I run long every Sunday. I know long is a relative term, but for me long is ten miles. I realized during my 36 Days of Awesome Running (and Writing) Streak that though I manage to spend time on my two great loves, I spend it disproportionately. While I was averaging 35 miles of running each week I was lucky to squeak out a dozen pages of writing during the same time.
Was the problem that I value my running more? No. I love writing. I’ve loved it since I wrote my first short story when I was nine. Is running easier than writing? Some days yes, some days no. They each have their challenges. Am I a more seasoned runner than writer? I started seriously pursuing writing in 1995. I’ve been running since 2006. So none of that explains the discrepancy in how I divide my time between my two passions.
Part of the issue is that I’m more of a plotter than a pantser (one who writes by the seat of her pants) and I’m writing a new series without having it all planned the way I’d like. Since it’s a series, I want to first know the big picture for the overall series, the main protagonists’s character arcs throughout the series and then the story lines and characters for the individual books. I didn’t have all of this completed before I started the challenge and so I ended up pantsing part of my way through my pages. I actually found this to be fun, but it did keep my output to 1-2 pages per day.
But why, when I began the first scribbles for this series three years ago, did I not have the plotting done and more pages written prior to the writing streak?
I think the real issue is fear. That blank screen is so much more daunting than an open trail, which beckons by comparison. So, to combat that fear I’m currently in brainstorm mode and working on getting all this plotting out of the way so my blank screen will beckon me the way that open trail does. After all, how scary can it be if I know where I’m going?
The point of this post is to commit myself to finding better balance between my two loves. I want to crank up my page output to match my running miles. It’s possible I may have to cut back my miles a little in order to do this, which I’m willing to do. My plan is to create a writing equivalent to my long Sunday run. I’ll continue to write during lunch breaks and free time, but I’ll also pick one day a week to sit my butt in my chair for an extended period (with proper stretching breaks, of course) and crank out the pages.
Now I’ve put it out there and will hold myself accountable. All I’ve got to do is plan my course for this series and that fear should dissipate. After all, I’m in this for the long run.
First on the agenda for my long writing day will be brainstorming and plotting. Face the fear to get over it. Isn’t that the way to do it?