I’m a fan of the Tour De France—I have been since I was a child watching Greg LeMond tear though the mountains and flat stages in the early and mid ‘80s. I was (& still am) fascinated by the beautiful scenery of the French countryside in the summer, the myriad of tactical decisions that come into play during the race, and the incredible, almost zen-like focus and discipline needed to maintain hours of both training and racing.
As I watch this year’s tour, I was struck by a commercial that is currently airing during the tour. I was specifically struck by the words (& I’m paraphrasing): the destination should not be your focus, but the journey. In other words, enjoy the process.
Cycling is hard. It is physically draining and exhausting. Well, writing is hard as well. It is mentally draining and exhausting. Cycling is also fun—at the end of the day, you have traveled from point A to B and have seen new sights. Writing is no different. When you’ve finished for the day, you know more about your story than you did the day before.
Having a goal is fine—as a matter of fact, I think that it is super important to set goals because they give you something to strive towards. But it is very easy to get caught up in the trap of “finishing.” When you have a goal in mind, you know where you are going and you have (at least) an approximate idea of how you are going to get there. However, I need to remind myself as I attempt this novel (especially in the dark times when nothing seems to be working) that writing is FUN! Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. Yes, like cycling, it is hard, demanding, and leaves one exhausted, but writers get to try to recreate the images in their minds with words.
Writers don’t need budgets, CGI special effects or practical effects. We don’t need actors or sets. We don’t need extras, or catering. All we need is a good imagination and something to record what we write. And we need words, just plain old, simple words.
How cool is that?