Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Enjoy the Journey (Amy K. Nichols)

Earlier this year, I took up karate. After watching my kids take lessons for over a year, I decided that instead of just sitting there with the other parents, I should get off my backside and join them.

I'm so glad I did. Karate is teaching me so much.

It isn't easy. The classes can be grueling. Last week, sensei had us alternating between planks, repetitive single leg front kicks, push ups and katas. By the the class was over, my arms were like limp noodles. The one thing he always says is, he's teaching us to never give up.

Through karate I'm learning how to move with grace. How to defend myself. How to face my fears. How to fight back. How to keep going even when I'm exhausted and the sweat is dripping in my eyes.

All really useful things for life.

And for writing.

Right now I'm revising my second book (While You Were Gone, Knopf 2015). There are a lot of fears that come with writing a book. What if it's bad? What if I fail? What if my editor hates what I've done? My deadline is fast approaching. I'm doing what I can to leave it all the page. My body and brain are exhausted. It's temping to take a break, to let the deadline slide, to eat some ice cream and watch The Musketeers with hubby instead of working. But that would be like giving up. And I'm not about to quit. If I can hold 30 second planks and jump up right into rounds of front kicks, I can sit at my desk and revise.

I recently passed my first belt test. When it was over, I said to my sensei, "I can't wait to be a black belt." He smiled and said, "When you get your black belt, you realize you're just beginning. Be patient. Just enjoy the journey."

There's a lesson there, too, for life and for writing. My first book, Now That You're Herewill be out in December, and here I am working on book two and I feel like I know nothing. I've been through revisions and line edits and copy edits and proofs before, but I feel like I'm brand new to all of this. Like I'm at the beginning.

So I'm learning how to move through this writing life with grace, how to face my fears, how to fight and keep going and not give up. And yes, how to enjoy the journey.


3 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the upcoming book and your first belt. Karate looks tough, and planks are hard too; my knees always buckle when I try to do those.

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  2. Woo hoo!!!! I've almost joined jujitsu several times--still want to. :o) Especially because of this...

    "I recently passed my first belt test. When it was over, I said to my sensei, "I can't wait to be a black belt." He smiled and said, "When you get your black belt, you realize you're just beginning. Be patient. Just enjoy the journey."

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  3. I'm never done karate, but yoga (which I'm a super-big fan of) teaches some of the same lessons, too. Makes me want to give karate a whirl!

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