Thursday, April 5, 2012

A to Z Challenge: E for Excitement and Endurance

A to Z Challenge
Theme: Creativity Toolbox

E = Excitement and Endurance

Excitement for a new project, for a new idea, for a creative way of looking at the world often jumps starts any creative project, whether writing or art, or cooking or photography, or music . . .

Endurance keeps us moving forward when the excitement has worn off, when the new project hits a snag, when the writing seems stale, the art feels empty, the cooking experiment has the wrong texture, the photo comes out blurry, and the music just doesn't capture the mood.

Excitement and endurance work together to get us to the finish and beyond that into the next project. We need both.

Yesterday I skied the Peak to Creek run at Whistler Mountain, in Whistler, Canada. The Peak to Creek run is 6.8 miles (11km) and tests skier and boarder endurance.

The Peak Chair is on the right going up to the top. The last part of the chair ride goes up over a sheer rock cliff.
It started out with excitement, especially on a sunny, powdery-snow day like yesterday. Then somewhere in the middle, my leg muscles were screaming, knees were wobbling, and then I fell into a bank of powdery snow and wedged my ski and boot under three feet of snow.

It didn't just happen to me but a couple of other people with us on the run.

Excitement had worn off at that point. I almost wanted to just lay on the powdery snow and say, "dig me out in the spring" but I dug out my ski, watched my sister-in-law help a stranger dig out her ski, and then we went down to an easy cat track run and let our legs rest.

Excitement and endurance together made the day a great ski day for me. One wouldn't have been enough. Endurance wouldn't have been joyous enough, and excitement wouldn't have lasted long enough. Excitement and Endurance worked together.

In my writing life, my current WIP is under critique. I have sticky notes everywhere, plans to cut pages of material and add others. A week ago, all excitement was gone and I was just in endurance mode. To keep my writing moving forward I wrote short stories and poetry, and then marked up my novel with more ink. I wanted to finish it in a rush - get it done, move on, but I also want it be good. It's going to take another rewrite. I will plan that out this month, get my sticky notes in order, and then I'm going to do a 100 day revision starting May 1st. Endurance is key, but I am having a few moments of excitement in my revision planning so I hope that endurance and excitement will work together for me through the end of the 100 day revision.

Writing Excitement and Endurance Exercise:
1. Write something that fills you with the sense of excitement!
2. Give yourself endurance writing times - 10 minutes today, 30 tomorrow, an hour the next day, three hours the next. How long can you keep writing?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can make it through those hundred days! And glad you didn't remain stuck in the snowbank. We'd miss you.

Angela Brown said...

That is such a beautiful snow peak. I could see myself admiring it...only from the warmth and safety of the lodge :-)

But I liked your analogy here. You skied a nice run but got stuck on a little snag. The excitement kept things sparking even in that snag. The same can be applied in our writing life. My WiP is currently out with betas so I'm in gnaw-off-my-fingernails-nervous mode. Yeah, nothing but nubs now. But I am excited to receive their feedback so I can buckle down and work on ways to improve things they point out need lots of help.

Laura S. said...

Hello, Tyrean! This is such a great post. You're right that endurance is what keeps us plugging along when the excitement wanes. Good luck with your revisions!!

Whistler Mt. is where some of the sports events were during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, right? Super cool you got to ski there! I recently went snowboarding on Mount Mansfield in Stowe, Vermont. So beautiful and fantastic slopes!

Nice to meet you and happy A to Z!!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex - awww, thanks!

Angela - I know how that feels. My betas were family members but one of them is a "grammarian" and some super-readers and storytellers - they tell me like it is so it's scary waiting for their feedback.

Laura -Yes, Whistler is where the 2010 Olympics took place. We love it here. Nice meeting you too!

Nikki said...

Great post, I love the little exercises you post at the end :) I think I need to work on my endurance throughout this challenge!

Nikki – inspire nordic