When I was training for a triathlon (years ago), someone described the best way to train for the swimming portion was to gather your family and friends and have them throw lawn furniture into the pool as you swam. I laughed. I knew they were joking. Then I did the triathlon. The lawn furniture would have helped prepare me for 49 other swimmers slapping the water trying to find a way out of the thrashing pack and into the flow of swimming!
The other day, the similarity between the lawn furniture training concept and writing felt obvious. I’ve started every month with a plan to write, but soon Life would begin throwing lawn furniture in my pool.
The goal behind the suggestion to train for a swim while loved ones threw lawn furniture wasn’t to stop your training. It was to get you comfortable with swimming surrounded by noise, endless water and flailing limbs that unintentionally knock you off course. It’s the same with writing.
Life’s Lawn Furniture
I had originally labeled this section Distractions, but I love the vision of Life’s Lawn Furniture. It makes me laugh and therefore I’m less likely to take it personally or give in and give up.
Your lawn furniture is different than mine, but it’s still either a temporary distraction or a serious block. If you’re going to finish your book or continue blogging, you’ll need to take on a training mindset—growth over time. Sometimes that growth (in pages or words or time) can seem infinitesimally small, but maybe tomorrow the growth will take a huge leap forward and you’ll make a breakthrough. You won’t know until you show up. Keep writing!
Your Lawn Furniture
Life isn’t the only one throwing lawn furniture in your writing pool. Sometimes you bring it in with you. Those doubts, expectations, or habits that derail your energy, focus and confidence can do a number on your intention to write. Stop throwing in your own lawn furniture. My inner petulant child responds with “if I could do that, don’t you think I would?” (Was that a splash of more lawn furniture I heard?)
A training mindset is helpful here as well. Even if your doubts, expectations, and bad habits don’t disappear, you will grow if you keep writing.
What to do about the Lawn Furniture & Writing
When you train for an event, you get your calendar out and look at when and how often you’ll train (Time), you figure out where and then what you’ll need (Space), you decide what you’re going to track to ensure you’ll be ready (Information), maybe you find a buddy to train with (External Support), and each morning you uncover the thing that will motivate you to do it again today (Internal Support).
There’s not much you can do about Life’s lawn furniture other than show up each day and deal with all that splashing the best way you can. Some days are easier than others.
Your best is going to change from moment to moment... ~ Don Miguel Ruiz ~
And showing up each day is also the best way to deal with the lawn furniture you bring to your writing pool. Just as you can’t edit what you haven’t written, you can’t deal with your lawn furniture until you face it. The fear, uncertainty, and doubt don’t go away because you put off writing. It goes away because you KEEP WRITING!
A note that when I say show up each day, I don’t mean you have to write each day. I mean you show up when you plan to, whether that’s each day, several times a week, or one weekend a month.
What’s your training plan for your book or blog?
Time: when will you write?
Space: are your writing tools ready to go?
Information: will you track your progress?
External Support: do you need a writing buddy? Join us for the Write Time
Internal Support: what will help you show up again and again?
So... what are you going to do about the lawn furniture in your writing pool?