In October I got someone else's mail on accident. It was a brochure from the ING NYC Marathon with detailed info on where to go and what to do when I arrived on race day. Pick up your bib here. Leave your bag there. Eat carbs the night before. It was clearly intended for someone who was running the marathon. In that moment, I wanted it to be for me. I want to run a marathon one day. But I'm kind of scared, too. I just started running a year ago and I wasn't in the best shape when I started so it's taken me a while to get to running 1-2 miles every day. Also, before I started running if someone had asked me if I could run a marathon, I'd have replied, "Yeah, sure, you know with the right shoes and training and motivation." Now I know it's much simpler and harder than that. To get to the marathon you have to have your head in the right space.
When I run, the first mile is hardest, I'm saying to myself "I'm tired. I'm going to stop. I'll run for one more song then turn around." I'm looking for the moment I can stop. Then when I get to a mile, it suddenly becomes much easier. I feel like I could go on and on, as if I'd run out of road before I ran out of will. Mile 3 is like smiling when you're not feeling happy. Ha ha. I'm still running, but I'd like to stop now. Ha ha. Can I stop now? I don't know what mile 4 is like because I haven't run that far yet.
That's what writing can feel like. I can feel swift and fleet as a fox for a large chunk of it, while other times I feel like I just want to stop and the only thing keeping me at my computer is will power and the promise that if I just get to the next chapter, I can stop. And there are times when the writing is clunky and not working but I'm doing it -just like the way you bike ride when you're first learning, all wobbles and near falls, but you move forward.
And the finish line? There isn't one, at least not yet. Maybe publishing is the finish line. I guess with a published book you don't feel the urge to go back and fix things (or do you? any opinions?) but until someone commits your book to paper, there's always something to tinker with.
In both writing and running it's a long-game. It's all about stamina and never giving up.
What keeps you going when you hit the second mile wall?
Here's the playlist I'm currently running to. (Spotify decided not to include two songs on my playlist - I have no idea why - Smart by Girl in a Coma and 212 by Azalea Banks.) (Also, I include the Taylor Swift song mostly to annoy my daughter.)