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Writing and Running

In lieu of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday or a Blogger’s Day Off, which I was quite inclined to take, I offer a brief meditation on writing.

Two things the reader may or may not know about me by now: (one) I run, but I sometimes have difficulty sticking to it. I’ll go for months running regularly, improving myself, writing about it and in general enjoying it. Then I stop, for one reason or another, and often have difficulty starting up again. (Two) I have started many novels and only ever finished one, despite being, I make bold to say it myself, a pretty good writer.

I started running again yesterday after a pause of more than a month. It was awesome. I will surely run again within the next couple of days. I told my sister, Diane, about it when we talked on the phone. She told me she ran and walked with their recently acquired puppy. It seems the puppy likes to run with her. I told her it was a good way to begin running: walk and run. I have done it. Now, I said, I have been running enough and stopping for a short time enough, that when I start again I run for a short time, say 20 to 25 minutes (it was 25 yesterday), then increase it by 10 percent each week.

Talk turned to writing, because Diane is a very good writer and usually has a novel or two in the works. I said how I am having a hard time with my novel. It has reached the stage where I can’t just write: I have to figure out how the plot as a whole will unfold and then write the specific scenes necessary. I talked about how it seemed I should spend all day on Saturday writing, say while Steven is at work, but I never seem to.

Diane made the suggestion that I treat it as my running: that is, work for a set time, say 20 minutes, then stop. Do that for a week or so, then up the time. I had actually thought of this method but not implemented it with any degree of success. However, when somebody smarter than you suggests something, suddenly it seems like a MUCH better idea than when you thought of it yourself.

In fact, Diane has done it herself. She works on her novel during her lunch hour. She jolly well has to stop at a certain time, because she has to go back to work. Then she returns to her writing all fired up, because she didn’t work till she was completely petered out.

It’s brilliant! I tried it. Sort of. I spent more than 20 minutes typing in scenes I had previously written. Wow, this novel is a mess. I finally settled on who the murderer is, and I’m not clear on who gets killed.

Well, that is neither here nor there. The point is, I shall continue to write. I shall build up my writing muscles. I shall also run. I’ll write blog posts about both. I hope you’ll stay tuned.

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