and physically prepare to participate in earnest next year.
As today is the first day of the month-long challenge, this is me taking a few really deep, long breaths before jumping in with both feet and making my descent. It’s going to be a challenge, but a fun one I hope. See you on the other side! I’ll be the one looking rather exhausted, in need of a long cool drink, but smiling…hopefully.
My entry for this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge, ‘descent‘, and my NaNoWriMo pledge to myself!