Friday, August 20, 2010

Picking up the Pace, Or Not

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own, and you know what you know.
And you will be the guy who'll decide where you'll go.
--Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

I'm always on the lookout for tips. Writing tips of course. Nutrition tips. How-to-clean-the-house-without-lifting-a-finger (oh, don't I wish!) tips. Here's the latest exercise tip I came across for those of us who are walkers: walk at least 3 miles an hour to help maintain weight. Anything less doesn't burn enough calories.

How to calculate the speed? Simply count the number of steps you take a minute. 120 steps/minute = 3 mph. 135 steps = 4 mph (which, by the way, is considered "very brisk" walking).

I decided to take the test. I laced up my shoes, grabbed hubby's trusty stopwatch, and headed out the door. Piece of cake, I thought. I've got this beat.

Well, not so much. I found out that if I want to keep the pounds off, I'm going to have to step up my pace. Turns out, I'm a rather poky walker.

But I also found that if I pushed a bit more--kicked it up a notch, if you will--I could get there. It just took a little more effort. And I wasn't even winded.

I guess you know where this is going. It's the same in my writing. I can poke along and not really make much progress. Or I can prod myself, step it up, and have a better chance to reach my goals. Sometimes, of course, I might purposely slow the pace--like I do on my walks when I pause to make note of an inspiration that comes to me. I carry 3" x 5" cards just for that purpose. I give myself permission to pick it up or slow it down, depending on the need.

What I don't do is give myself permission to stop--walking or writing--altogether. For, like the enduring Dr. Seuss says, "oh, the places we'll go," if we keep on trying.

What do you give yourself special permission* for?

*Speaking of permission, Molly O'Neill, associate editor with Katherine Tegen Books, shared fantastic thoughts on the subject at the recent WriteOnCon online conference. Lisa and Laura at Lisa and Laura Write posted the transcript. Check it out. It's a great read!


  1. To take a break today!! I'm doing some reading and letting my brain mull over my next to-be-written chapter!

  2. ...special permission to actually get back to writing! It seems like it would have been easier given the fact that I've been flying solo for a week. But it wasn't easy. I'm glad I finally did, though...
    I love the Dr. Seuss quote! I think you're right on about sticking in there. Keep trying. Keep going: "half of life is just showing up" (and making some kind of an effort). I think I'll share that with my students this semester... :)
    Nice encouragement/post!

  3. Permission to not make dinner tonight (again), so I can get revisions done and move on to the Shiny New Idea.

    I'm new here. *waves* Nice to meet you.


  4. I'm inspired by each of you--permission to take a break, permission to get back to writing (when you can and not stress over it when you can't!), and persmission not to make dinner. Ha, I'll have to try that one :-)

    Nice to meet you, too, Lola--thanks for following :-)