“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” – Hemingway
As I continue to slog my way through the depths of re-writing (read: despair), I’ve been thinking about the above quote a lot. Not just in terms of learning to write in order to become a great writer, but also in terms of working and re-working a story in order to make it a great story. Kind of like: “It’s none of their business that you had to re-write this entire story seventeen times. Let them think it came out this way.”
My book is (too) long at the moment, which makes the re-writing seem like it has no end in sight. But there will be an end – I have it all planned out. Now it just comes down to putting in the hours to get there.
Which has made me think a lot about some other quotes that have inspired me lately.
My girlfriend and I recently binged all of the CrossFit documentaries that have come out in the past few years, centered around ‘Fittest on Earth’ and ‘The Redeemed and the Dominant’, which cover the 2016 and 2017 CrossFit Games respectively.
You absolutely don’t have to like CrossFit to be impressed by these athletes. The work they put in across the year in order to compete at the championships is astounding. And a few quotes by the current champion (he’s won each of the last 3 years) has stuck with me.
“I’m gonna do today what other people aren’t willing to. So I can do tomorrow, what other people can’t.” – Mat Fraser
In the movie, Mat then goes on to talk about how amazing it feels to win the CrossFit games, but how in the end nobody in the stands or watching on television knows or sees what he goes through across the year just to get to that point. He talks about the 6am wake-ups, the 3+ grueling workouts per day, the physical pain of pushing to new limits (some of this impressive work is shown in the documentary). He grinds through things that feel terrible on his body multiple times a day for an entire year in order to win an event that takes place across just four days. Then he goes back to work, beginning his training again for an event that is an entire year away.
These kinds of things inspire me right now. They motivate me as I work 8-10 hours a day doing what I would call ‘Mind-Numbing, Soul-Crushing, Grunt Work’. I’m not a world champion fitness professional, but just like Mat, the payoff and incredible feeling of accomplishment that will come from the work I’m doing are almost further down the road than I can currently see. Watching how other people grind through things they don’t want to do helps me understand that the work I’m doing isn’t too hard, isn’t taking too long, isn’t too much. Yes I can work those extra two hours today. That’s not too much for me.
We all have the capacity to push through things we don’t necessarily want to do, because the reward at the end is always worth it if you’re doing something you’re passionate about.
And besides, at least I’m not running a half-marathon, lifting hundreds of pounds over and over, rowing five miles, and then doing an hour of hill-sprints all in the same day.