4 Lessons Running Can Teach You About Writing

I hate running. The only redeeming value I see in it is that I’m learning some lessons about writer’s block that maybe will help someone. I hope.

But despite my disdain for running I’ve begun hitting the road in the morning with my neighbor, Kevin. (Yes, he’s really my neighbor and his name really is Kevin. He’s one of three Kevin’s on our block. It’s a cosmic anomaly, I know.).

And thanks to my newfound hobby, I’ve learned a few painful lessons that apply to the writer’s life. Learn from my pain, dear friends, because something good has to come from my early mornings.


Kevin-kaiser-featuredThis guest post is by Kevin Kaiser, who has helped authors and publishers reach over 20 million fans worldwide. His online community, 1KTrueFans, helps writers find their voice, build an audience from scratch and create for a living.

Follow him @1KTrueFans.


1. Muscles forget what they’re for if you don’t use them enough.

Creativity works like a muscle. The more you use it, the easier it becomes to tap. When you aren’t writing a lot, things get rusty. And rusty = painful. I’m convinced that the majority of people suffering from “writer’s block” really lack conditioning. All of the prolific writers I know scoff at the idea of writer’s block. They don’t have time for it, they say. They’re too busy writing and keeping the flow happening. If they were to stop their muscles would forget, too. Conditioning is the hardest thing to attain, but once you have it things are a bit easier.

2. You’ve got to start the work of training.

So if you’re struggling with block or having problems getting the ideas started, what do you do? Well, you start writing. Do it in short bursts. Make it a discipline. It’s that simple.

[Learn important writing lessons from these first-time novelists.]

3. Realize, it’s going to hurt for awhile.

Training is pain. It is a process of breaking down, re-building, and recovery. Then doing it over and over again. It takes time and for awhile it hurts. A lot. Expect it. If you prepare yourself mentally going into it that it’ll be tough you’ll do OK. Go in expecting a cake walk and you should probably find something else to do, like swimming or badminton. Those are fun and you don’t get shin splints.

4. You’ll get better, maybe. That depends on you.

This is what separates the dedicated folk from the ones who cancel their gym membership in mid-February. There is no 6-minute ab workout for writers or Thigh-Master 2000 for creativity. All that matters is good old-fashioned work. You’ve got to show up day after day, or in my case Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Point is, your hard work will eventually pay off as long as you keep at it. But if you slack off, be prepared for the disappointment and frustration that come with it.

All right … so there you have it. Now I’ve got to crash because my 6 a.m. run is only a few hours away. (I’ll be a better person for it … I’ll be a better person for it … I’ll be …)

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Thanks for visiting The Writer’s Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here.

brian-klems-2013


Brian A. Klems is the editor of this blog, online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Sign up for Brian’s free Writer’s Digest eNewsletter: WD Newsletter
Listen to Brian on: The Writer’s Market Podcast


You might also like:

7 thoughts on “4 Lessons Running Can Teach You About Writing

  1. fbxwriter

    You know, Kevin. If you hate running, you’re probably not doing it right. There are a lot of people who claim they hate writing, but I figure they’re not doing it right either. I run and write (though not at the same time). I love them both. Sure, there are times when it’s hard to get started with either one, but I hate it when neither is a part of my life. I’ve struggled with both in the past, because I’ve tried to do things the way I thought I was supposed to, not necessarily the way that felt fulfilling and rewarding. I’ve tried to run too fast. I’ve tried to write about things I didn’t really care about. Life is short. Have fun!

  2. MichaelEdits

    I’m stunned at just how true this is. I’ve retired from writing yet again, because I can think of stuff I’d rather do. But how did I get through the latest round of NaNoWriMo, and all the other writing I’ve done over the years? Just… like… this…

  3. Joshua Rigsby

    Great post. So true. And after winning a hard-fought battle with the will, you often feel physically better too.

    As a sideways corollary to the topic, I think a lot of writers forget how important taking care of their bodies is to the creative process. Good on you for the running.

    Exercise can fight off what I call “the Saturday Malaise.” http://joshuarigsby.com/2013/06/10/stay-at-home-dad-workout-plan-5-tips/ Running can also help you feel better after a rejection or a tough day of writing, as it increases the endorphin levels in the brain.

    Anyway. Good post. Keep running.

    1. AlexHendry

      Hello Kevin, glad to know about you here that you are providing help writers to find their space and grabbing audience attention. And I am impressed by your post in which how nicely you have explained the connection between body parts and our writing passion. As an http://www.qualitydissertation.co.uk/essay-writing-help/ provider at Quality Dissertation where I am performing all academic writing related tasks, I got the point of entire the post and how running can also teach and keep inspire us about writing. But here you have inspired me for running 

  4. Julie Luek

    I refuse to call what I do running. Jogging? Loping? But I am consistent. I even trained for and completed a half-marathon once in my life. Let’s call it a “turning 40 crisis”. I’ve since repented of such punishment.

    I like the parallel you you draw to running. I hate to sound cliche, but Nike has it right on with their tag: Just Do It. I think that almost every morning my couch-potato-by-nature inner voice tries to rationalize why I should skip the jog, just this once. Writing is the same way. It’s not always pleasant (sometimes it is) and sometimes it’s really hard (other times you catch your wind), but you do it because it helps you reach a goal you really want.

    Or else you have a dog whining at you until you get your butt in gear.

COMMENT