I’m a pretty good writer (if I do say so myself), but not much of a runner (as my neighbors can attest). My dad is a great runner. Marathons, track coach—that kind of thing. Last summer and fall I spent almost three months making running a priority. I got up to three miles and had actually started to . . . get this . . . like it! But then it started snowing, and it was really cold at 6:30 in the morning and since I like my ears I decided to avoid the inevitable frostbite.
I told myself I’d run on the treadmill, but I didn’t. And come spring I was ten pounds heavier and out of shape again so I put it off . . . and off . . . and off. Well, this morning I decided to run. I figured I’d huff and puff my way through a mile—but guess what? I made it a full two miles without stopping. When I finally stopped for my one block cool-down-walk, I wasn’t completely sucking wind.
So what’s the point? Even though it’s been several months, I’m better today than I was when I started running last summer. I’m not necessarily where I was—why should I be? I didn’t keep up with it. But I’m not so far behind as I thought. As it is with writing. We all have breaks, roadblocks, really really big sinkholes on the track of our writing. There are times when whether by choice or by circumstance we can’t give it our all. But, that doesn’t mean that what we have done is lost. One thing that kept me from running was that I felt like I would be starting all over again. But it doesn’t really work that way. The college course we took sixteen years ago, or the conference we attended right before that bike accident, are still gifts to us. Chances are, we’re not so out of shape as we might think. We need to look at our writing realistically and not beat ourselves up over what we haven’t done. We can write, try and make it a habit that fits our life and better yet, enjoy it.
I will not live a normal life—that is the first step of being a writer. Being willing to accept the weirdness of our passion—but live your life is the next step. Beating yourself up for what you haven't done is only going to make it harder to jump back in there. The best thing you can do for yourself is simply do better tomorrow. Look at yourself, look at what you know and what you've done and say to yourself...I am a writer!!