Skip to main content

4 Lessons Running Can Teach You About Writing

One writer's new hobby of running has taught him four valuable lessons about writer's block that have helped him—and he hopes helps you too.

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.

This 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.

Kevin-kaiser-featured

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 bookOh 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

Writing Nonfiction History vs. Historical Fiction

Writing Nonfiction History vs. Historical Fiction

Author John Cameron discusses how nonfiction history and historical fiction are more similar than they are different.

Bob Eckstein | Publishing Survival Tips

Top 10+ Survival Tips for Publishing

Poignant advice from some of the funniest people in publishing.

Zac Bissonnette: On the Passionate Community of Mystery Lovers

Zac Bissonnette: On the Passionate Community of Mystery Lovers

New York Times bestselling author Zac Bissonnette discusses the process of writing his new cozy mystery, A Killing in Costumes.

My Long, Winding, and Very Crooked Writing Journey

My Long, Winding, and Very Crooked Writing Journey

Every writer’s publishing story is different. Here, author Sharon M. Peterson shares her journey from writing to publishing.

Jeff Adams | Writer's Digest Indie Author Spotlight

Jeff Adams: Publishing Advice for Indie Authors

In this Indie Author Profile, romance novelist Jeff Adams shares his path to independent publishing and his advice for others considering that path.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Writer's Digest July/Aug 2022

The WD Interview: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The bestselling author of Mexican Gothic shares her approach to world-building, character development, and what she’s learned about the business of writing in this interview from the July/August 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

9 Pros and Cons of Writing a Newsletter

Thinking of starting your own newsletter? Let freelance writer Sian Meades-Williams lay out 9 pros and cons of writing a newsletter.

How to Write a Compelling Premise for a Thriller

How to Create a Compelling Premise for a Thriller

Learn how to create a compelling premise for a thriller or mystery novel by asking a simple question and tying it to a specific circumstance to set the stage for a thrilling read.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Plan

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Plan

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters make a plan.