Wednesday, April 13, 2016

On Running and Writing

Have you ever heard someone say, "I'm just going out for a quick two-mile run"? I used to hear people say that sort of thing, and I'd marvel. A quick two-mile run? That sounds so easy and effortless! But when I would attempt any sort of run, I'd get to the end of the block and already want to quit.

But something about running was so appealing to me. I aspired to be the sort of person who looked at a beautiful day or some natural trail and felt compelled to -- literally -- run out and enjoy it, pushing myself, growing stronger, breathing it in. But, it was so daunting, and I felt like an imposter if I quit after half a mile. Why couldn't I go out and do the effortless two-mile run?

About a year ago, I committed to a team trail race called the KT82. Teams of six run a relay along 82 miles of the Katy Trail near the Missouri river. I procrastinated training as long as I could, but then, not wanting to let the team down, I got serious. At first, it was horrible. I did not enjoy it. Even when the training runs were over, I felt discouraged. But I kept getting out there because the team was counting on my contribution. And something happened: I got better. I got faster. And I started to enjoy it.

I've been running ever since, and now, I proudly call myself a runner. (confetti emoji!)

I'm wondering if writing has some parallels to running. As I always wanted to be a real runner, I've also always dreamed of being a real writer. But I'm at the place where I'm just starting out -- where I've committed to this race and need to do the training -- but it's daunting. The end goal seems so far off, and I'm often discouraged.

But then I remember that becoming a runner took time and effort. It took showing up and, sometimes, baby steps. It was often slow, and I was embarrassed when people would see me bumbling along. But I'm going to keep showing up in hopes of growing stronger with each effort.

I had a motivating exchange with author Josh Funk on my Instagram account, when I said something about wishing I could write as dynamically as he. He said, "It just takes practice." So simple, and can that really be true? Well, I'm taking it to heart and trying.

Finally, I also adore the words of author Kate Dicamillo, who's quoting Dorothy Parker, when she says, "I hate writing. I love having written." Yep, even as it is so very difficult to make yourself get out of bed to run in the morning, you never regret having done it. You only regret not making the effort.

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Back to regularly-scheduled programming tomorrow -- I have a review of a wonderful book!

Happy Wednesday,


  1. Wow, can I ever relate to this post! It is corny to say, but it is like the old saying...the thousand mile walk begins with one step. That's where I had to put my head, and allow myself to just start writing, not worrying about all of the what-if's the journey might entail. One thing that truly helped me was getting to know others in the kid lit community. Being connected to the incredible people who love kids' books, celebrate the craft, and cheer each other on is a blessing.

    1. Thanks for weighing in, Michelle! Your words give me hope. :) I'm happy that I'm starting to make connections in the kid lit community -- everyone has been so very supportive!