I’ve been trying to get back on the writing horse again after a really crappy period of work, external commitments and injury (torn ligaments in my knee this time as a result of a very slippery rock near a waterfall). As usual my first attempts are to try to go back to the same pace I was maintaining before everything fell over, and as usual the results are proving to be a little inconsistent.
Then I remembered something that the dog trainer said at puppy pre-school (no I’m not kidding, we all went to dog training classes when we bought Kirra, our silky terrier X mini-poodle). We had reached that point in the class where we were demonstrating how well we had established the basic training, such as getting her to sit, stay etc. I was getting her to sit, then moving quite a distance across the room to see how far I could stretch the training in terms of getting her to stay. The trainer said, ‘No. Train for success. Don’t try to push the boundaries or ‘test’ the training. Reinforce the training from the point where you know you will succeed.’
I thought about this a lot at the time, and realised that I always do this to myself. I always establish something that works and immediately try to push the boundaries, to extend what I am doing or add something new. In a way I am always ‘testing’ myself, driving myself.
This little incident in training came back to me this morning as I was scribbling down some thoughts in my journal (I love using pen and paper – seems to provoke a different way of thinking). I realised that I needed to train myself for success. It sounds basic but I needed to gradually re-introduce myself back into the world I was creating, to build back up to the same sort of intensity I had achieved. In essence I had to give myself some ‘writer treats’ – Dog Biscuits for the Hungry Mind – to reward myself and reinforce my success.
How do you reward yourself for staying in the chair? Or is being in your world reward enough?