Write like it’s your last rep

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have been going to the gym, daily, for well over a decade. I go for many reasons, including but not limited to health, stress release, getting stronger, and lastly because it’s a passion.


I am fascinated by what a body is capable of in terms of changing, enduring, and adapting. As a certified trainer, I was a part of many motivated individuals’ journey to become stronger, leaner, healthier, and most importantly, happier.

What I have learned through training in the gym is that one is capable of more than they often initially believe. I have seen many people pick up five pounds when I know they can lift twenty. We all do it; we convince ourselves that we can’t do more, we can’t push through, we have narrow limits.

The truth is, however, we can do more, push through, and when we are really determined and passionate—our boundaries are limitless. Picking up those heavier weights caused me to trust my body, my strength, my determination—me.

For those of you who lift weights, you know that feeling of the last rep of your last set. The final push when your muscles are burning, your arms are shaking, your heart is beating fast, and you feel as though there is no way you will possibly lift that weight up.

Then because you decide it, you ignore the burning, stiffen those arms, take a deep breath, and push that weight up.

The feeling with completing that last rep usually, for me, has little to do with building my arms or thoughts of tank-top season. Instead, I think about how I have the power to mentally will my body to accomplish a goal. I feel good that when I am determined and ready, I can push through. I can reach beyond my self-perceived capabilities armed only with my ambition and willpower to accomplish my objective.

I have to stress that it doesn’t have to be a gym to learn this lesson. It can be any space where you extend past what you have previously considered to be the truth of your abilities. Runners can attest to this as well. Making it to that last mile, and then pushing past it to run two more even though your legs burn and you’re exhausted is exhilarating.

For those of you who don’t lift or run, perhaps you are asking or screaming at the screen, “What about me?” Well, the last rep comes in many forms. It can be getting up at 2 AM with a crying baby, fixing up a house, or walking to get the mail when it isn’t physically easy.

What does pushing through that last rep teach us as writers?

It instructs how we accomplish our writing goals. Many writers know the feeling of facing a blank screen—the intimidation, the block, the inability to move forward, and sometimes the lack of desire to try.

We understand the vulnerability we feel regarding the worth of our work. We are also intimately acquainted with our pre-conceived notion of what we can accomplish. As writers, we are quite capable of setting tight limits on ourselves.

These boundaries, however, are only our idea of what we are, what we can do, and lastly, what we can achieve. It isn’t until we ignore our doubts, our negative inner voice, the critics, and our fear that we can push through.

So, write like it’s your last rep. Disregard the pain, the uncertainty, take a deep breath and write. Use your passion and your determination to prove to yourself that your ability to reach your goal is limitless.

Write on, friends.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments.




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About Sherry Parnell