Mar 2, 2012

What's Your Pace?

For the last two years, I have tried to like running.  I got good shoes, started out with a plan I could probably have success with, and to some extent found the success.  And for the most part, I really did not enjoy a single minute.

About two months ago, I had this realization, that I really don't like running.  Sometimes I'm a little slow.  I had people say they hate the race, but love the feeling after - um...you like to feel winded and sore?  Okay.  Yes, there was the feeling of accomplishment, but it wasn't something I was glad to have accomplished.

I think this is a lot like writing.  We write because we like it - obviously.  But we have to like what we are writing, the time when we are writing, and embrace the way we write.

I would much rather be in a spinning class or playing a volleyball game than running.  Any day.  All day.  Why was I trying to run?  Because there are lots of runner's in my family, because I hear about the runner's high and the euphoric feeling.  But I never felt that.

There are times when I would really love to be a pantser - sitting down to write with just an idea and passion and let the words flow from my fingers, and I can, with some scenes, enjoy some discovery writing.  But I really love discovering the plot, color coded outlines, systematic ways of working through my writing.

I guess the key is more than write what you know (although if you read my group's blog, you will see I conquered that topic already), but write how it makes you happy.  The important thing for my physical health is to maintain a level of regular heart-rate raising activities.  The important thing with writing is to get the words in the page the best way we know how.

What did you try to do that you thought you would love, or were supposed to love, but didn't?  What have you discovered about yourself as a writer through the process?

22 comments :

Hildred said...

I've always hated running as well. I love exercising when I get the chance (and you know, not sick) and I do all sorts of wonderful aerobic exercises for an hour or so, but dang if running isn't just the most boring, fastest way to whack me down and feel like death. I've had sports asthma since I was a child and have found ways around it for most exercises, but running ain't one of them.

I can't really think of anything I've tried thinking I would like it and ended up not. But things I don't like that other people seem to think I should be all over are: traveling (can you say stressful and expensive?), cooking (lol. no.) and being around children. But since my job is all about the latter at the moment, i've gotten better at it, but I'd still rather hang out by myself or just a couple of adults.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Write in a way that makes you happy - now that's the best piece of advice I've heard all week!

Kelley said...

I've tried to get into running. Hate it! Totally can't lose myself. No runners high for me.

So I do other things like play soccer and do fitness classes.

But...about three times a year I get out and do a half marathon with a bunch of friends. Its the event that gets me and for those 13 miles I am able to get over my hate for running.

Like writing, its all about molding your practices so that you get the most out of it. And as much as you can, enjoy it :)

Cassie Mae said...

Oh dude, we should get together and play some wicked VB.

I'm a pantser but mostly because I don't have the patience for outlining, lol.

elizabeth seckman said...

You hit the nail on the head. 'write what you know' is covered by the blog...too funny.
(I also hate running and agree it does look like fun, but I'm over that delusion)

Erin Shakespear said...

I've tried to like running, too.

And....I haven't ran for almost a month! Ack!

Great post.

I gave you an award today on my blog. :)

Angela Cothran said...

I want to outline because it seems easier, but I can never get into it. It cramps my creativity :)

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Love your analogy! And I always wish I could plot - I think I really need to - but I'm NOT good at it! :)

Joshua said...

I can't do a big workout and write in the same day, unless I write before I exercise. I just go until I'm about to pass out on the treadmill or the bike. I try to think about things while I'm running or riding, but...that's usually when I fall off the treadmill. Wish I was kidding... :o(

Emily S said...

I can see the connection. When I try to "panster" it usually feels like a total waste of time because I almost always end up deleting chapters and changing things when I get a better idea.
I hate running too, it just seems pointless to me, like all you're thinking about is your hurting lungs and how bored you are. But when play basketball etc it feels like there's a point, at least for that hour or two.

Leigh Covington said...

I'm with you on the running. Can't find the love in it. At all. Let me play soccer or something and I have fun. But just running. :( Doesn't do it for me.

(BTW- that pic is cracking me up!)

I want to love to plot. I hope one day I can become a plotter and totally rock with it. Don't know if it will happen, but it'd be great if it did :)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Write in a way that is YOU and makes you happy.

Yvonne.

Emily R. King said...

Ha! The picture is awesome.

If we aren't writing because we love it, then why are we? Like anything else, you should do it for you first.

Tonja said...

I totally agree - you have to write (and exercise) in a way that works for you and gives you the most pleasure. I like the planning part as much as the writing. It's like a big puzzle.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I love running and have done it most of my adult life but now that I'm older, I probably look like the girl at the bottom of your picture. Made me laugh and I think you got it exactly right. You have to like the way you reach your goal whether it's fitness or writing or we'll quit.
As for what I didn't like that lots of women did; I hated being pregnant. I wanted those babies but I really didn't like carrying them around in my belly.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I've never had the runner's high, either. EVER. And I've never been able to pants a story. Or write every day. What I have found, though, is that I work best as a chunk writer. I like bigger blocks of time where I can really get into the story, even if it means I have to go days in between to get enough things done to make the chunk possible. I've learned to accept it, and at times, even embrace it. :)

RAJEEV KULSHRESTHA said...

very nice

Joseph Ramirez said...

I admire people who love to run, especially cross-country sorts of people. But... I, personally, despise running. I do ballroom for excercise and have an active job. It's fun.

I really admire outliners in the same way - but I'm not one of them. I outline and kill my stories. So I have to discovery write them - sort of like leading through a dance moment by moment rather than choreographing.

Great post.

SherryE said...

Congratulations! You have won the Versatile Blogger Award! Please stop by my blog, Mama Diaries, to pick it up. (I found you through the A- Z Challenge.)

Melissa Sugar said...

I hate running as well and I tried to like it. My ex husband was a long distance runner in college and he continued to run for the next 20 years. He always talked about the euphoric feeling it gave him and told me that I would love it "once I got into the zone." Well, I never found the zone and I never had fun. I like doing "Just Dance" on the wii with my kids (okay, I do it without them a lot too.) I definitely see the connection between running & writing. Interesting post.


I am hopping around trying to read all of the blog post for my "Get Fired Up " blogfest. I hope to announce the winners of the "help or mentor a new, struggling or undiscovered blogger" category along with the randomly selected winners on Monday. I hope you are having a good weekend.

Jess Stork said...

I like running because it doesn't require hand eye coordination.... but it's not for everyone... you could try non-racing running... I was a part of a cross country team in high school, and although I learned a lot and loved my teammates, I was never a good competitive runner. I always liked just putting my headphones on and losing myself in the music (and possibly working through some plot points in the process). Maybe that's true for you too?

Coleen Patrick said...

I thought I would love writing outlines because I love writing lists. It does not come easy for me!!
I love that running photo--so cute and true for me :)