Finding Balance

Balance in the Long Run

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?

Read about the dream that inspired me to write Passing RainFrom the Camel’s Mouth

7 thoughts on “Balance in the Long Run”

  1. Running provides short term gratification. Writing is a journey. A journey you have been on nearly your entire life. You will find the balance and all your friends and family are standing by no matter what. Hugs!

  2. “After all, how scary can it be if I know where I’m going?”

    That’s a quote for the ages. I love that attitude. I think it’s a good thing that you write as you do. I respect your approach to the writing process. I believe some of those who write fall into the trap of forcing things. And, as a result, their work suffers. I think the best writer adopts the “if it doesn’t come naturally, leave it” attitude. The very best creative writing can be the result of stream of consciousness. Sometimes the words just flow forth and it’s all you can do to capture them. But, that’s just the opinion of this bibliophile. I could be missing the target entirely.

    It’s nice to have you brainstorming because that means more hours of enjoyment for those of us looking forward to the new series.

    1. Thanks, Mike. I like to think of myself as an organic writer. I do think there’s a balance to everything. I run even when I don’t feel like it and always feel better afterward. I’ve experienced something similar with my writing, though because I still have my day job and all the other demands on my time I don’t push it as much as I might if I were a full time author. I’m hoping this long writing day will get me in the habit of being in the mood to write. 🙂

Would love to hear from you! Please let me know your thoughts.