On pit stops and filling the tank

Posted: October 7, 2015 in Writing
Tags: , , ,

If you are going through hell, keep going‘Leave nothing in the tank,’ my gym instructor pants as we enter Dante’s ninth circle of suffering at the end of a hellish fifty-minute ride class.

She’s killing me. My heart broke free of my chest two tracks ago, my lips are peeled back in a rictus of agony, my leg muscles are screaming. Yet I know from experience that this is the moment to push harder, dig deeper, and find that last lick of energy at the bottom of the barrel.

We finish hard and fast. Because endorphins don’t come cheap (and because I know there will be chocolate tonight).

This is the cycle – go hard, empty the tank, then refuel, to go further next time.

In writing and in life, I’ve learned to go hard even when I don’t feel like it – especially when I don’t feel like it – because that’s where the rewards are found.

When I look back on some of my toughest times writing – a scathing manuscript appraisal before I was published and two grueling structural edits on Intruder – I am grateful that I didn’t give up. That I pushed through.

It has taken six  years and four books to learn that persistence pays. In the past twelve months, I’ve been invited to four Writers Festivals, two educational conferences, three Writer-in-Residencies and I’ve spoken to more than five thousand students from more than fifty schools.

I’m grateful for every opportunity, but after this year’s eight-week long Book Week, the tank was officially empty. So I cut myself some slack. Ubud, Bali

While hubba hubby was off surfing in the Maldives, I took myself and the three youngest on a family holiday.

We read books. Chased waterfalls. Mountain biked down a volcano. Rode elephants. Walked down and back up a thousand steps to go rafting. Cooked and ate Balinese food. Laughed and had fun.

The tank is officially refilled. And now I’m ready to go hard again.

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Gitgit Falls

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Comments
  1. Dimity Powell says:

    Chris, put simply, you’re inspiring. (Said without a scrap of smaltz I hope) Your tank top-up sounds divine and just the ticket. Trouble is when a car’s tank runs empty, the car sensibly stops. When our tanks run dry, we stupidly push on, sometimes with disastrous results. I admire the line you identify between the two and hope I’m am smart enough to recognise it.

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