Crib Notes: Just Do It!

Abigail GreenI have been a regular exerciser for years. Don’t hate me; it’s my parents’ fault. As a kid, I passed out water along race routes to my dad and his fellow runners, and did leg lifts alongside my mom and her leg warmer-clad compatriots in aerobics class. Exercise is just something I do, like brushing my teeth. OK, more like flossing-I don’t do it every day, but I aim for three or four times a week.

As a longtime gym member, I’ve started to recognize a pattern: each January, the place is packed. Parking spaces are scarce, and there are long waits for the treadmills. People in shiny, brand-new workout wear are everywhere. Then just as suddenly, around March, the gym empties out again and it’s just us regulars.

I’m not disparaging these would-be workout buffs for falling off the fitness wagon. I’m just noticing that if you approach exercise as “just something you do,” rather than an all-or-nothing oath, you’re more likely to find time for it regularly and stick with it.

Listen: there are plenty of days when it takes all the energy I can muster to drag myself to the gym. Especially if I’ve just spent 10 straight hours with a stubborn toddler who refused to nap so I could finish this column. Those days, I’ll set the recumbent bike to Level 2 and flip through People magazine as I pedal. A challenging workout? Hardly. But I give myself points for showing up. That’s what keeps me coming back to the gym in March, June, September, and even in January, when I can’t find a parking spot.

It’s the same with writing.

I’ve been a writer all my life, too. Writing is just something I do. I don’t broadcast it on bumper stickers or T-shirts. I don’t apologize for the time I spend writing. I don’t need to justify spending money on writing books or workshops, or on a babysitter so I can write.

Now, I have been writing for publication for years. Sometimes I even get paid! I realize that if you’re just starting out and not earning much, if any, money for your work, it may be more difficult to convince yourself and others that writing is a worthwhile use of your time.

But it is. Like regular exercisers, writers who stick with it know that the rewards are great. Approach your writing as you would any other important undertaking in your life. Find time for it. Make time for it. Give yourself credit for showing up.

On the days when I write little more than a couple of emails and a blog entry, I don’t beat myself up. I’m still flexing my writing muscles, right? And I know that tomorrow I’ll sit down at my desk again and tackle that new assignment or tough revision. That’s because I’m a writer. And so are you. It’s just something we do.

Abigail Green is a freelance writer in Baltimore. Over the past 10 years, she has written for national, regional and online publications including AOL, AAA World, Bride’s, Baltimore Magazine, Cooking Light and Health. Her latest project is raising her first child, which she chronicles in her blog Diary of a New Mom


4 Responses to “Crib Notes: Just Do It!”

  1. 1 Maureen March 12, 2008 at 8:43 am

    Great column, sticking to it is the key to most things in life, and writing is no exception. This was just what I needed to read this morning while I am feeling really lazy!

  2. 3 Heddy_e March 12, 2008 at 11:50 am

    What a fantastic post! I’ve always been a terrible exerciser but as for the writing, I try really hard to do some everyday. Even if it isn’t much. No, I don’t make any money at it, and like you, sometimes it’s just a blog post but it is important to me. And once my darling baby is a little bit older I hope to set about ( I just had to chase a 9 month old with plastic wrap in her hand, so even writing a comment is difficult! Where do they find that stuff!??) getting into a better routine. The real test will be balancing my paying job, with mommyhood and STILL writing. I go back to work in three months 😦 Keep up the great blogging – you’ve got a new fan!

  3. 4 The Writer Mama March 13, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Well, I confess. Exercise went from something I did…to something I haven’t been doing.

    I know I had several good excuses lined up but I can’t remember what they were. 😉

    I’ll get back on that trampoline yet. Especially now that I’ve gotten all the clean laundry off of it, folded and put away. Phew!

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