Saturday, January 10, 2009

Writing through the Pain

By Keith Fisher

Back in the early 1990’s I got involved in the Lower Your Fat Thermostat program. It did, and still does make sense. If you want to lose the fat on your body, you must convince your body that it should be smaller.

As part of the program, I learn to study nutrition labels, limit my meals to low fat, no sugar, no salt, and no refined carbohydrates. Coupled with the diet, was a regiment of exercise. I re-learned to ride a bike, stationary and ten-speed. I walked, and tried to run. I got out into my beloved mountains.

The program worked. I was healthier, and thinner than I had been in years. Buying clothes off the rack in a regular department store was a thrill. Then, while in a rush to go to the automatic teller one day, I stepped out of the car into a rainstorm wearing spongy-soled flip-flops. They soaked up the water—I stepped onto a tile floor and my feet went out from under me. I knew I had injured myself but I tried to ignore the pain in my shoulder. I didn’t go to the doctor, and I couldn’t ride my bikes. The shock transmitted to my shoulder from the handlebars was unbearable. I began to slack off. Then, Christmas came and I cheated. Just one chocolate covered Macadamia Nut couldn’t hurt, could it?

About that time, I went through a very stressful time at work. Attacks against me were frequent and I slipped into my old self.

Recently, I have been experiencing a stressful time. I don’t want to elaborate because it’s personal, but I noticed a decrease in my writing. Other than the blogs I am obligated to write, I have been slacking off. I sit in front of the computer for brief periods and check email.

When I was on the low fat program, I felt wonderful. When I am writing, especially plotting, I feel a release of creative energy that excites and delights me. Why do I let problems defeat me?
The fall of my diet program began when I injured my shoulder. It culminated in giving into the stresses of life. I often kick myself for not getting medical help but more than that, for not keeping up my exercise. I should’ve walked more until my shoulder healed.

My writing, as a friend of mine said, "Is life." It’s what I have chosen to do. I may not be very good at it, but I find joy in putting stories together. I find release in getting my point across in a blog or article. I cannot let it fall by the wayside. I cannot give in to discouragement. I must toe the line and continue to fight the battle of word placement and arguing with characters.

I sat down yesterday, determined to write something other than my blog. I pulled up a new story I’ve been plotting. At first, I edited (a task I’m not fond of). Then, I got pulled into the story. I found the world I’d created and continued my journey. It only lasted for the brief moment of an hour, and I had to go, but it felt wonderful.

I learned that I must keep to my task. Even if all around me is falling apart. I cannot allow my concerns to take over my life, the way my shoulder injury changed it. And you know? Writing, especially plotting, is like a shot of morphine against the pain of a broken body. What I write can sooth my stress with the balm of creative release. I must write through the pain.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week


Annette Lyon said...

This is so true; I can tell when I haven't been writing regularly--and so can my family. It keep me level and more me, able to handle stresses better. Thanks for the reminder not to abandon it when things get rough.

Jennifer said...

I read through my comment again and realized I wrote "fun" instead of "run." Trust me, it was NOT FUN! LOL

LexiconLuvr said...

I mention this often, but I just love your posts Keith!
Your honesty, wit, and determination resonate deeply with me.
I have been through similar things, physically and on the path of writing. Don't beat yourself up. I'm glad to hear that you rediscovered an old plot and found new delight in it. Keep writing, especially for people like me who thrive on your posts.