Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting Stripped

As many of you know, I've started running again. It's wonderful, thrilling, and at times, painful.

I was doing just fine until I picked up my pace. I was at a place in my training where I knew my body could do more, go faster, further.

But the faster you go, the harder your legs pound the pavement. The place where my Achilles tendon meets with the calf muscle started aching in both legs, but only when I ran. Not when I walked.

Since I go to a sports chiropractor I told him about it. He basically said, "No problem." He pulled out a little plastic tool and proceeded to RAKE my muscle over that sore spot. Let me just say, it was worse then giving birth! And yes, I've done that naturally, so I know!

I had to go to my happy place and breathe as though I were in labor. Just when I knew I couldn't stand another second, (and yes, I did scream a couple of times. Couldn't help it!) he switched to my other leg! Then went back and forth between the two. The thing is, I could totally feel where the knots were. He thought that maybe there were some little tears that had scar tissue building up and this "stripping" would get rid of those and I'd heal up.

The point is this. IT FREAKIN' HURT!

Often, we go through experiences like this in our writing careers. We write a fabulous story and it gets rejected time and time again. We take our fabulous story to a critique group and it gets raked over the coals.

So we re-write and re-write until we can't take it anymore! We go to our happy place and breathe deeply, then get back on that horse and query another publisher or agent.

Then, after all that pain, we finally get accepted. We are so happy! But the work doesn't stop there. It starts all over again on another level with your editor who's job it is to rake your story over the coals. If you're lucky, you get a good one like I have. Although, K didn't pull any punches. There were days when I thought she must think I was the biggest ding dong alive.

It was hard not to feel like an idiot, a child, and a failure. I was embarrassed that my writing was so "bad" and she knew it. But the pain doesn't last forever! Just like my chiropractor quit stripping, my editor did too.

Now, she praises my revisions! Loves where my story is heading. It's like manna to a starving soul.

The moral of the story is . . . don't stop when it hurts! If you do, you'll never get the scar tissue out! You'll never be able to run at full capacity! You HAVE to go through that hard stuff to be even better! Think Olympic novelist! That is your potential. To be one of the best! If an Olympic athlete quit when it got hard, they'd never make it!

Good luck and keep going, because just when you think you're going to die, you won't!


KarenG said...

Love your analogy. The one good thing about going through that with your editor, especially a tough one like Kristine, is knowing that you're under contract and it's all for a good cause!

Julie said...

Wow, Melissa. Talk about enduring. You are a great example of moving forward and enduring. Thanks for the blog.

Caledonia Lass said...

Excellent post! I've been raked over the coals so much, I think I have callouses. :D

You don't ever get used to them, though. If you did, you'd never grow as a writer and strive to be better.

Theresa Milstein said...

My husband would appreciate this post, since he's a runner and keeps getting injured from running.

It must be wonderful to get an agent or contract, but I keep reading that the work (and the pain) doesn't stop there. It must be nice to know that at least you're doing something right - they believe in your work, even if you have to tweak it. Or overhaul it.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

or rewrite it completely.

M. Gray said...

Okay, you're a crazy endurance runner AND a novelist. I'm trying not to get intimidated by thee, overachiever! hehe

Chantele said...

Awesome post. I really needed this today. No wonder authors have to develop a "tough skin".:)

Aubrie said...

This is a great anology! I always stop whe it hurts when I'm exercising! But not when I'm writing. What does that say about me? I can take metal pain but not physical? hmmm.

L.T. Elliot said...


This post rocks! Thank you! I'm being "stripped" right now and it hurts something fierce. I'm hoping I can keep running through it.

Jayne said...

Gosh I love your last sentence! I think I should print that out and stick it to my computer somewhere. Olympic novelist – wow… I need to believe that I will get there one day. But it’s a great goal, isn’t it? Thanks for this!

Charity Bradford said...

Yay! another runner/writer. The analogies we could pull from running are endless.

Joanne said...

Great comparison. I'm a walker and don't experience the endurance a runner might. But I think that when we get to that place that can make or break us is when it's most important to press on. Often it's that next lap that holds some reward.

Kate said...

My sister is reading "Chi Running" and loving it. It tells how to prevent most running injuries she says. It's on my list to read--after the baby when I start running again.

Great post.

Jennie said...

very impressive... i think you make perfect sense!!


Old Kitty said...


I just came over to say hello and am so glad cos I needed to read this!!

Writing = No pain no gain!!

Thank you for your wise and wonderful words.

Take care

T.J. Carson said...

I love the metaphor, very reassuring!!!

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