Going the distance
I used to be a pretty hardcore distance runner. Emphasis on the “used to.” I went out for a (not long at all) run this morning and got to thinking about running and then about writing and finally about how my writing journey is pretty similar to my running journey.
There were days when I could leave my house before the sun came up, get in an easy 13 mile run before breakfast and not even break a sweat. Just like writing. There are some days where I tap into the creative well and the words effortlessly flow out of me. Those are the days I sit down to write and six hours go by in a blink.
But those glorious days—the running and writing euphoria days—are few and far between.
Distance running is hard. Yes, you have to train physically to handle the miles, but more than anything, distance running is a mental game. I tend to be a very mental person in that I psych myself out at each turn, so whenever I would set out on a run I wasn’t entirely feeling, I would have 99 different voices in my head telling me to give up. Nay, screaming at me to give up. The trick was to drown them out and find the 1 that told me to keep going.
And that right there is writing for me. It’s easy to get discouraged, to let yourself think that you’re never going to make it, that you suck, that you need to give it up already and do something practical. This is something I struggle with, no doubt. Hard as it is in the moment, I try to (somewhat politely) tell those voices to STFU and focus on the one that tells me I CAN do this. And sometimes that voice doesn’t come from within me. It comes from my beta readers or my critique group or even my husband. But the important part is that I listen to it and keep going. I don’t know where my finish line lies, but I’m still trudging after it. One step at a time.