Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How sex, bike rides & writing are the same

A friend of mine suffers from low libido.

(If you’re new to this blog, you’re nodding smugly and saying to yourself, “sure, sure – a friend. Right.” If you already know me, I’m sorry you choked on your coffee just then).

Eager to make her husband understand her feelings, my friend offered him the following analogy:

You know how you feel about going for a bike ride, honey? It always sounds like more effort than it’s worth, and you have to change clothes and get all sweaty and it just sounds a lot easier to sit on the couch instead. Of course, once we actually go for the bike ride, you usually end up enjoying it, and thinking “why don’t we do that more often?"


That’s pretty much how she sees sex.

I laughed for a good week when she told me that, and then asked her to write all my future novels because really, I can’t top that.

I can relate though. Not to the sex part, and not even to the bike ride (though I don’t generally do both at once – the seat is just too small).

There have been several times in recent weeks where I’ve found myself looking at writing that way. I know I like it. I know it’ll feel good once I get going, and even better at the end.

But the thought of trudging into the other room, stripping off my clothes, and exerting all that effort just sounds so cumbersome at times.

It isn’t always like that, and certainly there are moments where I’m hurling myself at the computer in an urgent frenzy, murmuring words of passion as I stroke the keyboard with desperate yearning.

But there are moments I think there’s a fortune to be made in the author’s equivalent of Viagra.

It helps to think of the bike ride (OK, I’d rather think of the sex, but I’m trying to be PC here). I sweet-talk myself into doing it, secure in the knowledge that I’ll have a good time once I get going. I’ve loved it before, I’ve loved it the majority of the time, and if I just push myself past the “I don’t wanna” stage, it won’t be long before I'm saying, “oh yeah, baby!”

Do any of you deal with this? I’m not talking about your sex lives (though I guess you can share that if you want to). I’m talking about writing, or really any task that requires an exercise in self-motivation. What tricks do you use to prompt yourself to get naked and sweaty (metaphorically speaking)?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve piqued my own curiosity. I’ve gotta go see if there’s some way to pull off that naked bike ride thing with a laptop on the handlebars.

33 comments :

Dawn said...

Ah ha ha! Fabulous analogy! I'll be smiling all day. Thanks.

I have days when I love the writing process, but more often I much prefer "having written."

Karla Nellenbach said...

I know exactly how you feel! I get the "oh, gee, I'm not sure I want to" whenever I finish one project and am looking at another. I LOVE shiny new ideas...I just hate writing beginnings. You know? **sigh**

PS...the neighbors will really have something to talk about when they see you and P having fake bike sex!

muffintopmommy said...

Hellz yeah! Must be something going around. I was just chatting with a writer-y friend the other day and we were both saying we're kind of in little slumps. I love to write more than almost anything (ahem), but it's been more chore like to get going lately. I think for me it's because I have to make time for it at night. ANd you know, night time comes with many distractions....tv, TWITTER (!), the gym (ugh). Good to know I'm not alone and that even the pros have their days. :)

Sierra Godfrey said...

I can always count on you to bring sex and writing together, Tawna. Nice one. Yes I feel like this often, but the good part is exactly what you mean -- knowing yourself and your habits enough to know that it'll be okay in the end, and that this is just one of those things you have to deal with along the way.

For people who are just starting out writing, this can be very discouraging and they may mistake it for an absolute. That's why we must write, write, write and with every bit more that we write, we learn.

Someday we might actually figure out what we're doing. (Let me know if you have!)

Debs Riccio said...

So funny - and so true! For all three exertions - must be true of most things. I guess the only spur-on I could come up with is 'you KNOW it's going to make you feel better - just Do It' (or has Nike already nabbed that one?). Love the blog. Keep up the great work!

Jen Stayrook said...

I am like this when it comes to going to the gym, writing, waking up, work, pretty much everything but the sex. Yes, THE sex. With most things I have to force myself to do it. With the gym, I trick myself mentally. Oh, I'm just putting on these shorts because it's hot outside. These tennis shoes are just comfortable to walk in. I need to go to the grocery store, oh look! The gym! Well, I'm already dressed and out, might as well stop by. But let's face it, even this is rare occurrence.

When it comes to writing, however, if I'm particularly clammed up, I drink. Sure sure call me boozy or any other names you like, but it loosens me up and hey, I love wine. I know you aren't judging. (Drinks with Linda G?) I think the key is to not work yourself up to write, then there's less of a worry about getting naked and sweaty. One piece at a time and soon you'll be riding bikes naked with a laptop in no time.

Patrick Alan said...

Hey! I'm glad that we've been doing it together the past few weeks. I was doing it alone for a while, but that gets old, you know what I mean?

Bethany Mason said...

Can totally relate to this post (not the bike ride, just the sex and writing) as often I just cba but am trying to force myself without making myself lose my love of writing (I couldn't never lose my love of sex) and hope my enthusiasm will suddenly spark which usually happens just as I'm starting an new project. Maybe that's why I never finish anything?

Janelle said...

And I joined in the fun last night... so there were three of us doing it together! Totally hot, right??

This is exactly how I've been feeling/behaving the last few months! In fact, I wrote more last night than I have in almost two months!! (And can I just say how GOOD it felt!!!)

Love you and your little blog too!! :o)

Elizabeth Ryann said...

Does taking your clothes off in order to write help? Because I totally suffer from this, and that's an interesting trick that I haven't heard before.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Great post! You always know what to write to make people (including me) laugh.
It is often difficult for me to get started, mostly because I think too much about what I'm going to write. I keep thinking about how I don't have any more ideas or how what I wrote the day before totally sucked. But once I start writing, it's easier, because then it's more about the writing and less about my worries.

Linda G. said...

You know I'm with you on this analogy! ;)

Harley May said...
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Harley May said...

Ahem. I love sex. And writing. I'll be bolder and more honest than normal because it's your blog, Tawna. Your readers expect outrageous things.

I've mentioned this before, but my problem with writing is finding the time, not the desire. The same is true of sex.

To make writing easier on me, I always have my computer on and my WIP up. If I can find 5 minutes to write, I will write. I do something similar with sex. Panties. It's a lot easier to have sex without them. Just saying. You expedite the process with that one step.

Harley May said...

I'd like to apologize to my parents.

Danica Avet said...

I do have to coax myself into writing sometimes. It's more like "Aw man! Awwwww man! Do I hafta write? Now? Why not tomorrow? Tomorrow will be a better creative day for me. The planets are aligned better for me tomorrow. I'll go to bed early tonight so I'm refreshed and thinking straight tomorrow. I'll brainstorm tonight and be ready to stroke the keyboard tomorrow."

Then tomorrow arrives and...I do the same thing over again. Granted, sometimes it's just impossible to write due to real life intrusions or the metaphysical spike through my head that spills my creative juices all over my pillow when I go to sleep. Eh.

But! When I can have that keyboard all to myself with my trusty sidekick at my side (my MP3 player), I experience an orgy of writing! 6k words, 8k words, 11k words (only done once and I was so sore after - from sitting still so long- I never did it again)!! Then I'm all wrung out for days.

jill said...

Hmmm. I always *want* to write. Sit at the keyboard with WIP open. Know what the next scene is going to be (been working it out in my head for two weeks now!) but keep getting stuck on those silly transistion paragraphs. Gotta get MC to the right place in the right time without my crit group complaining about my white-room-itis.

Ooh - new blog post! And Twitter is open. I'll just read those while I let that next paragraph jell in my subconscious.

Sorry I missed out on the 1hr-1k challenge last night (had just gotten home from work). And thank you for your blog and twitter posts! can't wait for your books to come out so I can read them all.

Patrick Alan said...

Harley May - did your parents by you a lot of panties that you don't wear?

Terry Stonecrop said...

Haha. Love the author Viagra!!! Someone could make a fortune on that.

Lynda Elkin said...

I'm holding my sides and wiping away tears while David Cassidy's song 'I think I love you' runs through my mind(Shhh..don't tell my husband). Oh girl, you kill me. Thanks for that.

I hate ALL forms of exercise but have to do it in order to stay employed. Still working on methods to trick myself into sweating on purpose. No luck yet.

Harley May said...

Patrick, my parents raised me better than this. They deserve a daughter who wears panties.

Hi Tawna.

Patty Blount said...

*nods vigorously* Agree on all parts (sad, ain't it?). I hate working out but am often glad I did after the fact. And lately, writing has been making me feel the same way. I suspect it's because I've got waaaay too much going on right now. OK. I'm praying it's because I've got too much going on right now.

Aw, hell. Is there Viagra for writers? Oh. That's why I eat chocolate.

Kelly Breakey said...

Great post.

I guess my question is this. Do all writers feel this way? Because for me writing is something that I yearn for. If I am at work I am thinking about getting home to do "it". I am the preverbial 16 year old male who has stumbled into puberty. (Okay maybe 16 is too old, but I am not a guy.)

My puberty is writing and I cannot get enough of it. Once a day is not enough. I think about it when I am not doing it. I want to be doing it when I am not doing it. When I am doing it I am already thinking about the next time I get to do it?

Please Tawna, please. (I am going for full drama here!) Tell me, that feeling will never go away.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I'm still laughing too hard at Harley May to type...

But I agree with her in principle (the presence or absence of my own panties shall remain a mystery to all of you) - whatever I can do to ease myself into writing, I do. I have a ritual I follow - the timing, the pattern, the music. I start with just one word, one sentence, no pressure. Before long I'm streaming along. But if I think about it too much? No no no

Simon C. Larter said...

You can also use chain lube for all three activities.

And Harley? I don't wear panties either.

Tawna Fenske said...

Dawn, I'm totally with you on enjoying the "having written" part best of all. I'm especially this way with movies. There are a million movies I would like to "have seen," but I honestly don't like watching movies at all -- I just want the memory of them to magically appear in my brain.

Karla, just tried the naked bike thing. Can you talk to the police for me please?

muffintopmommy, I'm especially prone to this sort of slump when I hit the point in my story where I have a million balls in the air but no idea where most will land. Once I start to figure that out, I usually begin to pick up speed.

Sierra, pretty sure I'll NEVER figure out what I'm doing :)

Debs, pretty sure Nike was talking to writers, not athletes!

Jen, are you on Twitter? If so, you should join us sometime for a #1k1hr challenge. That, combined with a glass or 12 of wine, is a great way to force yourself to go when you don't want to.

Patrick, and speaking of #1k1hr, here's the man! Thanks for that, by the way.

Bethany, that's the trick, isn't it? Forcing yourself to do it without making it something you grow to despise. A fine balance indeed!

Janelle, we definitely have to do another #1k1hr challenge soon! It's saving my word counts right now, I can tell you that much.

Elizabeth, if naked writing gets the job done, you go, girl!

Neurotic Workaholic, I usually ease myself in by editing whatever I wrote the day before. Then it feels more natural to just keep going with new words.

Linda G, oh yes, you of the mighty striptease :)

Harley May, no panties, got it. Maybe I should just skip clothes altogether? Then again, I kinda hate it when my butt sticks to my chair.

Danica, "an orgy of writing," I like that!

Jill, I'm bad with the distractions, too. "I'll just check that one tweet. Hmmm...I wonder if so-and-so has a new blog post up." I could do that for hours.

Terry, or is author viagra just wine? I forget.

Lynda, what is your job that you have to exercise to stay employed? That sounds interesting!

Harley May (again), my mother loves the comments more than my actual blog posts, and right now she's sitting there thinking, "wait, do I deserve a daughter who wears panties?" The answer, Mom, is that you do not.

Patty, chocolate, wine, Viagra...pick your poison, really.

Kelly, interesting question you raise. Are you married? There are probably some similarities between long marriages and long writing careers. Do you want to jump your spouse 24/7 forever and ever until you both die? Probably not, but there are times when this is the case, right? Er, you don't actually have to answer that.

Jeffe, it's writing foreplay, if you will!

Simon, so you're saying you don't wear Harley May's unused panties? What a waste.

Thanks for reading, guys!
Tawna

Jen Stayrook said...

Tawna, I AM on Twitter. I'm JentheAmazing. =D Thought I'd mix it up and toss in the surname. "The Amazing" is only my middle name.

Damien Walters Grintalis said...

I'm laughing so hard my stomach hurts! This is such an awesome post. Writer's Viagra has to be caffeine. And maybe chocolate. Or cupcakes.

Damien Walters Grintalis said...
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Rhonda said...

I have the same exact issues with writing and getting my lazy arse to the gym (the sex thing not so much). Most of the time I just have to get firm with myself and remind myself that I WILL enjoy it once I get stuck in and start writing (or exercising) and I always feel amazing when I've accomplished something - whether it be writing 1,000 new words or surviving a couple miles on the treadmill without having a major cardiac episode.

By the way, I totally want to sign up for a lifetime supply of writer's Viagra!

Purple Cow said...

You don't need viagra for your blogging I see...

Thank you so much for this post and every post. You make me smile every time so much so that this blog is like viagra for humour.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

It's true, Tawna - I do like a little romance, a soft lead-in. Get me in the mood and I'm yours for hours. But wham, bam? No, thank you!

Sydnee said...

LOL. Can I steal that? I want this whole journal tapped to my writing wall.