Mark Terry

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No Apologies

July 20, 2010
"A woman's preaching is like a dog dancing on its hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find that it is done at all."--Samuel Johnson

Three days a week I strap on my running shoes and lumber around the neighborhood for forty minutes or so. I exercise a lot--running 3 days a week, biking 3 days a week, lifting weights 3 days a week, going to karate classes probably 3 hours a week and often practicing more on my own. In terms of ability, I'm a pretty good biker, nothing to complain about in the weight lifting arena, and I'm a candidate for black belt in karate, so I guess I'm pretty decent. Running ... well, "waddle" describes it fairly well. And sometimes I feel like apologizing for my relative lack of abilities at it.

And yet, when I was out walking the dog this morning, I saw a regular "runner" in our neighborhood, an elderly man who puts on his shoes and sweat pants and shuffles around the neighborhood and I thought something that I think very often: it's not how well you do it, it's that you do it at all. (So no, I won't apologize for the sexist attitudes in Johnson's quote).

Whenever my wife or I have a bad workout--and people who work out regularly recognize, I think, that some are better than others--we tend to say, "Well, at least I did it."

So that's my message for all writers, especially the unpublished who get down on themselves. You are where you are in your writing career, probably for a reason. But you're writing. You're doing it. Today, pat yourself on the back for just getting out there and doing it--for writing today's blog post, for writing a page or two or five in your work-in-progress, for completing a manuscript, for submitting a manuscript, for sending out queries, for getting rejection letters, for getting an agent, for getting a book contract, for having your book published, for the good review or the bad, for sales, for royalty statements, for royalty checks, for fan letters...

It doesn't matter what it is. It only matter that it is.



Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

You got that exactly right. I can't run any more but it was getting into running that really got me to actually write seriously because I realized that the biggest difference was not between those that do an activity well and those who don't do so well but between those who try and those who don't.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Thanks. It's something I have to remind myself about regularly.

8:30 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Thanks for this. I'm going to link it to my writer's loop if you don't mind. Very inspirational. :)

9:24 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Delighted and don't mind a bit.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Um . . . considering MY post today, this is pretty appropriate. LOL!

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Largo Chimp said...


Writing aside, your workout schedule is motivating. I run (slowly) 2 or 3 times a week, and hit the gym twice a week and I'm wiped out. You're putting in some serious work at a variety of activities.


9:36 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Or I'm nuts. I didn't use to exercise because I spent all my time at a desk job more static than writing (hard to believe, but I analyzed chromosomes through a microscope) and had 2-3 hours in the car for the commute, and spent my free time writing. This started with weight lifting, then karate because my kids were doing it, then I want to run, but kept getting injured so I switched over to biking and found out I loved it, then kept going back to running (no injuries in a while, knock wood) because I thought it might help lose weight or at least keep it off, and also because, I find, that after a certain age if you don't do this stuff you sort of lose your license and/or ability to.

9:43 AM  
Blogger N. R. Williams said...

Hmmm...running. Well, considering that three years ago I was unable to walk do to a car accident and needed both hips replaced, (one at a time), the fact that I am walking is good. I'll hold off on the running thing a little longer.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous joanne kennedy said...

What a great post. Thanks for giving me another way to get going and get my writing done. And maybe the workout, too...

6:49 AM  
Blogger Kerrie T. said...

I'm a shuffling runner and a struggling writer -- so this was perfect. Thanks. :)

5:37 PM  

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