Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Writer As Athlete

Writing sounds like a sedentary activity and it pretty much is. And yet writing a novel requires an endurance that's nearly an Olympic feat. You have to maintain a mental focus that is similar to an athletes.

Did you ever watch Tiger Woods play golf? He isn't given to self doubt nor is he worrying about anything but the play that is in motion. Time is suspended for him as it must be for the writer who goes the distance. You can't nick pick your novel to death when you are only on chapter two. You also can't give into self doubt. There are times when the whole manuscript feels like a feeble endeavor. Joan Didion says like an aeralist a writer must not look down. Nathaniel Minton takes it a step further, "You look down and that suspended period of non-judgment in which the novel is written is broken..."

Nathaniel Minton is a writer and cross-country skier. I've discovered that a lot of writers are athletes. John Irving was an award-winning wrestler at the University of Iowa, Joyce Carol Oates runs and our very own Margaret Blake is a hiker.

So what's a couch potato like me to do? I guess I'll take my dog for a walk and be kind of exuberant about it.


Debbie Wallace said...

Great blog! I've never looked at it that way. You go, Margaret. I didn't know you hiked. I enjoy hiking when in Alaska or staying at the Builtmore estate but Florida doesn't offer much in that area.

My fingers are VERY athletic, though! LOL

Sarita Leone said...

Excellent post!

And Debbie, you're too funny. Athletic fingers, LOL!