Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Interval Writing

Two dear friends are training to run marathons this summer – one to raise money for the American Stroke Association and the other for the American Heart Association. I’m thoroughly impressed. Running 26.22 miles straight feels like an impossible goal for my lazy ass, but as they explained to me the other day, training for a marathon is easy when you run in intervals.

They suggested starting small – walk for 4 minutes, run for 1 minute, and repeat. Then modify the interval as I build stamina. They said that even when they’re running the actual marathon, they still run in intervals – 9 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Breaking it down that way made the task seem much less intimidating to me. I can totally train for a marathon, I thought.

And then I had an epiphany. I could apply the same theory of interval training to my writing!

Because ever since starting my day job, attempting to write after an 8-hour workday has been stressing me out and often not working at all. I’ll set a goal of 4 hours a night and fail miserably. Some nights I’ll be lucky to get even one hour of productive work done!

Now I’m writing in 30-minute intervals. It seems short, I know. How much can you really get done in 30 minutes? It can take that long just to get warmed up.

But I’ll squeeze in 30 minutes whenever I can. I’ll open my laptop as soon as I open my eyes in the morning and write for 30 minutes even before I get out of bed. Then I write for 30 minutes during my lunch break at work. By the time I settle in for my evening writing session, I’ve already gotten an hour of work done that day! And that momentum sends me into my new interval writing routine – write for 30 minutes then do something else for 10-15 minutes – watch TV, Facebook, whatever – and repeat.

So simple and it’s working! I’m getting more work done and I feel less stressed, which is fantastic.

Now I just need to try this technique with my running. Ugh. I think I’ll go write instead...

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