I keep finding parallels between running and improv. I haven’t been doing either one long enough to be particularly proficient, but I have a three-year head start with running.
Running has given me heartbreaking injuries and heart-bursting awards; I’ve been incomprehensibly frustrated and ecstatically giddy and everything in between; after three and a half years of semi-serious pursuit, I feel like I have settled into a good groove. And almost every time I run into a mental block with improv, I realize I’ve already figured how to deal with an analogous problem in running.
- There will be good days and off days. The off days will make you want to quit, especially for the first year or two. Power through those days (gently).
- Even when the hour or two you dedicate to the session is totally miserable, remember that you’ll feel better later. Short term, you are producing all kinds of delicious neurochemicals (e.g. endorphins and adrenaline), and long term you are slowly establishing new and better cellular pathways, which will eventually make you a stronger person.
- If your warmup sucked, and 20 minutes later you still feel shitty, just go easy on yourself that day. It’s okay. There will be other days.
- Just building volume is important at the beginning, and simply doing it, whether the session is good or bad, will let you have more opportunities for good days. And the joy of the good days is why you do this, right? Remember that joy.
- Everyone does this for a different reason. No reason is better or worse than the others. Don’t judge or feel judged.
- Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Everyone picks things up at different speeds, and for all you know, they’ve been doing this a lot longer.
- Be patient with yourself. Nobody is 100% successful 100% of the time when they’re learning a new skill. (And if they are, they’re a freak.)
- If you hate it, constantly, always, don’t fucking do it.