Books are available from Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and many other fine shops.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Running, Writing, and the Hardest Part

So, I started running.

Oh, not far.  I don't run very far.

And not very fast, either.

I mean, I was just kind of bored with the rowing machine in the garage and craved fresh air as I attempted exercise, so I started running 13 days ago in the early morning darkness.  And I have run every day for 13 days.  It's kind of like a personal challenge, just to see how long I can mange it--running every day.

And 13 days in a row is nothing, NOTHING in the big picture of fitness. But I feel like I am doing what I can.

And that will just have to be enough.

But I was telling my husband about my pitiful distance (can't even record it here, I don't have numbers on the keypad small enough) and he said, "But you're doing it!  That's the hardest part, the getting up and starting."

I thought about that as I ran. Is the hardest part really just putting your mind to it and starting?

As I rounded the first bend (and the grade increased and a Hummer pulled out of the driveway in front of me), I realized that starting is the EASY part.

Not stopping?  That is the hardest part.

The will to keep going, in running and writing, is the battle I wage against myself most days.

Beginnings are lovely and beautiful and the adrenaline is pumping and Man-o-MAN is this ever going to be good!  I breathe the cold air into my lungs in large drags.  I write freely and wildly, because these are the first words and it doesn't matter if they are perfect or not because if I don't like them I can start again.  Starting is easy.

But continuing--laying word after word on paper, foot after foot on the rough pavement--this is what makes a runner into an athlete and a writer into an author.

So...don't stop.

(As if it were that easy...)



Julie Hedlund said...

I love this metaphor. Sometimes convincing yourself to keep going IS the hard part.

Shelby Bach said...

This is so SO true, Shelley.

P.S. I'm not a huge fan of running either! I have to trick myself into keeping at it, by telling myself, "Okay, Shelby. When you get to THAT lamp post you can stop......No, I mean, that big tree right there....No, I mean THAT driveway. (Etc.)"

And I just realized that I do the same thing with writing, except you need to substitute "stopping" with Almond M&Ms or Sour Patch Kids. :-P

Jess said...

Such a good comparison. I tried yoga videos in my living room and was so stoked because I felt great about doing it for the first three days. I was pleasantly sore and had more energy the rest of the day--the only catch was I had to set my alarm for before my little one woke up, otherwise she'd just climb all over me until I had to stop (I can't do it after her bedtime because we only have one tv in the house and someone is usually watching it). On day 4, however, I started thinking I needed the extra sleep. I'm such a quitter :(

My word count goals tend to go downhill like that of the reasons I didn't sign up for NaNoWriMo this year :)

Kelly Polark said...

Good for you, Shelley!
I've never been a runner. I walk and do sprints for a minute then walk (only 3 sprints per full walk, too). But since I've been back in the classroom, I haven't found time to exercise except weekends! (You must run before school??)
Excellent analogy.
Now run like the wind, Bullseye!

Sherrie Petersen said...

Brilliant, and so very true.

storyqueen said...

Julie-For me, that is always the hardest part. I can find so many excuses to stop some days.

Shelby-I do the same thing! Little tricks to keep me going. (and yes, candy rewards are effective.)

Jess-I remember trying to do yoga with a kid crawling all over easy feat! (Probably why I am running...)

Kelly-Yes, in the morning INTHE DARK! when does the time change happen!!

Sherrie-Wishing it were easier this morning, I can tell you!

Christina Lee said...

What a wise hubby you have. I agree with both--the starting AND the not stopping (so true)!

Joanne Fritz said...

What an interesting analogy. So many bloggers talk about how hard it is to motivate themselves to START writing something, but you've made a great point. Keeping up with it is so much harder! Especially when you reach that muddle called the middle... said...

That's really good of you. I am so grateful for having to walk the dog these days. I do hope my running days are not behind me though. Great analogy!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love this! And 13 days is more than something - it's awesome! Good for you.

Here's to not stopping!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

i hate to run! You go girl!

Old Kitty said...

Hello!! I love your blogheader pic - awww lovely - and the rapt faces of the children says it all really! Hoorah!!

Sometimes I find starting very very hard - getting the motivation to do anything energetic - but once I get going - I think I'm ok until I hit a block - trip up - yikes!! Then starting and picking myself up is another effort - sometimes I fail, sometimes I force myself. But every so often when the wind is right and the day is good, I reach that finishing line. :-)

Take care

Margo Berendsen said...

For me, starting really is the hardest part! Well, okay, maybe the first 10-15 minutes with running - or writing - is the hardest, till I hit my stride. Then I never want to stop! So why then is it so hard to start?

But yay for you to start running! esp. this hard time of year when we have dark mornings.