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Saturday, June 03, 2017

Clearing Hurdles

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I learned a valuable lesson a few nights ago. I’m not as young as I used to be.

After an emotional past few months (the hospitalization and death of my father-in-law, selling and buying a house, trying to juggle clients, and generally keeping everyone in my house, including two kids and two dogs, content and happy), I’m sapped. I also let my workout routine slide, and now I’m expected to squeeze back into a bathing suit and pretend a few extra pounds aren’t there. So I’ve been trying to ramp back up on exercise. We went to a local park so my son could shoot some hoops on the basketball court and I could go for a walk around the park with my mom and my daughter. We stopped at the track, where my daughter eyed the hurdles she’s been curious about and mentioned trying them out. A long, long, LONG time ago, I ran track in high school and had a little bit of experience with hurdles.

I explained that at first you have a mental block and stop short of the hurdle. But first you have to make sure you can clear the hurdle first so you don’t get tangled up in it and collide with the asphalt. I demonstrated a few times, jumping higher and higher through the air. She tried a few times, but got scared, so I advised on practicing her jumps beside the hurdle first. After that, the endorphins must have been kicking in, because I challenged her to a short race down one side of the track. This was a bad idea, because my daughter is ridiculously fast. By the time we finished, I was nowhere close to her and my left knee was throbbing. I knew immediately I had pushed myself too hard.

Sometimes we have to clear hurdles with our writing, too. For me, it’s keeping track of my deadlines, sending out invoices, making sure all important appointments are scheduled on my phone, knowing when and where my kids have to be, and so forth. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing, but I’m hoping with the start of summer, maybe some of my obstacles will become easier to hurdle. If I try to rush on writing projects like I tried to rush on my workout I’ll end up with a jumbled mess, or make careless errors. But I also know I have to tackle some of these hurdles head on, painful as they are, such as clearing out my e-mail inbox which has been piling up since probably last fall.

And I guess I should probably stay off the track for awhile, too. I’m lucky I only have a sore knee, and not much worse. I’ll ease back into writing just like I need to ease back into fitness, one day at a time.

Do you have any hurdles in your life or career that you need to clear before you can get back to the business of writing? 

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who finally has her home office unpacked and plans to get back to some much-neglected manuscripts this summer.


  1. I used to run long distance hurdles in high school track. I always felt like puking after every race. I can't imagine trying them now! Good for you for giving them a shot, Renee, and I hope your knee is okay.

    My hurdles coach was a short guy--and you know how tall guy's hurdles are--and since I was pretty short too, he taught me a trick to knocking them down if I didn't want to clear them or was too tired. It didn't eat up any extra time, you weren't penalized for it, and it was a good shortcut.

    Sometimes when I'm overwhelmed and trying to clear some hurdles, shortcuts can help. Like purposely letting my email pile up, then opening one junk email sender, clicking the sender's email and searching all, and then deleting them all at once. Or recycling ideas. A couple of days ago I realized I signed up for a writing class at the beginning of the year and it starts Monday. It couldn't be worse timing, since I'm organizing a huge event and have a lot going on with both of my businesses right now, but I've already committed to it. So it's going to force me to write for the next six weeks. I imagine I'll be prioritizing my schedule around this writing time.

  2. I am really really trying to clear the hurdle of not working on my fiction on a regular basis. This past month, I've done pretty well and made progress but it is not easy!


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