So, I’ve hit a few milestones these past couple of weeks. One is that I finished the revisions on Small Town Ghosts (finally!) and sent out some queries. I’ve been working on this novel for a few years. The revisions took longer than I expected, between learning how to balance family, work, and writing as well as getting the right treatment for my condition. But, two years and four revisions later, it is done. At least as far as I can take it for now. I know there will be more edits to be made if it gets picked up for traditional publication but I can put this book down to rest for the time being.
That being said, I also decided to start training for a 5k (the Zombie Run in Philadelphia).
I’m not, and have never been, a runner. Even at the peak of my fitness, I preferred aerobics and walking to running. Interestingly, it has been more fun than I thought. Each day that I workout, I’m not trying to be better, faster, and fitter than the person next to me. I’m only trying to be better and fitter than I was the last time. I started out slow – boot camp once a week and a walk on the treadmill one other day, then began progressing by adding 30 seconds of running every few minutes and an extra workout. Then I added weight training. Yesterday, I hit the 2-mile mark.
Funny enough, elementary school math failed me when I signed up for the 5k. How long could it possibly be, I asked my friend after signing up. 5k is roughly 3.1 miles if you’ve forgotten basic math too. 3.1 miles. I couldn’t run 3.1 steps a month ago. Yesterday I ran for 2 minutes straight at one point toward the end of the workout.
As I begin my next novel, I’m starting to see the relationship between training for a 5k and writing a novel. For instance:
Neither can be accomplished overnight. It takes time to build endurance to run a full minute. Likewise, it takes time to build a good novel. Between a first draft, revision, beta readers, and further revisions, it doesn’t just happen. You build your action, your characters, your emotional impact as you write and revise.
Training requires that I take the first step, or lift the first weight and then keep going. Writing requires that I put down the first word, then another, and another. Walking up to a treadmill each session is a lot like opening my WIP document. It’s intimidating – will I be able to make it to 30 minutes – my legs feel so heavy! Will I be able to finish a scene – I feel so uninspired! But all it takes is one step, one word. I may not always be great, but at least I show up and make a serious effort, and that’s half the battle.
There’s always a little sacrifice. I can’t eat whatever I want and get in shape. As they say, you can’t outrun your diet so I’m making an effort to fuel my body properly, drink lots of water, and know when to say when. I’ve given up soda and fast food. Likewise, wanting to be a writer and making that happen, finishing books and stories doesn’t leave much time for things like television. Co-workers must think I’m completely out of the loop because I’m not familiar with the latest shows and I rarely follow anything consistently. Now just like I have a cheat meal here and there, I do watch the occasional show. I love The Walking Dead and Ancient Aliens (sue me, okay). I like to play World of Warcraft. But these things, like cake and fried foods, have to be taken in moderation or my goals will remain just dreams.
All that to say, I’m really excited to be embarking on these new endeavors – querying, running, and drafting a new book.
(Yeah, now I want a cannoli!)