Tag Archives: exercise

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The Incredible Motivating Power of Hamilton

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with running. In elementary school, I dreaded running laps in gym class, and tried to come up with as many excuses as possible to get out of the mile run test. The first time I finished the test without stopping, I thought I was having a heart attack. I avoided running as much as possible from then on. Still, I’d always get a little envious of my friends on the cross country team. A nice run in the woods after school seemed appealing, but at what cost? I knew I was never going to be a runner, so I never actively pursued it.
Until last week.

Last Friday I woke up early and went to the gym, as I usually aspire to do 2 to 3 times a week. As most of my usual cardio machines were taken, I went for the treadmill. I started running. And then I kept running. After a while I realized I had run a full mile, and I didn’t feel like I was about to collapse and die. “Who am I?” I thought. “Are we in the end times?”

This dramatic change of character was all (well, at least 80%) thanks to the release of the Hamilton original cast recording. As I made my way through each brilliantly-written, produced and performed number, I just wanted to keep going. I was involved in the show, reliving each scene and step in my head. Once I finished up my whole walk/run cardio portion, I actually felt really good and ready to take on the day. Weird, right?

There’s something about this show that makes me want to do something. Alexander Hamilton, or at least the version portrayed in Hamilton, was incredibly prolific throughout his relatively short life. He was always working on something, writing like he was “running out of time.” He wrote 51 of the 85 essays that make up the Federalist Papers, over the course of six months. That amount of writing of that caliber blows my mind. I’ll be impressed if I write that many blog posts over the next six months.

I first saw Hamilton in previews at the Public Theater back in January (#humblebrag). I cried profusely at the end, which almost never happens. It is amazing to watch something come together over 6 years, even if it’s just as a bystander on the internet. But I didn’t know it was going to be that good. More than that, it came into my life at a time when I really needed it. I was just starting out in a new job and wasn’t sure where it was going to take me. When a new assistant position opened up, “My Shot” started playing on a loop in my head and I knew I had to go for it. And I’m incredibly glad I did.

So thank you, Lin-Manuel, for sharing this story. I know I’ll keep coming back to this cast recording for years when I need a kick in the pants, words of comfort, or just something to dance around to in my apartment. And, of course, it will always be in heavy rotation at the gym.

Senior Project | In the Immortal Words of Tom Haverford…

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I passed my roommate in the hall on my way back from the gym this morning. We shared an awkward, “Oh, haha, you’re going to the gym? I just went to the gym!” exchange, and then she mentioned that I’d lost a lot of weight. I’m never quite sure how to react to these kind of comments, so I laughed a little and gave her a confused “thank you” before ducking back into my apartment. She’s right, though. I recently started running, I’m generally more active, and I cut soda out of my diet (for the most part). I’m doing the work and seeing results. Feels good, man.

What does this have to writing? Quite a bit, actually. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been integrating some better habits into my writing routine. I say “writing routine” like I had one before. Writing 20 pages the night before a deadline definitely doesn’t count as a “routine”. For one thing, I started blocking out time in my schedule to work on my script, usually one or two hours a day. If that time is in my Google Calendar, I’ll usually stick to it, regardless of where I am that day. While I still enjoy the occasional page dump, it’s a lot less stressful to chip away at a script a few pages at a time. I also find it much more productive to work at a desk or table rather than splayed out on my bed. When your bed is the centerpiece of your tiny room, it’s pretty hard to ignore the temptation to get under the covers and write. I for one can’t sleep and type at the same time, so my bed isn’t a particularly productive place.

The most important part is just doing the work. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but scripts don’t write themselves. There are some days when writing is fun and some days when it feels like a chore. I’m learning to power through those crappier days. I never quite felt like I deserved the grades I got in high school and college because I didn’t feel like I was working hard for them. In a lot of ways, I was skating by on natural talent. I can’t really do that right now. I’m happy with my first drafts of my episodes, but they’re far from done. Rewriting isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary.

46 days til graduation. YIKES.