Writing a Book: A Marathon of Words
I love having a blog. It's a chance for me to share my thoughts, to process, and to engage with thoughtful people I care about. Ideas can be developed and shared quickly and easily, acting on the spark within and getting feedback right away. Over the course of time, I can see the themes and patterns emerging from my work, see how the essence of my up-and-coming book is up-and-coming through, and I can see how my thoughts have changed and developed over time. Yet with all this writing and reflecting, blogging alone would not even come close to completing my book.
On my run home yesterday, it occurred to me; I've conditioned myself to blogging, but writing a book can feel like a whole different sport. It's like moving from fun runs and 5ks to running Ultras.
I can drop and do a 5k without having to think about it. I won't be the fastest out there (that requires additional training and lots of hard work!), but I could do a barefoot 5k tomorrow. This is similar to writing: I can drop several blogs that pertain to a section of the book or develop book-related content, but writing the book requires not only this ideation, but organizing, further development, synthesis, implementing transitions, and redacting. In writing and running, it's fun to feel my limits tested, and occasionally frustrating to see how much further I have to go. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Both writing and running are thought-training exercises, challenging the participant to open up, move in a flow, keep a rhythm, and show up even when things don't feel stellar. Both long-distance running and book-writing are endurance sports, not prepared for overnight or haphazardly accomplished. Both of these activities have milestones and goals built-in, yet both of these (for me) are done for the love of the activity itself and something greater it invites me into. Some days, I just don't want to. These are important days to show up and do my best. Sometimes I don't like how things feel; writing and running feel like a grind...So I grind anyway. It can be easy to lose focus, to get distracted or discouraged; so on top of the actual work towards the quantifiable task lies the challenge of returning to my heart-center and connecting with my purpose. It's all doable, it's not all glamorous, and I love both the process and the result.
There's a lot of work to do, though I know my resistance only makes it seem bigger and scarier. A marathon is 26.2 miles of one step at a time in rapid succession. A book is the written equivalent; the next words, the next step, the next idea, retracing your steps and putting the pieces together.
If you only do what you've conditioned yourself to do already, at best, you will maintain what you are currently doing. Shaking it up by taking on something big, biting off more than you can chew, running (or writing) more than you thought possible, that's how you level up. Whatever your "marathon" project is, maybe it's time to take it on.
Find your flow. Be consistent. See the big picture and focus on the next step. Sharpen your skills and put them to use. These are words I'm embracing for writing and running.