by Sara Kopeczky
- First step (or sentence) is the hardest
Imagine this: it’s cold outside, and all you want to do is stay indoors and drink a nice cup of tea. But you know better than crushing on the couch: you put your running shoes on, and start your training, even when every inch of your body seems to protest against it. After you get going, something amazing happens: it gets easier. And when you come home, you are glad that you didn’t listen to the lazy voice inside your head and chose to go for a run instead.
The same goes with writing. Beginning are always the hardest: the decision to actually start writing a new story or a novel is not an easy one. However, once you’ve started, it gets easier. As your word count goes up, your resistance and fear of failure slowly subside. I am not saying that writing is ever easy – especially good writing – but making that first step might be the hardest part of the whole process, especially if you are a procrastinator like me.
- Persistence is key
The key to running long distances is gradually increasing your weekly mileage until you reach your goal. Giving up is not an option, because you know how hard it would have been to start all over again. Writing is similar: a lot of writers start from short stories, and than later, when they have mastered short fiction, turn to novels. The key is to not to give up and to try and improve each step on the way. Every run and every story matter.
- Success is variable
There will be good and bad running days. Sometimes you will wake up feeling refreshed and energized, and other days you will be grumpy and the weather would be horrible, as if things couldn’t get any worse. Also, with writing, some days you will feel inspired and write diligently without stopping. On other days, you will feel like everything you write is crap and would want to delete the whole thing and give up from your writing career altogether. Don’t. Be aware that success is variable. After all, we are only human: it is natural to change your productivity level according to your mood or outside conditions.
- Schedule is important
If you know that you always run on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, you won’t have the time to change your mind. You will make a habit of it and if would be harder not to do it. The same goes with writing: if you have a fixed writing schedule, you are much less likely to put it off indefinitely or wait for inspiration instead of “going after it with a club”.
- Comparing yourself to others is a bad idea
If you are running, and another runner passes you by, the worst thing you can do is to get discouraged and quit running, or try to outrun him and risk an injury. You never know where someone’s start line is, and comparing yourself with others is rarely a good idea. If a writer compares herself with great writers and becomes desperate because s/he feels s/he will never be as good, it is important to stop that line of thinking right away. Use others as a source of inspiration, and not to torture yourself. Try to be aware of your fortes just as you are aware of your flaws, and use this knowledge to improve your writing. Always be the best you you can be.
Alternately titled Similarities Between Running and Writing.
Guest post contributed by Sara Kopeczky. Sara is an English and Italian teacher living in Croatia. She is the editor of The Split Mind, a magazine dedicated to literature and culture. She is an aspiring author and has published poetry and short fiction in magazines, collections and online. She has won several literary competitions in Croatia and Germany.