I’m wrapping this one up quickly. My time is short today.
Family is coming.
I’ve read two blogs in the last few days making the connection between writing and running. Both were very good, but made vastly different points.
One came from the wonder that is Jane Friedman’s blog, featuring Ron Hogan, who said deep in the run you feel your comfort slipping away, revealing the most true and honest version of yourself. You’ll feel drained and exhausted just like you do when you go running, but it’s there.
At first, you may have to fight for every insight, every bit of writing that manages to perfectly captures what it is you were trying to say. The more time you spend really stretching yourself, though, the more time you spend in those hard-to-reach places, the easier it might become to achieve those insights, to write more and more pages that give you back as much if not more than what you’ve poured into them.Ron Hogan, “What Writers Can Learn From Runners”
Madeline Dau, on the other hand, talks about writing being a subjective pursuit while running is clearly an objective one. It’s easy to gauge how well you’re doing by distance, time, and speed. You know how you’re performing at all times as opposed to, say, writing, where almost all of it is subjective, and especially when you’re in the middle of it you don’t know how you’re doing. She says:
When it comes to writing for me, success is a little murky. I’d love my book on the shelves one day, but I’m realizing that’s a wonderful dream, but not a great goal. A goal needs to be something that doesn’t involve outside factors. A goal is within your control, otherwise it’s a dream.Madeline Dau, “Goals: An Unlikely Intersection Between Running and Writing”
I’d like to throw my hat into the, “find a way to connect this physical activity with this very non-physical activity” ring, if that’s okay?
Endurance plays a big part in both writing and running. If you set aside an hour of your day to go running, with no prior practice or warm-up or preparation (Hellooooooooo, chips and queso. That sounds like a great breakfast.), then guess what? You’ll spend most of the time walking, out of breath, praying to the lords in heaven you don’t wet yourself on the side of the road where children on their way to school can point and laugh at you because that’s what children are good at.
You set yourself up to fail.
That’s where I’m at.
Writing, I mean. Not so much wetting myself.
BUT I have started running as part of my training regimen. That’s right. Yours truly is trying to fight back the oncoming tide of “dad bod” and make sure he’s an active, energetic part of his sons’ childhood. I’m working with free weights in my garage and then go for a mile run. The goal was to test myself this past week, but I was less than impressed with my mile run time. However, I just discovered today that I’ve actually been running 1.25 miles(!) instead of 1 mile! So my time is not as bad as I thought! I’ll have to accurately time myself later on this week.
Anyway, back to the topic.
I’m building endurance! I’m slowly pushing my body through the ringer, making it go harder than it has before. There’s a moment, at least for me, at the start of every run where I can feel my body saying it needs to quit. That this is the farthest I’ve ever run…even though I can still turn around and see where my house is.
Writing is like that, too. I’m finding that while writing Project: DEED, a book which doesn’t even have a first draft complete yet, I’m running forward into that wild yonder, thinking I can write for an unlimited amount of words for the time given. That’s not true, though. I burn out and run out of words somewhere around the 25? 30? minute mark. It’s mentally challenging to look inward and tell myself, “This is as far as you go today, sir.” Especially because my time is so limited, you know? I need this full hour to write!
But that’s not always going to happen.
I am growing. If my number are reflective of my progress, then my word counts are starting to go up, just like my run time is slowly starting to go down as I get faster.
My first day of writing I topped out at 805 words. My second day I did 1,043 words. And then, finally, on my third I did 1,275 words.
It takes time to get to the place where you want to be. I have to remind myself, again, that this is the first book I’ve seriously written in over two years. I’m not the young stallion I used to be (if I ever was one) and that’s fine. Work at it, slowly, and you’ll get there.
Thanks for reading,
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