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Posts Tagged ‘running’

ImageI am, as I may have mentioned a bazillion times before , not the fastest runner. I’m not even the second, third, or fourth fastest.  And yet, when I’m out running and I come across another runner heading in the same direction, I get this insane urge to try and keep pace with them, to not fall behind.

Last year, I trailed behind this guy who must have been an extra from X-Men, with mutant speedy powers, because he flew ahead of me for MILES. I kept working and working to keep him in sight, and wound up with a stitch in my side and out of breath. He kicked to a fast finish and gave me a friendly nod and wave as he turned to walk and cool down. He was done, and I’d wasted my energy with three miles left to go.

This past Sunday I set out in the afternoon and in less than a mile, at the stop sign where I turn, I caught sight of a woman about my age jogging in my direction. I had to struggle to remind myself that her pace, no matter what it was, wasn’t mine. I listened for her footsteps behind me as I ran the next leg of my route, and when I crossed the road, I risked a look back. 

She was gone, finished and headed into her house or running down some side street I’d passed. Our routes had never really been the same after all, aside from that brief moment. And yet I’d concentrated on hearing her footsteps instead of my own.

In writing, it’s the same. It’s easy sometimes to focus on what others have accomplished instead of on your own journey, and hard to watch as others speed by to land agents, book deals, movie rights. But your story is unique and there’s no timeline, no correct pace for success. All you can do is control what you can — your writing — and remember to breathe. The rest will come on its own. 

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Hey there.  I had such grand plans for this blog entry –brilliant posts about tea, or riding, or reading and riding and letting go.  But then I caught a cold, and the Slobbering Beast cut his foot (I don’t think he even noticed, but it looked as if Jason had visited our house) and I wound up taking a week off from running because every time I went outside I sounded like Typhoid Mary and I was worried the beast would be crippled for life.

And then I went yesterday, and it was hard.  In fact, since no one under 18 is reading this blog (also a post for another day) I can say that, without a doubt, it sucked.  It was still cold and I was slow and I couldn’t get out of my own way and when I was running up the very last hill, I seriously considered just stopping.  But then I remembered how, in my little group of friends who run, I am low person on the totem pole, clawing out my miles each week just to stay there.  And how the person who wasn’t even ON the totem pole just went out and ran a 5k, so my status is in jeopardy.  So I kept running, and while I wouldn’t say it ever actually got easier, I finished.

The thing is, I am at that point in my writing, too.  I just finished a good section of my story, and I have been polishing it and playing with it until I am reasonably pleased, and then I had to put that section away and start another chapter and it is hard.  (And yes, I realize everything is relative  and my worst hard writing day is so much better than the type of awful day many people have on a regular basis, but it was not good.)  I wrote 1200 words yesterday and wound up deleting 800 of them, and those last 400 are on probation too.

Eventually, I will find my way and my rhythm.  I’ll put up enough words that I can see the ones that belong, and someday I will be happy with this section too.  But not today.  Which is why instead of a scintillating blog post, I am offering you … pink socks.

Actually, they are red, because in the heart of New England that's how we roll.

Fans of Joshilyn Jackson will realize I am completely stealing this.  For everyone else, pink socks are the glorious and entertaining stories that never quite get told over at Faster Than Kadzu.  We may read about them, even glimpse them, but the pink socks never actually materialize. Instead, Joshilyn waves very shiny things in our general direction to distract us.

So, for starters, did you know Miz Jackson has a glorious new book out?  And she’s running a very fun virtual booksigning? (Although I would love to participate, I’m buying my copy this spring at this wonderful book store, which is now for sale.)

Also, Writer Unboxed is running a portion of its auction again.  If you are a writer, this is a great way to win some exposure and support one of the best writing communities on the web.

And speaking of community, Vaughn Roycroft, who is always the first to give a shout-out to other writers, has a spanking new website out that is totally worth a look. Go see it and tell him I said hi. : )

Finally, in the more good news category, author Sarah Pinneo, who runs the extremely helpful blog Blurb is a Verb, had her book Julia’s Child release this week.  I snatched it up immediately, and am having a blast reading it.  She has a wonderful voice and totally nails the Oh My God Are Those Organic Carrots Really $200 And Are They Worth It  vibe.  (And, little note here — one of her reading partners is the lovely Rosemary DiBatistta, who just signed her own THREE book contract.  Wowza!)

And finally for real, someone pointed out that I didn’t provide a link to my Pinterest boards, so I  put it in my sidebar.  I hope to see you there.  And next week, Pink Socks!

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I went for a run this week.  It was cold and raining, and uphill both ways (okay, maybe it just felt that way) but it was the only day this week when I could do a real run outside.  (I did not take the slobbering beast, because while he’ll spend hours outside in the snow, apparently he’s allergic to rain.  And although I need increased upper body strength, dragging his 70 pound carcass along the road does not seem to be the way to best achieve that goal. )

So I went, and I grumbled to myself for at least the first mile.  Then it started to pour, and I was too uncomfortable to grumble, and then somewhere along the way I kind of forgot about how miserable I was making myself and just focused on being — on the rain hitting my face, the rhythm I’d fallen into, the way my muscles were stretching and unfurling and really being used for the first time in a long while. And I thought how lucky I was to be doing this, outside on this New England spring day.

As always, my writing is falling into the same pattern.  I find myself making tentative tracks on the computer, grumbling about how hard this is, how I’m out of practice, how I’ll never get it right.  I have to concentrate and set tiny goals — just one more sentence!  just X number of pages by Friday! —  and somewhere along the way I forget to grumble to myself and find the rhythm again that reminds me just how lucky I am to be doing this.

Wherever you are, whatever your spring is, may you feel lucky too.

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