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.
Author:
Publish date:

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

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

Editor is a very broad term in the publishing industry that can mean a variety of things. Tiffany Yates Martin reveals what a professional editor is and why writers should consider using one.

From Script

How to Find the Right Reader for Feedback, Writing Female Characters and Tapping into Emotionally Authentic Characters (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, read film reviews from Tom Stemple, part three of writing female characters, interviews with Free Guy scribes Zak Penn and Matt Lieberman, The Eyes of Tammy Faye screenwriter Abe Sylvia, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Author Amanda Jayatissa discusses the fun of writing "deliciously mean" characters in her psychological thriller, My Sweet Girl.

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

A memoir is an open window into another's life—and although the truth is of paramount importance, so too is grabbing hold of its reader. Writer Tasha Keeble offers 3 tips for writing a memoir everyone will want to read.