Gaining Perspective

I’m posting earlier than usual because I need an early night tonight. All of the finishing touches have been added to Sanchin and now I must wait for my (hopefully) final proof copy to arrive. Once that has been approved, Sanchin will be on its own.

The last couple of weeks have been quite overwhelming. I never, in a million years, expected the positive response I’ve received so far. My only hope now, is that anyone who reads Sanchin will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thank you to everyone on the HarperCollins Authonomy site for your valuable comments and insights and for helping me to make Sanchin a better book. And a very special thank you to Chris for allaying my biggest fear and for spurring me on to finish.

Today has been a slow day. It has felt strange not having the pressure to get something finished. I even managed to get some exercise. My training has suffered badly recently, so has my diet, my fluid intake and my sleeping pattern.

Perhaps this crazy need to work to the point of self-destruction effects all writers to some degree, I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t much like the way I feel right now.

Emotionally I am on a high. Having finally finished the book, and having received such a wonderful response has given me a real boost. But physically I feel tired and drained.

As a much needed break from my own writing I’ve been following Chris’s blog and reading some material sent to me by a fellow writer. Both talk about karate and training and, while the inspiration has been there to get out and do it, the will has not.

This was a shock to me as, since discovering Kyokushin Karate, my motivation to be the best I possibly could had always been high. The last time my training suffered, it was due to a lack of ability rather than a lack of will. A severe bout of glandular fever left me with a post viral syndrome which, to some degree, still effects me. During this time the will was there but the ability was not.

I gained weight and lost condition, two issues I am still battling with, and I still find very frustrating.

Something changed today. I don’t know if it was finishing Sanchin or the little bit of advice I got in passing in an email but I suddenly got the urge to get outside and run.

I only did a couple of miles but it felt great. After two weeks of more or less living on chocolate and coffee and getting less than four hours sleep a night, I expected to struggle but I didn’t. I flew over those two miles and it was the best run I’ve had in months.

Okay, it got a bit weird in places but I loved it. Someone had broken a vodka bottle on the footpath and, as I always run barefoot, I jumped over a wall and into a field to pass the glass. Mistake.

First of all, the field was full of sheep. At close quarters sheep are big. No, they’re not, they’re huge! At least the one between me and the gate was. So I ran alongside the wall intending to jump back onto the path as soon as I’d passed the glass.

That would have worked nicely but for the fact that I disturbed a chicken who been tucked up at the bottom of the wall. Not wanting to kick it, I took a flying leap just as it did the same. I sort of kicked it anyway and ended up on my face in a swamp. Not a good look – a mud face mask in public. Heck, I don’t even do that in the privacy of my own bathroom.

Anyway, back to the kicked chicken. Other than freaking out and squawking a lot it seemed fine so I ignored it. But by this time I was getting bit too much attention from the sheep to be comfortable, so I quickly hopped back over the wall.

Needless to say, I took my chances with the broken glass on the way back and my feet are still in one piece.

I leaned a lot in the last mad rush to get Sanchin done. I made mistakes and I got things wrong. Yantsu will be a very different writing journey for me and, whatever happens, I will not be neglecting my health.

I’ve given up the coffee and the chocolate. I cooked today and ate a healthy meal and I’m gradually rehydrating with plenty of water. I feel much better already, and I’m looking forward to a good training session tomorrow.

If you’re still reading this, I apologise for wandering of on a bit of a waffle. Perhaps one day I’ll come back and re read this if I slip back into crazy person mode at when Yantsu gets to the editing stage.

8 thoughts on “Gaining Perspective”

  1. Chris says:

    I totally get you! There are times when you are just in disarray wondering what the hell are you doing and why,but remember no matter how tired and how stressed out you are you can never neglect your health as the effects are cumulative and will, i guarantee bite you in the arse when it gets a chance. So always eat well, sleep at least 6 hours a day and make sure you hydrate!

    And as for training the lack of will is just part and parcel of being a karateka. It is so much more difficult than people think. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches you different things each time and the exercises and even warm ups change from time to time (at least at my school) but.. Karate is almost predictable day in day out, from 10th Kyu right up to 1st Kyu, but the rewards? Wow.

    Thats why when people dont get graded many who lose the will will simply leave the art altogether. So don’t give up and Yantsu i’m sure will, and im confident from reading the first chapter so far, write itself!


    1. Karen says:

      Oh boy, Chris, you are so right about the cumulative effects of poor sleep and nutrition. Just back from today’s run. Longer one this time. I felt great while I was out there but as soon as I stopped to cross the road and get back home I felt like a truck had hit me.

      I’m still a bit shaky now but that means I can sit in front of the computer and concentrate on Yantsu πŸ™‚ Osu!!!

  2. Emil says:

    Followed you from Neil. Congrats on the completion of your book. That is a milestone that I sadly am not achieving yet!

    It is true that one can become so absorb and entrenched in writing and reading that you neglect other important areas in life – as if life itself is not a distraction! I am reminded of Petrarch, “there is no lighter or more agreeable burden that a pen.” Where there is enjoyment of fine prose and agile thought, and characters allowing insight into their deeper psyche, there be preoccupation and immersion.

    But do take care of yourself.

  3. Karen says:

    Hi Emil,

    Lovely quote, very fitting.

    Thank you. I can tell you, there were times that I thought I would never get there. But I have had so much help and encouragement from friends, family and some wonderful people I have only met online. It has been a truly rewarding experience, despite having neglected other areas of life for a while.

    I have learned a great deal from writing and completing Sanchin and I believe I will be able to find a better balance as I work on the second novel.

    I wish you luck with your own writing. Completing a book is a huge reward.

  4. Chris says:

    Osu! And if it means Yantsu will eventually come thats good news to me. And I too love Emil’s quote!

    To modify it a bit, “there is no burden like lifting your leg up to get out of a bath tub after 300 Mawashi and Mae geris!”

    LOL that was how i felt on Sunday!


    1. Karen says:

      Nice one, Chris. Reminds me of a particularly nasty K4L workout of the week.

      I might do that one again sometime πŸ™‚

  5. Emil says:

    LOL Chris, now if only I know what 300 Mawashi and Mae geris are! Probably something to do with self-defense, yes? And lots of!

  6. Karen says:

    Ah Emil, you need to read Sanchin πŸ˜‰ LOL you will learn a few martial arts terms in there.

    Mawashi geri is a roundhouse kick and mae geri is a front kick. Very tiring in high numbers and can play havoc with the walking the next day πŸ˜€

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