Writer Stamina— The Winning Edge
Writer Stamina. You ever think about it? I mean, do you ever go for a walk and think about your Writer Stamina? Have lunch with a friend and discuss vehemently the rigors of Writer Stamina? I know, probably not. Most writers, serious ones anyway, talk about things like Writer’s Block, Book Titles, Word Count, Grammar. All important things, but disregarding Writer Stamina as if it is as irrelevant as Shoe-size for writer production, which is never. The closest they get to discussing Writer Stamina is talking about how tired they get after finishing a long night of writing or how much sleep they need or how their fingers are sore.
But when you lay out all of your writer tools, the ones that you have at your disposal, even the ones that you may not realize you use and really depend on, Writing Stamina is probably one of the most important, if not the most important. Think about it. Stamina = Longevity
Writers can learn a great deal about Stamina from a group that knows a ton about Stamina. They are the Marathon Runners within our society.
Stamina is something Marathon Runners not only depend on, but they talk about it. Having the longevity, the stamina, to keep pace. There is the Urban Myth that states, “Loading up on starches (pasta) the night before a race yields tons of stamina.” No stamina, no energy, no longevity, no marathon. For the Marathon Runner, Stamina is the number one factor for optimum performance.
When you compare a Writer to a Marathon Runner, especially a Novelist, there are many similarities. Pacing, focus, being alone, motivating self, and the need for Stamina.
Besides Writers needing Stamina, Writers need to talk about Stamina. Writer Stamina should be at the forefront of the Writer’s mind. You should walk into a cafe and see Writer’s hovered over graphs and charts planning their moves toward generating more stamina. A writer should train and condition themselves to develop Writer Stamina. Take their show out on the road and see what they have.
These are questions we as Writers need answers to. At the least, talk about it. Prolific writers have stamina. They lock in and sit for hours cranking out the words, besting word count at every turn. But most writers are not like that. So… No Writer-Stamina, no action behind the keyboard. Just picking around the edges, typing a single paragraph or sentence before getting distracted. Peck out another paragraph before you’re off getting a muffin or checking your email. Like a marathoner trying to win a marathon walking, it won’t happen. Pace and Stamina is the game.
So a writer needs to think about Stamina like a Marathon thinks about it. They need to move it up the priority ladder just like a Marathoner holds it up high.
Stamina calls for conditioning, pacing, strategy. Being aware of one’s limits, reserves, helps one know how much further to push to exceed it. Knowing the course so that energy is properly budgeted. Using a timer, stopwatch, keeping record of pace and constantly trying to beat one’s previous record.
For the Writer it’s How long can you sit there? How much can the brain take? Am I breathing properly? Am I dehydrated? Did I drink enough fluids?
These are the things that are important as far as being a competitor on the course in a marathon. Not worrying about shoes, or about the view or about the shorts. These are important and should be considered, but Stamina is tops. Train to avoid injury. Knowing your limits.
With Writing, Stamina it is about building on the previous race, previous writing session. So keep the training going. Never let too much time pass before your next race. One race builds to the next. You use it or lose it. Take a break and you lose your ground. It’s all momentum and conditioning and training. It’s about mental strength as well. Avoiding distraction.
In the end, Writer Stamina is your friend, the one who will do most of your grunt work behind the keyboard. The one who will bale you out when you are running out of time as you creep up to your deadline. Who wants to sit for hours behind a keyboard, hammering away, day in and day out? A true Writer would, but for how long? How long can you go before fatigue sets in?