By Dani Oldroyd
I am sure that everyone has heard many marathon analogies, but I think we can learn a lot from a marathon runner. My husband is a runner, I am not. He started running seriously in 2004, but ran his first marathon in 2005. He trained as best he could and did really well, but he knew that his time could get better. He studied running, learned what foods to eat, talked with other runners, and he trained really hard.
With writing you have to feed our minds, study writing, take classes and read everything from magazine articles, children’s books, to novels.
Then you have to know what you are writing about, know your characters. And know the road you are taking yourself down.
Like runners, writers should surround themselves with other writers. They can help each other and inspire you.
Lastly, write. Write anything and everything. Write in your journal, write short stories, articles, your novel. Just write.
People don’t just decide to run a marathon one day and then win. They work really hard beforehand. I asked my husband what is the biggest moment when he is running a marathon and he said his second most exciting moment is mile 21. In training he only runs 20 miles before the race. Once he gets to mile 21, he feels good he knows that he has gone a long way and has to finish. The last 5.2 miles he has more energy and excitement. Once he crosses the finish line it becomes his biggest moment. All his hard work paid off. He may not have come in first, but it is an accomplishment in itself. He finished. Not everyone can say that. He is exhausted and sore, but he ran a marathon.
My great grandma Viola Stout wanted to be a writer at a young age, I have read her journal several times and read a section and it really related to this concept for me. “Miss Leahman, my English teacher, used to enjoy my compositions. One thing, I always had interesting things to write about. My subjects, unless assigned, were experiences of Mexico or daily happenings I seemed to find humorous. I especially have appreciated this memory even though nothing developed from it, one day Miss Leahman asked me to spend our lunch hour together and this was her proposition: She informed me that she felt that I had writing ability beyond my years, added to this, my life had been full of rich experiences that few children enjoy. She figured I could write, with some help and training, for a children’s magazine. Her proposition was for me to remain after school each day. She would help me in the things I lacked, plus would endeavor to sell my stories for me to some children’s magazine!! That is all I remember about it and needless to say I went home that night on a cloud! My dreams were short-lived, however. Mother refused to allow me stay after school as I would have to walk down Twelfth Street alone (about one and one-half mile) and of course she envisioned all the tragic consequences that could befail me. It was a sad little girl that told Miss Leahman the next day I could not accept her WONDERFUL offer. It may be this was the better thing, I may not have accomplished anything and became disillusioned. As it is, all these years I have dreamed that someday (always in the future) I would write, so my dreams have stayed alive. Yet, I have failed because I have not studied nor prepared myself as she told me I must do . . . I have only waited.” (Viola Stout)
I know a lot of people feel the same, they are afraid of failure, they keep the dream alive, but until you enter the starting line it is just a dream. Once you start the race you have to finish, or you will never know what could have been. I haven’t finished a novel, but I have worked hard for a really long time. I have attended conferences, joined a writers group, I constantly am reading and I write. I am almost to mile 21 and I know when I get that close nothing can stop me.