First Wednesday of the month means another edition of Alex J Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group. You can discover more participants here.
And speaking of Alex, his guest post on Michael Di Gesu's In Time was the inspiration of my current #IWSG post. In Alex's guest post he was discussing the importance of writers (and others) to lead a more healthy life through good diet and regular exercise. Thinking about this I was reminded of my own personal experience.
When I was a kid I was fairly active and never thought much about fitness. I roamed the canyons in San Diego, rode my bike for miles, and enjoyed physically active games like tag and kickball. The elementary school phys ed programs were not rigorous and mostly designed as fun activity to give us a break from the classroom.
Then when I hit middle school (it was called junior high back then) I was faced with the more regimented format of actual physical education classes complete with calisthenics and running laps. I couldn't keep up. I would sometimes get physically ill and even throw up if the exertion was too much.
From the start I attributed this reaction to being out of shape. The problem continued through high school. I just accepted the fact that I was not an athletic type and would always be out of shape. Instead of pushing myself into the realms of agony I learned to pace myself.
Throughout adulthood I had the problem. Sometimes if I worked too hard or pushed myself too much in an activity such as hiking, the burning in my chest, the dizziness, and the sick feeling in my belly would come back and I would have to sit down until it all subsided. Now and then I would try to discipline myself with a fitness program, but it never lasted long for me.
Into my forties the problem got worse. I could be just walking across the field to go to my kids' soccer games or even standing up to walk across a room and I would get very dizzy. I even started to have spells of blacking out. After falling and hitting my head a couple times at night when I'd awaken drenched in sweat and try to get out of bed, I decided to see a doctor.
They checked me out and ran some tests. Then they put me on the treadmill. That's when I had my heart attack. That's what I called it, but they gave it another name that I don't recall. Whatever it was, it was serious enough to have me admitted to the hospital for a couple days to recover while they ran some more tests.
The diagnosis was that I had a congenital atrial fibrillation--a heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat that had been present since birth and progressively gotten worse as I got older. This was the revelatory moment when I realized why strenuous activity had always bothered me so much. I had harbored this cardiac threat my entire life.
Fortunately a procedure called a catheter ablation was performed and I was put on a program of medications that have helped keep my condition in check. Discovering the problem in all likelihood saved my life and the treatment has allowed me to live in comfort with relative assurance that I still could have many more years ahead of me.
In my writing life I wonder if there is a potentially fatal hidden flaw that could keep me from being the caliber of writer that I aspire to be. I get a regular writing work out on my blog and in my blogging activity. I'm sure this all helps, but is it really making me a better writer?
If I had a "writing doctor" that I could go to in order to run the tests to determine if I had good writing health, that might be helpful. Pushing myself on the writer's treadmill could reveal a heretofore unrealized weakness. Is it writing characters, description, or plot? Do I have some issues with grammar or style?
I doubt whether it's all as cut and dried as that. I guess I'll just need to write and put my output before the eyes of editors and readers to see how well it works for them.
Do you wonder about the potential flaws of your own writing? Who helps you discover your writing weaknesses? How much help do you think blogging provides in making you a better writer?