Full disclosure: I’m not a sprinter.
My first sport, first competitive, team building, organized sport, was cross country. It’s not glamorous, it’s frequently muddy, and it’s often lonely. I know, I just said above that it was a team building sport. Here’s the thing, it is a team sport built on individual accomplishments. I’m built for the long haul races, and I used to be in shape for them too. Same goes for writing.
Yes, running is an apt metaphor for the work that goes into producing a book. I can mull over and tinker with a book idea, characters, plot, etc. for years, writing scene after scene, outlining and reworking, never quite satisfied with the results, but always learning and always getting better at the craft. That’s the cross country race of writing. Sometimes I’m slogging up a steep hill, once in a while I hit a boggy patch and nearly lose a shoe, often I feel like I’m the only one on the course as it winds through the woods. I wonder what I’m doing there, but I go on. I bet this sounds familiar. But this November, I’m settling into the blocks for the quick sprint of NaNoWriMo. It’s the 100 meter dash of writing challenges.
I’m no sprinter, as I said, and I’m a slow writer too. Come November 1, however, I’m going to lace up my running shoes and go for it. I’ll put away the *mountains* of research material, the distractions, the Pinterest boards of inspiration, and get down to the pen and the blank page. I’ll bring my outlines too; those are my course maps. It may be a sprint, but it’s a twisty one. Outlines help keep me on track.
I’ll also lock my inner editor away for the month. Here I’ll end the running metaphor and move on to a literary reference. Remember the chokey from Matilda? Put your inner editor in there for a month. It’ll be good for her. So, next month I aim to write every day, I aim to finish a crappy first draft of a new book, and I aim to have fun and learn some things along the way.
I’m also going to try and work in some exercise. It’s good for your brain as well as your body.
If you’re interested in running, I recommend checking out my sister’s blog: Sarah Runs Again. She’s a good writer and her posts are inspiring and often funny.
Go forth, Wrimos! Run that race and kick some butt on the way. I wish you all luck reaching your personal best.