Pacing the Writing Race

13775436_10100251766002326_4119403152718169895_n.jpgAside from my return to writing, I have been spending quite a bit of time resuming my love and commitment to fitness. After I was cleared to workout again after giving birth to my son, I began training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, which I completed this past weekend! While I was running, I spent a great deal of time thinking about my writing and lessons I learned while training.

  1. Set a goal. Set a date. Stick to it. 
    I chose the Chicago half because it was nearly six months after my son was born. It was ambitious, sure. But, it pushed me and challenged me. Each run was important and I had little wiggle room for procrastination. It pushed me to act. I set a goal to finish my novel by May 2017.Just like my training, I decided to make checkpoints on a schedule to make sure I reach my goal. Just like I couldn’t leave all my runs to the end, I can’t leave all my writing to the end either. Showing up consistently each day that gets results.
  2. There are always obstacles.  
    While training, I discovered quickly that training with a newborn was difficult. There was a four-week stint that my son cried incessantly and woke nearly every two hours. I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. Cabin fever and depression was starting to creep in. The last thing I wanted to do was get on the treadmill or pound pavement.Right now, I’m suffering from serious writer’s block because I’m struggling with Point B. Point A and Point C are written, but every time I write Point B, I’m disappointed with what comes out. As a new mom, I can always find some excuse not to write. Or I have a guest post or my blog that can take precedent. In order to get what I want out of my novel, I have to put in the effort and time to write.

     

  3. Seek the experts. 
    This half was only my second. I’m not a speedy runner by any means. I was super slow this training because I still haven’t healed from giving birth. Running postpartum was scary and difficult because I had never done it. Plus, I wasn’t a huge runner before either. Instead of trying to figure it out on my own, I read a lot of articles online from Runner’s World and blogs by mothers who run religiously. I don’t know it all and that’s ok.Just as I’m not arrogant enough to think that I know everything about running, I admit I’m a novice in creative writing. I haven’t done this before and I can sit here day after day and just write, but what does that prove? I would simply be writing and not growing. There are loads of websites, blogs, books, and conferences available to me. To not take advantage of those resources is a discredit to the craft and to my own potential.
  4. It’s a marathon. Not a sprint.
    During my first half marathon, I made the mistakes of trying to run with a pace group that was a little faster than how I had trained. It resulted in crumbling at mile 8 and finishing at nearly 1 minute and 20 seconds slower than the pace I had spent months training at. This time, I ran the pace group that I had trained at and it was much more enjoyable. 13770414_10100251768088146_7261060880285991343_n
    This novel is no different. My pace feels slow because I’m a beginner. I’m reading. I rereading my own writing. I’m writing outside the novel. To skip those things would result in a novel that would crumble under the weight of my inexperience. It’s important to take it slow, but not too slow. The goal is to finish and to finish strong.
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