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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Knowing When to Strike

I haven't been as well as I'd have liked this past month. The dirty laundry that has thankfully resolved itself was very stressful and had a negative impact on my energy levels. I had to miss sword class for all of September. Now, however, I'm doing much better and I'm ready to feel strong again.

Tonight was my first sword class back. It was a sweaty affair and I had to remember some basics (and some things my body never forgot), but I came away feeling fantastic. I'll be feeling it tomorrow, of course, but it's the good kind of pain. Not only did I have an intense workout, but during the combat part at the end of the night, when we all donned masks and gorg├ęs and paired off to fight each other, a classmate of mine uttered an absolute gem:

"You've gotta recognize when you've gained the sword and have the advantage, and then you need to strike."

For context: "gaining the sword" is when you have control over your opponent's sword (due to the position of the blades and the strength of said position). Part of the exercise involved constructively criticizing each other's work, and my classmate noticed a key mistake: there were times when I had him dominated, but I didn't strike. This gave him a chance to disengage and gain my sword.

Oh. ... Oh.

I haven't been striking because I haven't had the confidence to strike. I haven't believed that I had the advantage, but I have. All I need is an attitude shift. When the advantage is staring me in the face and I don't grab it, I'm only doing a disservice to myself.

So when I've been successful with many recent writing endeavors and yet continue to hesitate about actually submitting my work, the only one who pays the price is me.

You could say that this post is mostly a reaffirmation of what I was talking about last week, about how I feel I've been dawdling and hesitating about submitting my work because I lack confidence, and how it's not getting me anywhere. But I definitely I needed to hear my classmate's words, because the minute he spoke them, things clicked.

I may not know what will come of things once I send out my WIP (which is now down to seven things I need to fix, and boy am I glad for the coming long weekend), but I'm feeling pretty good about it. I need to put myself out there.

Otherwise, my nasty opponents Fear and Self Doubt will get the chance to disengage and strike.