Masochism is a valuable job skill — Chuck Palahniuk
Masochism isn’t just a valuable job skill. It’s valuable for life.
I’ve always considered myself a bit of a masochist when it comes to things I do for fun or things I am passionate about. I might even consider myself a masochist when it comes to matters of the heart which is why being single will always seem to be the best option for me. But enough of that.
This past weekend, I participated in my first CrossFit competition. It was held at the box I go to and it was a friendly competition between two boxes. Even though there were prizes up for grabs, the whole intent of the competition was to have fun.
Let’s be honest, I had fun. The movements in the WODS were not unfamiliar. But man, when you put certain movements together, something is bound to happen and your body will, at some point, bitch at you for all its worth.
There were three WODs – four if you managed to score well enough to make it to the finals. Thank god, I didn’t make the finals. I might be a masochist but my body is only willing to put up with so much.
Out of the three WODs, the second WOD was the most taxing. It was pretty much a cardio-centred WOD. For those who love cardio, easy peasey. Although, I didn’t hear anyone say they loved that one all that much. That WOD burned. Every major muscle group burned. You could call it a full-body burn. I don’t ever remember my thighs burning the way they did after I was done. Throw me into a tub of ice, why don’t ya.
The third WOD was easier to move through because it was about muscular endurance. I tolerate that quite well. As I frequently tell/joke with my fellow CrossFitters, I ‘turtle’ my way through WODs. I just tell myself to keep moving regardless of how slow I may be going.
I won’t bore you with the specific movements that are associated with the WODs. All you need to know is that I’m kind of sore.
But there is one very positive takeaway from doing the competition. My right shoulder survived the workouts. And judging by the muscle soreness, I engaged the proper muscles that protected and prevented the shoulder from going sideways on me.
That is huge. But that doesn’t mean I can get sloppy. I can’t get sloppy because it’s too easy to injure myself again and undo the work I’ve been slowly and diligently putting in.
Participating as an athlete in a competition isn’t the only example of masochism I willingly inflict upon myself.
Writing can be like that too. Yeah, I guess it can be painful. But I think it’s a necessary kind of pain. It’s not the kind of pain you back away from. It’s kind of pain that can be managed and be pleasurable depending where you are in the writing process. But I think you could say that about anything you’re passionate about.
It’s becoming quite clear to me that any sort of down time between major writing projects has me crawling out of my skin. I had mentioned in the last blog that I discovered an online community where I could examine ideas and concepts that I hadn’t really explored in my fiction writing yet. I get to play in my sandbox free from judgement, free to experiment, free to be curious. I get to do this while reminding myself why writing/storytelling is one of the things I love to do and need to do. And it will also be a reminder to me how much fun writing can be and should be despite the moments things don’t want to come together harmoniously.
One of the things I worry about is, intentionally or unintentionally, losing or tamping down the passion and the fun that comes with creating stories.
Built into the process of creating something is the joy of discovering something about your characters and learning what makes them tick. Within that same process, you discover a lot about yourself – what makes you tick, what are the kinds of risks you’re willing to creatively take into order to tell a story the way it should be told.
I love discovering things about the characters I work with. I love discovering things about myself that had always, for one reason or another, had been lying dormant waiting for the right moment to awaken and roar with ferocity.
The masochistic part of writing is not the act of creating. The masochistic part is trying to juggle two or more projects and spend time at any given moment with any of these projects and keep the momentum with each one moving forward.
For whatever reason, I’m bound and determined to master this particular form of organized chaos.
So, here I am, with a nice little pile of projects to play with. And I couldn’t be happier.
Now, if I could only get my writing life and my actual life to live together in harmony.