Writing and running are two of the things I love doing most in the world – apart from reading – and on the surface they seem to have very little in common. One, for instance, involves a lot of sitting about, while the other most definitely does not.
But, in fact, the two activities require a lot of the same characteristics:
1. Dedication – both writing and running require a lot of dedication if you want to do them well. They require you to turn up on a regular basis and put in the miles/words if you are to progress towards your goal, be that a novel or a half-marathon.
2. Sacrifice – both activities demand that you give up your free time to do them and often this can mean missing out on doing the ‘fun things’ in life. But the better you get at either activity, the less you mind giving things up for them. If you decide to train for a half-marathon, it can mean giving over six months of your life to weekly mileage totals and protein shakes. Decide to write a novel and you could find yourself missing social events to ‘just squeeze in another ten minutes’ of writing. But you never begrudge the activity because you love how you feel when you do it.
3. Setbacks – in running, this could be an injury to your knee or ankle, in writing it could be a plot that runs into a brick wall and you can’t see a way out – these can both seem to be insurmountable problems. But in fact both can be cured in the same way, with rest, relaxation and perhaps just giving yourself a bit of a break. The harder you push yourself forward the more likely you are to suffer a setback. Allowing yourself to heal properly in the first place, will prevent the setback from happening again and will mean you can come back stronger and fitter than you were before.
Bizarrely, my taste in both seems to be in long-term goals – I’ve never been able to write short stories properly, nor have I ever been any good at sprinting, but set me the challenge of a novel or a 10k and I’m in my element!
Personally, I like writing and running to be like relationships with your best friends. You want to spend as much time with them as possible, but you recognise that life often gets in the way. You may not see them every day, but you know when you get together you can just pick up where you left off and life seems much brighter and easier when you do see them. Often these are the first relationships that fall by the wayside when Real Life rears its ugly head, but you know you can always come back to them and they’ll be pleased to see you.
Of course, it would be better to have them around all the time but sometimes this isn’t possible. In recent months, for me, writing and running have taken a back seat but now I’m on my way back and starting to feel excited about both again. It’ll be a slow start but I’ll soon be stronger, faster and better than ever.
Next week, I’ll be blogging about how to come back from what has become a sabbatical for me. Hope to see you then!
Do you have a second hobby to your writing? How do they compare? How do you make sure you spend equal time on them both? As always, happy to have your comments and feedback below.