I do not like to run, I like to have gone running.
When I was a kid, I loved to run. It felt great to chase around the playground, to pause with my hands braced on my knees when I ran out of breath, to take off again racing flat out when I caught it again. I remember laughing with the sheer pleasure of pumping my legs and arms, the joy of winning the race in gym class.
In college, I ran for exercise. First thing in the morning, I rolled out of bed, threw on sweatpants and a t-shirt and laced up my running shoes. The physical effort of my morning jog woke me up and got my day started. It helped me process my thoughts and work off my stress. Running kept me grounded and (relatively) sane.
As an adult, running has become a chore I must squeeze into my schedule before or after work. The older I get, the more I suffer from aching joints and sore muscles. I still run, usually only twice a week, and often, what gets me out the door is knowing that my dog will be disappointed if I don’t.
I start slow and work up to medium. No more sprinting for me, no more runner’s high. But at the end of my three miles, I still get that same feeling of satisfaction. I did it again. Maybe my knee hurts or I’m more tired than I’d like to be, but I got the job done.
“I do not like to write, I like to have written.” – Gloria Steinem
Sitting down to write often feels like running to me. It’s hard work and sometimes I’d rather go back to bed. But my writing session is on my calendar and if I don’t write today, I won’t make any progress on my novel.
So I start slow. I warm up with a prompt from A Writer’s Book of Days. I set my timer and I put words on the page. By the time the alarm sounds, I may not have written anything brilliant, but I have made progress. I get up out of my chair, I stretch and putter for a few minutes, and then if I can, I set the timer and I work some more.
At the end of the day, I have written and it feels good.
What about you? Have you found a way to write with the joy of a child? Or do you have to work your way into it like I do?