I’ve done a blog in the past about fitness, specifically running and how it helps my writing process. And like most things that are associated with self-promotion and a that bit of self-publicity that all authors seem to have to do these days, I promptly forgot about it and just somersaulted back into the maelstrom of writing, editing, deleting, writing etc
The parallels, for me at least, between running and writing are so very relevant to me at the moment though, that I feel like a Pt2 of that blog is brewing. So here it is.
When I did that first blog I was writing The Giant’s Echo, running a LOT and aiming for distance and PB times, and also in the middle of cardiology appointments waiting for heart surgery. It was minor heart surgery – in reality, when you join the word ‘surgery’ and ‘heart’ it doesn’t feel minor. And still I ran. It helped with the book, it helped with stress, and it also helped with my heart because cardio is important.
Is heart surgery ever minor?
Then I stopped running, had the surgery and went through recovery for that, and Giant’s Echo was released at the end of 17/start of 18. I can’t remember exactly when, you’d think I could, and should, but I can’t. I remember I was more nervous about it than when Hummingbird came out, possibly because it was the second book and I was conscious of the way ‘seconds’ are always seen as lesser – I’m looking at you Lethal Weapon 2. But fans loved it, it sold really well, and I had fantastic feedback. I even did an interview with an editor in California which was a great boost for my confidence around the same time as I got the all clear from my cardiologist.
But I didn’t start running again. And I didn’t start writing again. Excuse. Followed Excuse. Followed more excuses.
I can’t tell you why the two are linked for me, but I can make some casual observations. I wouldn’t go so far as to say correlations, but coincidence maybe. The following can be read in the spirit of palindromes ie. the excuse works whichever way you want to read it.
1 Reason not to write – I’m tired, I don’t feel motivated – reason not to run
2 Reason not to write – I don’t have time – reason not to run
3 Reason not to write – I’ve run out of ideas of where to go – reason not to run
4 Reason not to write – I’m just not that good at it – reason not to run
5 Reason not to write – I don’t have it in me anymore – reason not to run
6 Reason not to write – everyone is better than me at it – reason not to run
All of those reasons were lies. I had the time, I had the ideas, I don’t care if everyone is better than me at it, it’s my story and I am confident enough to feel it is worth being told and put out into the world. I believe it is a positive contribution to the world of story telling. So what was the problem.
For me, the problem was simply understanding how I am motivated. Yes it is as simple as that.
I booked a 10k race. And I booked a 5k after that. And I booked both of them just before I got Japan. And I bought a bike and started cycling. All of a sudden, I had a goal. And it started to fall into place.
I told people, so I had some internally driven externally applied pressure. And I made a schedule that was strong enough to get me to the goal but loose enough to be adaptable. I need adaptable, I work full time running my own business, I have young children, a husband and family, major remodeling of my house, everything that are real stressers and time commitments. So to add running 3 to 4 times a week, for as much as an hour into that was hard, and on top of that, once the laces were tied, the writing came back. So suddenly I’m back to late nights, early mornings, scribbling ideas on notebooks and using my phone when I get an idea.
I even ran on holiday in Rhodes. It was hot, super hot, but I kept my pace, I even hit a 5k marker in 35 centigrade so my 10k goal is one I am looking forward to.
My aim is the 10k run London in October, I’m fundraising for Mencap, a fantastic charity doing outstanding work. The week after that, a 5k and then on to Japan. I wonder if they do parkrun in Tokyo?
I will also have the third book finished this year, draft 1 anyway for submission to the editor. Which is a new PB for me in terms of finishing manuscripts. Running, writing, same thing maybe.