My brain cleaner for writing is running--or journaling. After last week's horrific attack on our…
I run and write. I realized that getting a runner injury is like getting a critique slam down on your manuscript. Both are big setbacks. And both require mental strength and the need to call in the support team to lift up your body and brain. I’ve been fortunate to run marathons and half marathons for the past 7 years with hardly an injury. Then one morning in March, I could not bend over. What? This was just like when I poured my all into a manuscript that I thought was good, and an agent did a real carving on the whole thing that made me stop in my tracks. What would I do without running and writing?
Once I scraped myself off the floor in both instances, I realized that like any athlete, it’s how you come back that counts. So I guess I’m saying if you’re a writer, you are a writing athlete too. And in both situations, you self reflect, diagnose the problems, get expert help, change form and process, and work hard to get back on track. For my back condition, it was the doctor, the PT, tons of targeted exercises, friends who shared their experiences with similar conditions, my family’s support, slow, patient work and a positive attitude. I had to remain optimistic because I knew that I could not jump steps to get better or suffer a relapse. The same for my manuscript – I had to step back, take a hard look, be realistic, do exercises to change my writing form and approach, get my critique group’s help and counsel (both emotional and for craft), my family’s support, slow, patient work and a positive attitude.
So in my mind, runners and writers are both athletes who work to excel to their best abilities. The continuous effort to improve and overcome obstacles makes all the difference in amazing journeys.