Why Writing is Like Playing Squash

Pen on Paper

I once wrote a post on how writing is like dancing. This is similar, but because that was nearly a year ago I thought I’d replay the topic (pun intended 🙂 ). I think every now and then us writers need to be reminded how much work it takes to keep our craft honed, and if we slack off then our readers can tell. Things get untidy and mushy and squishy instead of remaining sharp, tight, and toned – like every serious writer (athlete) needs to look.

For the last month hubby and I have been playing squash again after an almost five-year break from it, not because we were lazy, it’s just that life got busy – being newlyweds and the like. This week we started again for the second time after having the usual week and a half off when everything shut down between Christmas and New Year, and although I quickly found my rhythm I could tell immediately (being a dancer for nearly forty years I kinda know what my body is telling me by now!) that it wasn’t a good idea to have a break after restarting on such a good note. But, hey, it happened and now I need to refocus and get fit again.

During NaNoWriMo last November I put aside editing The Sword Bearer’s Awakening: Book 3 to write a new novel in a different genre thereby having a complete break from almost three years of solely focusing on my epic fantasy tetralogy. When I started editing Book 3 again it took me a while to find my old rhythm, and for a day or so I got a nervous niggle in the pit of my stomach that I wouldn’t find it. I had to reacquaint myself with my characters and where they were – emotionally – in the story.

But I eventually did it! Whew! When I took a moment to really think about my fears I realised they were unfounded because once I’ve learned how to do something I never forget – like the old adage: You never forget how to ride a bike. But still, my connection to my characters and my emotional attachment to the story had frayed a little, and I made a decision to never break from what I am currently working on again until it is finished.

English: Vlástní foto

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Hubby and I started playing squash again (the first time) the only thing that I struggled with was my fitness level. I remembered how to play and what the rules were, but because of the five-year break I had to refocus my attentions on technique and flow and, of course, how to annihilate my husband! *evil laugh* It took about a week and then things just got smoother and faster for the both of us.

The comparison I’m trying to make with writing is that even though you might have a break from sitting at the computer and bashing out your novel, don’t completely separate yourself from the process of creating with words. Even if this means you keep reading, at least, to keep your mind and technique sharp and even perhaps learn something new from a prolific author.

Like the body, the mind needs to be kept busy in order to function optimally. It will never forget what comes naturally to it and it never forgets what it has learnt, but unless we keep it ‘exercised’ and healthy and feed it what it needs, it will get lazy and ‘fat’ and squishy and grow mental love-handles.

The New Year offers great opportunities to expand our knowledge and creative abilities even more than in 2012. I urge you, dear writer, to keep your mind at its best by feeding it good, wholesome stuff. I recently posted this quote on Facebook. It sums up what I’ve said here and in my previous post.

The Six Golden Rules of Writing

I so look forward to what y’all are creating this year! It’s gonna be a hot one!!

I love hearing from you. Please tell me what you are working on so that I can share and tweet and get excited!


About SwordBearer

I am a fantasy and science fiction author. I have published three epic fantasy novels in a tetralogy with Xlibris Publishing, and a sci-fi short story, The Door. All are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major online retailers. The Door is also available on Smashwords. I love reading everything from King to Koontz, Cussler to Brooks and Feist, to name but a few. Before writing became my life I was a professional ballet, jazz/contemporary dancer in South Africa. Writing and storytelling have always been passions since childhood, and I want to share them with the world!!

Posted on January 8, 2013, in Believe in Your Writing Abilities, Just Begin!, Passion versus Knowledge, Tools to Help You Get Started and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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