Writing and Push-ups and Lions

should you be writing right now-

On Tuesday I begin my big writing challenge – the July NaNoWriMo write fifty thousand words or die challenge.

Which means from July 1 to July 31 I need to write a MINIMUM of 1612 words a day.

That’s an awful lot of words and I know that a lot of you folks who read this entry are going to say something along the lines of “Good job, Steve.” or “Shag it, man!” or “You’re freaking nuts!” or “You can do it!”

Some of you folks might think to yourself – “Wow. How can he do that?”

Well – for starters I don’t KNOW if I can do it successfully – but let’s assume I can.

This is how I look at this sort of writing marathon.

Writing is a little like push-ups.

Do all of you know how to do a push-up? Do you remember in high school phys ed when the teacher would explain to you how to do push-ups? He’d say something along the lines of this.

PHYS ED INSTRUCTOR – “Push-ups are easy. Just lay down face-down on the ground.”

ME – “I can do that.”

PHYS ED INSTRUCTOR – “Now set your hands down flat against the ground at a little more than shoulder-width.”

ME – “That’s easy too. My shoulders aren’t very wide. Can I take a nap while I am at it?”

PHYS ED INSTRUCTOR – “You’re supposed to be pushing up. Raise your body up from the floor. Think of your body as a straight and keep it straight while you push up.”

ME – “You want me to push-up? But I just got down here. Are you sure I’m not supposed to be taking a nap?”

At this point in the game my phys ed instructor’s face would begin to assume the color of a burning rose. I’m talking way-past-beet red, like the sun coming up while you are wearing red-tinted sunglasses and sipping on Hawaiian Punch cocktail and chewing on ripe red cherries smeared with strawberry jam.

PHYS ED INSTRUCTOR – “NO! It’s not time for a nap. You’re on the floor. Are you a worm?”

ME – “Yes sir – I am a worm, sir. I am a lowly wriggling worm who is about to take a nap.”

Which is how I first got to meet my High School principal.


Seriously, I can do an awful lot of push-ups. The way I got started was to get out of bed in the morning and do five perfect push-ups. Then come the end of the week I would add one more push-up. Are you doing the math? That’s five plus one – makes six.

(Burt and Ernie would be so proud of my mathematics)

Then – one week later I would add one more push-up.

After five weeks I was into the double digits.

And every week I would add one more push-up.

So I want you do this for me.

Sit down and write a hundred words on your novel.

Write those hundred words every morning – first thing after you get out of bed.

Come the end of the week write 110.

Just like that ancient Greek wrestler dude who started out carrying a baby lion cub around on his shoulders everyday.

Everyday that lion cub grew just a little bit bigger and that ancient Greek wrestler dude grew a little bit stronger.

Everyday that ancient Greek wrestler dude fed that lion cub a great big old t-bone steak to make sure that lion cub grew just a little bit bigger.

At the end of a year that ancient Greek wrestler dude had muscles like Schwarzenegger.

At the end of two years that ancient Greek wrestler dude looked like Samson and Hercules and Arnold Schwarzenegger had themselves a three-way tub and a love-child who liked the taste of ouzo.

Two and half years in that lion got tired of eating steak – but that’s six hundred words this morning and we’ll just that lion eat in peace.

I’m sure not going to interrupt its chewing.

Meantime get busy working on your push-ups. You never can tell when you might need to out-wrestle a lion.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS – if you want to read a bit more about CAMP NANOWRIMO – read it HERE!

2 responses to “Writing and Push-ups and Lions

  1. I think I’ll have to join you…much writing to do and I’m best with a challenge.


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