Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Running and Revising

The current round of revisions is going about as well as my exercising, which is to say slowly and somewhat painfully. The running trouble is easily explained by three simple facts:

Three Simple Facts

1. I am overweight and out of shape.
2. My shoes are old (and stinky), and I think they're contributing to the soreness in my legs. Of course, it is possible that the weight my legs are forced to lug around has something to do with it.
3. Running is hard.

Explaining the problems I'm having with the revisions is more difficult. Let's start with this: I like revising. In fact, one reason I push myself to get my first draft done is so I can get to the revising. I like dinking around with word choice and sentence structure. I like trying out alternative scenes. I even like taking out, then putting back in, then taking back out commas.

So it's not the revisions themselves that are the problem. And it's not that I mind doing requested revisions in contrast to my own. I like almost all the suggestions in the revision letter and I know they'll make the story better.

What I'm having trouble with is the same thing I'm running into (God, I love puns) with my exercise. Motivation. Like the running, I know I have to start slowly and build momentum. Once I get back into writing shape (as it relates to this story), I know I'll be okay. But the idea of starting all over once again is daunting.

I started this story in November of 2007. I have read it at least forty times. I have twelve different drafts saved on my hard drive. In short, I really used to like this story and now the thing is just play work with all the negative connotations usually associated with that four-letter word.

But like the running, I've been plugging away for the last two weeks (well, minus that golf thing) in the hope that tonight's the night it's going to feel easier. Tonight's the night I'm going to feel like I'm actually making progress. Tonight's the night when running and writing feel a little bit less like work.

And here's where I'm supposed to say something about the journey being more important than the destination, but just between you and me, I think that's a load of crap. If I woke up tomorrow twenty pounds lighter and Secret Agent Guy told me I knocked it out of the park with the latest revisions, I'd take it.

14 comments:

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

I bought new Asics running shoes today. Then I ran and, like you said, it was hard. Yesterday was much easier. Yes, you need new shoes and they probably are making your legs sore. I also bought a pair of wicking socks that remove moisture from feet and prevent blisters. Compared to my old shoes, it's like running on air, but still hard.

Re: Revision. I'm waiting until Linda Sue Park sends an email about the workshop at SCBWI and instructs us what to do. There are 25 of us and we'll be meeting four hours each morning to revise our manuscripts and scene-build. I have a feeling it will be much harder than running. Then again, they're both harder than hard.

Jacqui said...

I say "word" to your last paragraph. Journey schmourney. I want product.

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

My other comment was:

SUCK IT UP, MURPH!

But I decided not to post it.

Trisha Pearson said...

I hear ya on the revision thing. All I really need to do (for now) on one manuscript is read through it once more, checking for typos. Then it's ready to send out. But I'm SO sick of reading it!

And running? It is hard! I'm so jealous of the totally in-shape people I see out there running. Especially my friend who can run 30 miles. I could do 3. Maybe.

Good luck!

Anita said...

ABOUT THE RUNNING: I sold athletic shoes through high school and college and I run almost daily now. Shoes make a huge difference...not just how new they are, but having ones that fit your foot properly--if you have gained considerable weight, then your feet have probably stretched and you need bigger shoes than you wore in high school. And the aging process causes this, too. When I got married, I wore a size 6 shoe. 17 years later, I have four kids, am ten pounds heavier and wear a size 8 1/2 shoe. Try at least four different brands in a size that fits; different brands are shaped differently.

REGARDING WRITING MOTIVATION: I know you love writing and you'd probably do it even if you never could make $ out of it, but don't you want to make $ out of it? That's right. And who do you really want to make the $ for? Blondie, I'll bet. So stick a photo of her right next to the keyboard, because she's going to grow up and need braces, tuition and wedding expense paid for (and a heck of a lot of other things, too). Feel like slacking off? Look at the photo and getthose fingers moving.

Kelly said...

Get new Nike shoes and JUST DO IT! (the running and revising)

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Anita - Isn't Blondie my daughter? I think Murph's little one has dark hair if I remember correctly from the Odd-Fish video guest appearance. Either way, I agree with you.

Big Plain V said...

Holy heck, Mr. Murphy -- you and I are in some kind of freaky mental groove. Which is to say that I'm having the exact problems you are, only different, so I can totally relate, only I can't.

Hope that helps.

The Wife said...

Don't let him fool you - he decides to run and get in shape and it happens. Quickly. Men. *harumph*

Monica said...

I agree with you on the fallacy of that argument, 'its not the destination, it's the journey'. That's a load of horsepuckey. At least in terms of weight loss. To those people, i say "suck on it" (i'm trying that out as a new catch phrase)

7 Mrs. Murphy, men have it easy, don't they? they can just cut out drinking beer and drop 20. (no offense, men)

Life isn't fair. It's always been my opinion, that, when you make a right choice, you should be rewarded immediately. i.e. "no, thanks, i'll pass on that delicious piece of cake" BAM!!!! there goes a pound. but no.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

In truth, my body is usually extremely forgiving. I spend 6-10 months desecrating the temple (my body) and if I work at it, it only takes two or three months to get it back in shape. I really shouldn't complain. (Except that complaining is fun and more entertaining to read in blog form.)

Anita said...

TRACY: Sorry for the mistake! You two are my favorite male bloggers...and you're so similar, but, still, I should've known better!

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Anita: seriously, don't apologize. Blondie, Little One, booger-eater, snot-wiper, it's all the same. And thank you for the compliment.

Ben Esch said...

Paul,

Wait...you feel overweight, struggle with revisions, and suck at golf?

Holy crap...reading that blog was like looking in a mirror. A mirror with words. Bravo, Murph. Bravo.

Ben

www.benjaminesch.com