I am currently in the process of becoming a slightly less rubbish runner; as I have been for the last several years. Last night, for the first time, I managed 3 miles in less than 13 minutes a mile. I know, I know, not exactly Olympic standard; but considering that when I first started I couldn’t run 30 yards without feeling as though Death had decided sit on my chest while he had a smoke, it made me feel pretty good.
I did, though, wake up at 3 this morning due to a set of loudly-complaining back muscles who wanted to let me know that they didn’t appreciate this nonsense, thank you very much.
The Other Half comforted me with the assurance that this is because they are getting stronger. Somewhat grumpish from lack of sleep, I tried to feel it was a worthwhile sacrifice.
But it did strike me that this isn’t dissimilar to getting better at writing. It’s a long process. Small amounts on a regular basis work well, and are less likely to burn you out; after all, if you’d never run in your life and attempted a marathon it would be pretty agonizing and almost certainly doomed to failure.
And yes, sometimes you seem to be getting nowhere. You’re slower than you were last time. Everything aches. You get rejected. The piece you’re working on goes into a slump. Sometimes you don’t want to go running – it’s horrible weather, you’re tired. Sometimes you don’t want to get up early, or sit down after a hard day at work, and hit the wordage.
But eventually, if you keep at it, you start to see some results. You get faster. Your technique improves. Other people notice the difference. You start to sell your writing – or, you start to feel like a runner, not just a jogger. A writer, not just a hobbyist.
Aching muscles and all, it is worth it.
(Oh, and on a completely different note, in response to the drive-by gentleman who said I was ‘just looking for attention’… Sir hasn’t been taking his irony pills, has Sir?)