After about 2 months of working out, training, and happily sweating off about 25 lbs, I finally tested last Saturday and earned my second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Of course, one of the best aspects of that was the fact that my six-year old son was there to watch it. He seemed more interested in his iPad for the most part, but took notice sometimes when Daddy got up for sparring, grappling, and board breaking. What dad doesn't like to succeed in front of his child?
For the most part, I've done no writing or editing work on my own projects during this time, but I'm hoping to change that some now. In some ways, I think this break is good for me as a writer. I'm in the best shape I've been in for a few years, I have a renewed sense of self-confidence because of what I have just achieved, and now I can come back and look at my projects with a fresher perspective.
I know some people who seem so dedicated to their writing that there's no room for anything else. I don't think that's good for anyone. Too much focus on one thing will lead to burnout and frustration that much faster. Don't be impatient. Sometimes it will help writing to walk away from it and do something else. Some science fiction writers are former military. I've seen how some writers are also artists or have other hobbies.
Another consideration is that I believe that my martial arts training helps my credibility as a writer. I remember in writing workshops hearing people say, "Write what you know." Incorporating outside interests into writing helps the credibility of a story, and makes associated research easier/more pleasurable (less like "work"). Also, think of your favorite writers. When reading the bio on the backs of the books, how often do you see that they've had military service, or other activities where their expertise shows clearly in their writing? As a reader, does that make you more interested in the author than if the book bio simply listed a college and no "life experiences?"
Personally, I like reading good books written by interesting people. I'd be very proud to include things in an author bio as: former member of the United States Army. 2nd Degree Tae Kwon Do Black Belt (maybe 3rd by the time I actually publish). Of course, my most important credential is, and always will be, Daddy.
Get out, take on the world and