05 November 2011

NaBloPoMo: Why Writers Should Run


To the many writers who do not find inspiration in running, I ask you:

When else can you be so totally and completely disconnected from the mundane of the day-to-day?  When else can you leave behind your cell phone and computer, the compulsion to check e-mails and social networking sites, and the need to make small talk?  When else is it totally acceptable to ignore everyone and everything around you (except cars, of course)?

About three years, ago, I wrote a short creative nonfiction piece entitled, "On Running (and Running On)".  The piece was about how running got me through a very trying time and the integral role running has played in my life.  An excerpt from that piece does a pretty good job of describing how running affects me:
I run up and down the inclines and declines and hop over puddles and feel the ache in my knee.  I breathe hard and keep pace.  I feel the cracks in the greenbelt and the branches that need trimmed off of the path.  I feel sweat and thirst and fatigue.  I feel the foot to shin to thigh connection with concrete, hard and lovely against my tennis shoes. ... 
People understand the nature of the runner.  A runner needs to keep running.  A runner needs to maintain her center.
I feel the same way about writing: it helps me keep centered.  But I know that a lot of my writing inspiration occurs during long runs.  

Of course, like writing, running takes practice.  It takes a good deal of stick-to-it-iveness.  But it will give back so much more than you put into it. 

Writers, I challenge you: try running or some other form of aerobic activity.  See how it affects your creative abilities, how it positively impacts your life.  Or, find a better way to be totally focused, utterly creative, and wholly connected. And if you find a better way, let me know -- I'd like to try it out.

{Sidenote: This blog was written immediately after a nice, long run.  Surprise, surprise.}

4 comments:

Lianne said...

Having never, EVER been someone even remotely interested in running, you should be proud- because your posts about running make me want to give it a try.

Stacy Lynn said...

Wow, that totally made my week!

If you do give it a try, get some good shoes and stick with it for at least a month. You can't judge it until you've done those two things. :)

Kimberly said...

I am a yoga-lates kind of girl, but lately I'm a have-no-time kind of girl. When I have moments of uninterrupted time, the last thing I want to do anymore is work out (a sign that I really should be working out-- haha). The other day on my drive home, my cell phone died. I realized that because of that damn Bluetooth, I talk to my sister a lot while I am driving, especially since all my kids fall asleep as soon as the key is in the engine. Here I was driving home with sleeping babies, nothing distracting me and nothing on my calendar but sitting. And driving. For forty minutes. My mind jumped around until it realized that even if I remembered something that needed to get done (move the laundry, did I defrost the chicken, write my outline), I couldn't do it for another forty minutes. I'm so focused during the day on doing and going and accomplishing that I forget about relaxing and letting my mind wander. It was strange to find myself alone in my head and unsure what to do there! When I got home and just felt calmer, I really wanted to bust out some of my favorite yoga DVDs and keep the vibe going. No... sleeping babies quickly turn to screaming babies... :) You are so right about that time leading in to productive creative thought. Send some my way!!!!

Stacy Lynn said...

Oh, Kimber...how do you ever find the time to do anything? I can't imagine how precious (and few and far between) those quiet times are. I imagine that every second you're left to your own devices, you just want to relax, not run. :) But even driving can be soothing, especially if you force yourself to not check your phone at stoplights, make calls while driving, or listen to radio chatter (I do all of these things frequently).

I'm sending some good thoughts and free time your way! I can't wait to meet that family of yours!