Exercise, Writing and the Results-Oriented Culture

It’s well over halfway through the year, and I still haven’t made good on a number of my New Year’s Resolutions.  But it’s the youth of today, it’s not my fault.

Here’s the thing, I realized this morning on my commute.  People of my generation have been conditioned to expect something for our effort.  On the surface, that doesn’t seem all that unreasonable, and perhaps it isn’t.  But it’s accompanied by a certain compartmentalization of activity – we do thing x, we get thing y, activity concludes.  And this leads to problems.

I meant to start running, because I’m kind of a slothful sack of chips and soda, and you don’t really get glances at the bar if your gut sticks out.  At least not at the bars I go to.  Anyway, the idea is that I’ll run, and I’ll get some stamina and lung capacity and leg muscles, and once I have a bit of endurance I can do sit-ups and maybe go to the gym and do something with my upper body and then I’ll be healthy and happy.  Again: not that unreasonable.

But run through my filter, embarking on a running course means months of unpleasant activity, at the end of which is… more unpleasant activity.  Even if I start out improving and getting more toned and fit, eventually I will have to keep up doing something just to maintain whatever I’ve achieved.  In other words, there’s no real end in sight – even if I do manage to magick some abs out of the ordeal, I don’t get to keep them.  It’s like renting, except the rent is paid in crunches and the insurance is way more expensive.

I have a similar problem with my current screenplays.  I’ve got a good eight or nine ideas in my head, several of which might even be marketable.  But through that filter, I’ve got months of effort ahead, during which experience tells me I will throw tantrums and not sleep and drink many liters of soda and write things that really, truly suck.  And at the end of all that, I will have a screenplay that may or may not sell.  In fact, it might even be too bad to show to anyone.  And because I expect results, the prospect of all that effort wasted is somewhat crippling.

Those of another bent will argue that none of those things involve waste – getting fit is great for your health, and any writing is good practice for a writer, even if the only thing that sees the end result is a cat prowling through a Dumpster.  But my conscious knowledge of that doesn’t stop my subconscious from encouraging me to play The Sims 3 when I should be writing.


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