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Writing – after taking days off – is like doing squats.

I hate doing squats. They hurt like hell. I’m one of those few black guys with underdeveloped glutes. In other words I have no ass. My cousins used to call me back-two-legs, meaning I had a back and two legs with no ass – which equals very little ass muscles. That means squats are really hard for me. Still, my trainer likes me to do them, so they’re part of my exercise regimen. When I do squats consistently, they’re no problem for me and they become quite easy. I can even notice some physical improvements in that area.

Staying away from writing is a lot like staying away from doing squats. When you come back to it, it’s hard at first: Hard to get the creative juices flowing, hard to make yourself focus on the task at hand.

Just like with exercise, you want to start with a small writing goal and build yourself up from there. I try to write ten pages a day, every day, but on occasion I’ll take a week off and when I come back there is no way I can do ten pages. I may have to start with 3 pages, then the next day 5 pages then 7 pages and work my way back up to ten pages. Just like I’m doing squats I start light and then build up from there. Writing is very much like exercising. Hell, you’re exercising your brain the most important muscle you have.

When you’re forced to write or if you set goals of writing an X amount of pages a day and you meet that goal, you’ll build endurance. The more you keep at it, the easier it gets. But the longer you stay away from writing, the more you fall out of love with it and more in love with whatever you end up doing in writing’s place. My advice is to set a goal of a certain number of pages and stick to it and even if you don’t always make your goal – make sure you write something: A long email to a lover, a letter, free writing anything that pops into your mind. The goal is just to keep writing to keep the creative juices flowing.

If you have to take a break from writing, don’t stay away too long. And if you are an exerciser God, don’t forget to do your squats.

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