Somehow many years ago, I became a runner. I don’t exactly know how I, a woman who had never played a sport in my life, did this. I had gained about 25 lbs I wanted to loose. Before that, I’d stayed a nice size 8 for many years with the occasional trip to the gym. So many people stick with their new weight and go from there. They struggle for lifetimes with fitness. I seem to have some control over this. I’m no hard body, but somehow I can motivate myself to put on my shoes and go, almost nine years later.
I’d like to be this kind of writer. The kind of person that can just sit down and go. I have terrible running days and I live through them to run again. I’m trying to examine how I make running goals and remember how I initially made running goals, so I can apply that to writing.
Here’s what I’ve uncovered:
Low Expectations are Necessary: I don’t have low expectations now for my running. I have educated expectations. I know what I can do and what I might be able to do. In a race, I shoot for what I might be able to based on training. My first 5k and half marathon I ran as slowly as possible to make sure I finished. I had no interest in being “good” or fast. I just wanted to cross that finish line.
It’s embarrassing to admit, but as a writer I dream of genius. Maybe I’m secretly Shakespeare. Even though Shakespeare wrote a lot and I have written very little. I imagine that something amazing will spill out of me. I never dreamed of the Olympics in running. Heck, only lately am I thinking I could run Boston someday. Yet, somehow I think writing will just come to me. I’ve read enough bad writing by smart people to know that isn’t likely. Or at least at any steady pace. I can sprint for a minute and run well under Boston qualifying time. It’s the 26.2 that’s hard. I can and have written a few good sentences, but that’s doesn’t make me a writer.
Figure Out the Energy How: People are always concerned with time. We have time. All of us. You have time. It’s energy we lack. Imagine if you didn’t have to sleep? That’s eight more hours for you. Read the book 168 Hours. You’ll realize how much time we have. It’s energy and focus I run out of. I come home from work and want to eat and watch TV. I’m done with sitting at a desk.
This is the hardest one for me. I need to find a way to come home and rejuvenate. Do I need a stand up desk? Last week I tried yoga after work every day, but it was a little strenuous. I ended up awake, but antsy. Can I do I lighter program for more energy and focus? Should I add meditation to my routine? I’ve also cut way back on TV. But it’s not enough.
Figure Out the Daily Why: Every day feeds into the overall goal, but that’s tough to see. When I run I always have one hard day in a week. The other runs make that run easier. I know the why of every day. I’m motivated by the why. I need to find a way that every day contributes to the weekly goal more than just a word count. The word count is nice for now. But it is like building endurance, eventually I will need to build speed too.
I suppose if other people read this blog, I could follow it up with a question: How do you set your writing goals? I would like to know. Any tips would be appreciated.