Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Many Marathons are You Running?

by Tamara Passey

I started this post a few different ways. All with the goal to tell you about the awesome Writing Marathon I participated in on Saturday sponsored by the awesome Tristi Pinkston. This was the first time I tried to write in some sort of social, we're-all-in-this-together fashion. It was also the first time I blocked out four plus hours on a Saturday for writing and even enlisted the help of husband and kids to do things like cook dinner! And due to Tristi's great suggestions for preparation and her motivating, supportive emails - I think it is the first time I've written that long without having to stop and review where I was in my story. Why? Because I knew I was participating in a 'marathon' and had gone to the trouble of setting aside the precious time - I did not want to waste any of it wondering what to write next. Gee, what a concept! One of the ways I prepared was by chapter plotting (do I dare use the O word - outlining) whatever you call it - I mapped out each scene in the chapter(s) I planned to tackle. What a difference. Having that little map next to my keyboard kept my words flowing pretty easily through those hours. Thank-you, Tristi. Another bonus to writing marathon style was giving myself permission to write for that long of an amount of time. (I have written for long stretches before, but shorter ones are the norm.) The benefit, of course, was being able to stay 'in the story' and so all those 'potential' words and ideas actually made it on the page. Just like running a real marathon, when we prepare by conditioning our muscles, we can keep putting one foot in front of the other and realize our potential.

 Now, my challenge is to figure out when I fit another 'writing marathon' into my life.

Which brings me to why I started this post a few different times and I'm now finishing it when I am normally finishing dinner. My day started with an end-of-year school assembly followed by a preschool field trip to a very cool dairy farm. It sort of felt like a marathon day, like there was starting gun when I left my house and someone has hung a 'finish-line' tape for me somewhere (it is there somewhere, isn't it?) Isn't motherhood it's own marathon? That is probably a question that should be answered in another post.

For now, I'd like to hear how many marathons are you running in your life?


  1. Kind of like NaNoWriMo condensed in one day. It's a great idea. I know what you mean about those marathon mom days, and my kids aren't evn in school yet!

  2. Oh, wow. Marathons are running rampant through my life!

    Right now I'm trying to juggle college courses, five children, a part-time job, responsibilities as second counselor in the Relief Society, and preparations for my daughter's baptism in three weeks. (Man, I feel like a whiner.)

    Unfortunately, writing has taken quite a back seat lately. I hope to change that with some "outlining" of my days. Do you think that will work?

  3. Lisa-you're not whining because I asked! What a full plate! And if you mean 'outlining' to make time for writing - let me know if it does. That's what I'm working on!!

  4. What an awesome post! This one really got me thinking. Motherhood is a marathon, as is marriage, a career, and so many other things. A good friend went to cheer her husband on while he ran his first marathon. What she, and consequently now I, found humbling, was how many of the finished runners would cheer their fellow runners on through the finish line. While thinking of all the marathons I'm running, and those I'm in "training" for, I can't help but also think of all those I have cheering me on. Thanks for the post.

  5. Thanks for the post. I know exactly what you mean about the marathons of motherhood and about not giving yourself much more time than a few minutes to write. I heard Jessica Day George say once that it takes 1 day to lose it and 3 or 4 to get it back--meaning she hated to ever skip a day of writing because it was so hard to get back into the groove. But in the marathon we run as moms, skipping a day is so easy to do.

  6. It's the end of the school year and everything ramps up. We finish out this year (3 weeks to cram everything in) while planning and calendaring for next year. Yup, qualifier in that marathon.

  7. I'm glad to hear the marathon was successful. We'll have to try more of those.

  8. It was so fun to have your participation, Tamara! Thanks for coming to hang out with me.



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