I headed out for this morning’s run disappointed I wouldn’t be using the time thinking about the story I’m working on. But I’d read a few blogs at breakfast and saw, to my honest delight, that another writer friend has landed a book deal. Another friend. Now I had feelings to contemplate.
How is it that friends I admire, who consider me as talented as they are and, more importantly, whom I consider myself on par with, have finished manuscripts, landed agents, accepted book deals, or enrolled in MFA programs, while me? I continue to spin in the eddy of the same self-pity cesspool I’ve been treading water in for months. Why can’t I just write my damn manuscript?
This question niggled my brain as I headed down the driveway at a quick, warming-up walking pace. I’ve got my reasons for having done little more than scratch the surface of my manuscript. They’re all lame and fall under the category of Fear, but they’re reasons none the less. By the time I reached the entrance to my subdivision, I was sufficiently warmed up, both my body and that annoying, self-loathing voice in my head. I decided to table further discussion with it and concentrate on my workout. I started to run.
My plan had been to “pre-train” until vacation, so that when I return I’ll be ready to put my full-blown training program in action for the October half-marathon. Yeah, that didn’t go as planned. I leave on Friday, and I actually had to walk Monday’s 4.5 mile run because I: hadn’t run for a week; was dehydrated from too many Jack and Cokes the night before; felt bloated after sharing a bag of Rolos with my daughter over the weekend; and I had to pee during the entire course. Bleh.
So as I started to run this morning, I told myself to keep the pace slow, and to keep running. The second I consider walking, my body goes into shutdown mode until I walk. Today, I was determined to run; walking wouldn’t even be a possibility. Slow, steady, manageable jogging pace.
Roughly thirteen minutes later, a voice popped into my head. It said, Hey, Runner Girl. Do you realize you just passed your route’s one mile marker?
I thought, Oh yeah…you’re right. And, I’m still running! Yay me!
And the voice replied, Yeah, yeah, good for you and all that. Keep going. Now, I’m done with you. Get Writer Girl out here. I have something to say to her.
The rest of the conversation went something like this: Don’t you realize that with the same determination, you will achieve positive results with your writing as you do with your running? Stop thinking about the manuscript as a big huge project because that freaks you out. Like your daily workouts, you have to commit yourself to writing every single day, and every time you sit down to write, you need to tap into the determination you used today on this run. When you tire, when you reach the bottom of a hill, when you think you can’t keep going…don’t you stop! You can keep going. And you will progress. And in October you will run 13.1 miles in a race. And you will finish that manuscript.
I ended up running 4 miles today in thirty-eight minutes. I didn’t walk. And Runner Girl? She asked me to tell you she feels great.