In March of 2011 I started jogging. Despite the occasional illness, injury, and ‘I don’t wanna,’ I’m still getting out regularly. On one long and rather tedious solo run, I started making connections between jogging and writing and life.
Get Some Running Buddies
It helps to have inspiration. I started jogging with a Couch to 5K group that met twice a week. Having the regular schedule kept us on track. Several of us continued running together after the program ended. I wouldn’t get out there as often if people weren’t waiting for me. I’d be tempted to stop early, if I didn’t have the encouragement of the group. Hey, peer pressure is powerful!
For writers, it’s important to find the right peer group for your needs. For many, this is a critique group. Other writers share goals and deadlines, checking in with a friend daily or weekly to report progress. Even a non-writing friend can help hold you accountable. Finally, social groups can provide camaraderie and networking.
A slow pace may get you there, but if you have a long way to go, you might as well do it running. A marathon will take a lot longer at a stroll than at a jog, even a slow jog. Run when you can, walk when you need a rest, but keep moving. That’s the only way to reach the end.
Take the time you need to learn and practice your writing craft. Do as many drafts as you need to polish your novel. Don’t rush, but do keep working. Write a page a day, and you’ll have a complete draft in a year. It may not be perfect, but it will be more than what you started with.
Practice Makes Perfect, or At Least Lessens the Pain
If you’re training, you need to get out regularly. Running once a month will just leave you sore and frustrated each time, and you won’t see any progress in your fitness.
It’s the same with writing. Establishing habits and sticking to them will keep your mind fit. Writing several times a week will hone your skills and make it easier to get started next time.
Push Yourself Sometimes
With enough practice, you should get better. When I started jogging, it was a struggle to go for 10 minutes without a break. Six months later, I could make it through 45 minutes without stopping.
And then I plateaued. Jogging had become comfortable, if not easy. Why cause more pain by trying to go farther or faster?
Because that’s the only way to get better. And most likely, it’s the only way to stay interested. Fortunately, one of my jogging partners is great about coming up with new workouts. We add in some sprints one day, do hills another day. We choose different routes on different terrains. Variety keeps it interesting, which makes it easier to work hard.
With my writing, I find that I get bored if I become too comfortable with something. After publishing a dozen middle grade novels for children as Chris Eboch, I wanted a change. I tried writing romantic suspense for adults, using the name Kris Bock. This brought new challenges – writing books two or three times as long as what I was used to, exploring romantic subplots, delving deeper into character. I didn’t always get things right the first time, but I became a better writer – and I renewed my interest in writing.
Are you a writer who runs? Join us for the Writers Who Run retreat August 3-7, 2016, in Fontana Dam, North Carolina.
Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues.
Fans of Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell should try Kris Bock. Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.
The Mad Monk’s Treasure ebook is 99 cents at Amazon and FREE at Nook, ARE, Smashwords, Kobo and Apple/iTunes.