“BLANK is a lot like running a marathon,” is a common saying that you can put almost any activity into. “Marriage is like running a marathon.” “School is like running a marathon.” “Getting in shape is like running a marathon!” See what I did there?
So I’ll dare to say another cliché motivational one liner– even though as a writer I hate cliche’ motivational one liners but when they call…
“Writing is like running a marathon.”
I’ve never run a marathon. I want to, and have run over seven half marathons trying to gather up the courage to one day commit myself to running a full 26 mile course nonstop. It is a daunting task, that requires full commitment.
Not the half commitment that I egged out for the half marathons. Those only required me to run on the weekdays, or 4/7 times a week. I could cheat. In my youth I didn’t even train! I just signed up for a race and ran, that’s the kind of person I was. But I’m not ignorant enough to that for a marathon.
A runner needs a strict training plan, they need to be planning months in advance. It’s a commitment (have I said that enough?)
Writing is like this. You can’t just sit down and expect to write a 50k masterpiece in one sitting. You need to train. This is why people say to write a little every day. Become a better writer with practice practice practice. At first a 1000 words will seem like a lot for one writing session and then you’ll bump it up to 2000, next 3000. Things get easier the more you exercise your writing muscles.
Eventually you’re writing so much, it becomes addicting. You can’t go a day without writing. This is how the marathon training gets you. This is how we’ve tricked thousands of people who hate running to LOVE it.
Then comes the marathon. You finally decide to tackle that book you’ve always wanted to write.
A marathon is a 26 mile journey, much like writing. You start and it’s SO exciting. You move through a city, then to a park, sometimes it will venture near a beach or a monument the same way your characters might journey to different places. Once you reach the half way point, it gets HARDER, not easier. Middles always suck. But at Mile 23, you’re almost done. The ending is in sight and things fly by.
If you’re committing yourself to writing a book, you’re committing yourself to a marathon. You’ll have to train and it will be hard but, by the end it will be soooo satisfying. Plus you get a shiny medal at the end. For us Writing Marathoners you get a book. A new shiny book where one didn’t exist before.
But you’re not done yet. You’re never done really. There’s editing, and querying, and more editing. There’s the next marathon, and you’ll train in slightly different ways for it. It will always be hard and people will ask you why you do it. Or more often say they never could.
“Because,” you’ll say, “I like it.”
And they might make a face at this. People generally do when I tell them I like running, because marathons are hard– half marathons are hard. Running is hard. Writing a book is hard. But remember, not everyone is willing to do it, not everyone can do it.
So keep training, enjoy the glory of your hard work, and type one word after another.