Thursday, October 6, 2011

The more you do, the more you can do.

That used to be my philosophy toward exercise. But now I see that it's true for a lot of other things, too.

You start out as a couch potato, no energy and no initiative. But then you start walking or working in the garden and suddenly, you're getting a lot more done. Energy is that magical negative thing - you have to use it up to get more of it. And you realize that the more you do - walking, weeding, writing or anything, the more you can do.

More exercise gives you more energy. More writing gives you new skills and the confidence to tackle new things. It's like sports. The more you practice, the better you get at it.

It took me a long time to get that one. I always avoided sports because I was never good at them. There was the occasional game of softball with coworkers to prove the point. No one ever told me that if I practiced, I'd get better. Sports was always some mystical gift that some people had and others didn't. It wasn't until I learned to ski that I realized anyone can learn a skill adequately. You won't be Olympic material, but you can participate and enjoy it.

The same is true for writing. The more you practice the better you get. My Tai Chi teacher talked about muscle memory. He said that if you keep practicing the basics, eventually your muscles remember the sequence and your mind can disengage. If you practice writing enough, grammar, vocabulary and structure become second nature. Then you can start looking at the flow, character depth, plot twists and all that fun stuff.

The more you do, the more you can do.

1 comment:

  1. Alice - Your comment on using energy to get more of it parallels Arthur Fiedler's mantra that "the use of energy creates more energy." It worked for him ... he led the Boston Pops for fifty years, having first been a member of the Boston Symphony, which he joined in 1915. And if you haven't heard of his major collection, now you know: collecting full-size real fire engines! Now tell us your favorite hobby!
    John Gordon