Wednesday 8th November 2017

There’s a reason I try to progress the swordfighting and writing in parallel.

Back in the summer of 2016 I was incredibly frustrated with my swordfighting.  I’d put in a solid 6 months of hard effort to try and become decent.  I was doing OK and improving but I was far from the best despite being one of the most regular students.  But in February of 2016 I’d stepped it up and put in even more effort, in the hope that I would see improvements to bring me up to the level of the best of the school.

But come August 2016 I’d seen no improvement.  I was doing terrible in competition, I was still lagging behind everyone else despite all the effort.

I had a moment when I wanted to give up.  All this effort had been for nothing.  I’d worked so hard  and was so gutted that I had nothing to show for it.

I feel a bit like that with Black As Knight currently.  I’ve worked on that novel for over 2 years and still I have friends asking if they’ll ever get to read it.  I’ve made so many sacrifices to prioritise it:  friendships, relationships, career.  I know we need to make it perfect and the frustration is very much centred on myself and my inability to create a novel that’s good enough.  Like my swordfighting, I’m feeling a little frustrated at all the hard work and little reward.

BUT… last summer, I didn’t give up my swordfighting.  I had a brief moment where I felt sorry for myself and then I carried on.  I was aware that perhaps I wasn’t being patient enough, that I was expecting results too quickly.

It wasn’t until that fall, some additional three months later that I got my first medal.  And from that time, a year ago, I’ve constantly grown and improved.

And this is why I progress the swordfighting and the writing in parallel.  Because I can look at my frustration with my writing and point to that time last summer when I felt the same way about my swordfighting.  And I can take from that experience that I’m just not being patient enough, that I need to allow myself more time.

But even more than that, I can ignore the frustration.  With my swordfighting last summer, I ignored my frustration with my swordfighting by burying myself in the edits to Black as Knight.  I still kept training and doing everything I was doing, but I put my mental focus on the writing, and had all the training I was doing as background noise.

Likewise, these last few weeks I’ve been very focused on tournaments.  It’s allowed me to put my focus elsewhere instead of getting frustrated.

Of course, the experience has taught me that I’m just being impatient with my writing.  I just need to keep my head down and continue working away.  Because at some point there’ll be a breakthrough and all that hard work will pay off.  I can’t dictate when that will be but all I know is that if I continue to work away, it will happen.

My swordfighting and writing inform each other and I’ve found it such a help to drive me forward… because the real progress isn’t made on days when it’s easy, it’s made on days when it’s tough.

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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