015. running and writing

In the past month, I’ve come to the conclusion that running and writing are cut from the same cloth and very similar to each other. Confused? I can see why – after all, these are two hobbies that appear pretty far apart in terms of just about everything. But I swear, there is way more alike about them than first meets the eye.

In the past month, I geared up and hit the pavement to pull myself into consistent 10k running. I also geared up and hit the figurative pavement to write NaNoWriMo. I’m going to lose NaNo fairly spectacularly, as I usually do, but still, between the two I began to notice a lot of similarities.

(1) Motivation for both can be hard to find.

Some days, you really don’t want to run. And other days, you really just don’t want to write! Getting out the door or onto the Gdoc can be the hardest part of either hobby. Sometimes you have to bribe yourself to get going. And then-

(2) Once you get started, reflexes take over.

Sometimes it takes a kilometer and sometimes five; sometimes it takes 100 words and sometimes 500. But eventually, with both running and writing, you hit your stride and it becomes easier. Muscle memory takes over and you remember why you like doing it. Whatever was blocking you fades away and the km and words start to flow.

(3) It’s all small goals leading to the finish line.

Maybe your finish line is a literal one, and maybe a figurative one, but both of the hobbies have an end goal. Whether it’s running a marathon or finishing your novel, there’s something you work for, day by day and bit by bit, to achieve. As you work, you set small goals: 30km this week or 1500 words a day. Sometimes you’ll hit the goal and sometimes you won’t, but there’s always a new day waiting for you to try again.

(4) Doing them with others makes the work easier.

There’s a reason that NaNo is a big community website and event. There’s a reason they organize meet-ups and encourage people to get involved in the forums. And there’s a huge reason that marathon runners find pace-equivalent race prep teams on weekends. Doing work with others ups your own motivation and connects you with people who understand your goals on a fundamental level.

(5) After you finish for the day, you feel great.

No matter if it was a daily run or a daily word count, meeting your goal for the day makes you feel like you can take on the world. It’s a great feeling that can carry over into the rest of your day! And of course –

(6) People outside your hobby usually don’t understand what you are talking about.

Want to dish about the breakthrough you made in your antagonist’s motivations? Or about how you just PRed your best time by 20 seconds? Yeah, often times the people around you don’t have any clue what you are talking about or why you would ever want to talk about it. That’s why it’s helpful to get some friends who share your hobbies.