Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why writing a novel is like running a marathon.

I started running not quite two years ago, and I'm actually kind of terrible at it: I'm not naturally athletic, I'm really slow (as in, I'd love to run a sub-30 minute 5k), and when my work or personal life gets busy, the running tends to be the first thing out the window. But I love it anyway, maybe in part because it does not come easily to me, and sometimes it's nice to work hard at something for the sake of the hard work, rather than for some extrinsic reward. (The cardiovascular health is nice, too, though.)

My big "someday soon" goal is a half marathon, not a full, but I could still identify with a lot of the points in this:

Marathon training to finish your book

Any "training techniques" you'd like to share in the comments?

See also Jessica Brockmole's terrific NaNoWriMo piece on running and writing.

4 comments:

Pauline said...

I love this post! Writing really is like running a marathon - it starts off so fast and excited, then gets a little boring (but you have to keep going because by then you're too far from either start or finish to quit), then it gets really hard and you think, Why why why am I doing this to myself?, then you go crazy around mile 20 and that's actually kind of fun, until *finally* you cross the finish line and your brain is like, "Woot" and your body is like, "Kill me now." Exactly the same when writing a manuscript (for me, anyway.)

I heard the Mermaid Half is really fun.

Cassandra Carr said...

I used to run track many, many, many, many years ago. I hated it and wasn't great at it, but I did feel pretty good.

I'm a long-distance cyclist now (WAY BETTER THAN RUNNING) and I can relate that to novel writing.

Sometimes you can sprint through a book, but sometimes you can't. Sometimes you just have to slog along until you're finally able to type "The End". Of course, we as writers know that's NOT the end...

Kathy Kulig said...

If you want to run a marathon, you have to train. If you want to finish a novel, you have to write, everyday, even when you don't feel like it, without excuses. Make it a habit. I use an online timer to keep me off FB, email,etc. If I get up, I pause the timer. I make sure I get in so many hours/pages of writing first. And don't forget about learning craft.

For marathons, you have to learn about pacing, eating right, rules, etc. There's always something a writer can learn. Dh is doing his first 5K in March and he's using a mobile App called Couch to 5K. Pretty cool.

Patrick Goggins said...

I wrote my first novel while training for my first marathon. The efforts fed off one another because they both require discipline.

As for results, all I wanted to do was finish both, and that's exactly what I did. I didn't qualify for Boston, my novel is stuck on a hard drive and probably won't see the light of day until I upload it to Amazon.

But still both efforts were very rewarding. I'm back to running a few miles a day and I'm several chapters into Book 2.