Thursday, May 3, 2007

One foot or word in front of the other

Writing and revising a novel is a lot like training for and running a race. Just as there are short stories there are short races (5k and 10k) and just as there are novellas there are in-between length races such as half-marathons. Then there are the novels of various lengths and difficulty just as there are marathons and marthons combined with other events to create duathlons and triathlons. Depending on what you want to write or which race you want to run your training and practice will vary.

One thing they all have in common is being able to persevere, to put one foot or one word in front of the other, especially when you don't think you have it in you.

I write and I run races. October 2006, just shy of my one-year anniversary from major surgery, I ran the Chicago Half-Marathon. I was very nervous about running the race but several people in my office had signed up and it was the 10-year anniversary of the race. I had run lots of 10k races when I was in the army and after we relocated to the Chicago area I ran mostly 5k races with a few sprint triathlons and duathlons thrown in over about a 10 year period. I'd only run a 13 mile distance in training many years ago. As I said it was one week shy of a year since major surgery. BUT I had turned 50 in 2006 and I desperately wanted to do something challenging to prove to myself that I wasn't old and half-dead. Still, I was not in the best of shape and I'm still struggling to get back to a level of fitness that will make me happy and feel good about myself.

I ran the Chicago Half-Marathon and didn't stop until 8 1/2 miles. I never like to stop running during a race for many reasons and this was the first time since I started running races that I did this. Still I ran 8 1/2 miles before stopping! To me that's a signficant accomplishment all things considered.

Then I had to finish the race. I always finish my races no matter how slow I run. It's important to me. It's also a challenge because I have severe, chronic asthma and I have to pace myself accordingly. Several people were taken away in ambulances that day so this is serious stuff. I finished the race. I wasn't the last on the list of finishing times but not far from it. BUT I finished the race!!! I met my goal of finishing the race alive.

It finally dawned on my that my writing endeavors were very similar to my running endeavors. It really is a matter of pacing yourself to accomplish a goal and a matter of putting one foot, or one word, in front of the other and reaching THE END.

1 comment:

Jackie Powers said...

Got comments on all but the last one... the day job one doesn't have a comments prompt.