Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lessons Learned While Streaking

Yesterday, I completed my running streak, and I don't mean that I sprinted nekkid through the village.

On Monday, 12 Feb 2007, I decided to try to qualify for membership in the US Running Streak Association. To join the club, you must run at least one continuous mile every day for one calendar year. I've now achieved that goal and have been wondering what I've learned that I can apply to other parts of my life. I particularly interested in figuring out how I can start a similar writing streak, with the eventual goal of producing a sale-able novel.

Making the commitment is the first step. I was able to make the commitment because the goal was ordinary and reasonable. It takes me 9 or 10 minutes to run a mile. I figured if I ran at least 12 minutes, I would cover a mile and a bit. Being serious about the commitment and making it a priority is one of the secrets to success. It was that commitment, that sense of responsibility, that carried me through the days when I was tired or sick or just plain unmotivated.

Creating a reasonable schedule also helped me. I tended to run in the morning, so I had a feeling of accomplishing something on my never-ending To Do list. Once something is done, I don't have to worry about it. With writing, I think this will be even more important as I'm at my freshest mentally then. (And after spending 8 hours in front of a computer screen is a handy excuse for not wanting to spend any more time using a computer.)

Having a schedule is all well and good, but a schedule is more effective as a guide than as a mandate. Flexibility was important to figuring out ways and times to get my run done. When it was too dark and spooky to run in the road, I did laps around the outside of the house. (A quirk that delights one of our administrators at work.) In December and January, when it was a cold, rainy mess outside, I quite happily jogged around inside the house. Deciding to go by a timed mile rather than a measured mile allowed me to adapt my game plan to the conditions.

My only disappointment is that I stored the last 64 days of running data in my ordinarily trustworthy Timex Ironman. When I went to retrieve the data to enter into my running blog, I found it was corrupted. There's no way I ran 6 hours on 43-71, unless I was kidnapped by aliens and taken to Neptune.

I'm going to spend the next few days thinking about what sort of iron-clad commitment to my writing will help me achieve my goal in the next year. Lately, I've felt like I've been spinning my wheels (or maybe running laps around the kitchen table) with regards to my writing. That's going to have to change and when I've decided how to change it, I'm sure you'll hear all about it.


At 12 February 2008 at 19:57, Blogger Kaycie said...

I wish I could commit to doing anything every day. Other than getting up, cooking, and doing laundry. It seems all my time is eaten up with things I must do, like caring for the kids, dogs, hubby or house.

I did start working out yesterday since I got the room all in order. Of course, today, I haven't even opened the door.

Don't take advice from me. ;)

At 12 February 2008 at 22:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great for you! Hope you work towards meeting your goal!! I've been working on one of mine working out at my other blog www.farnorthinspirations.wordpress.com

I find writing my goals out keeps me motivated and makes me feel like I have to keep up with it.

At 12 February 2008 at 23:00, Blogger the mother of this lot said...

Congratulations! Next stop a best seller!

At 13 February 2008 at 00:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS, ANN! I am in absolute awe of your streak and your commitment. And I know you'll find a way to create a similar streak in your writing. You are an inspiration!!!

At 13 February 2008 at 04:26, Blogger Sweet Irene said...

You are a very disciplined and dedicated woman. I have the feeling that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to and I really admire that, being sort of a physically lazy person myself and needing lots of mental times out.

In my mind I picture you running up and down the stairs and around the kitchen table with your dog at your heels. Maybe you need to get one of those running machines and then you could read at the same time, or watch TV, if you are so inclined.

I hope you write that novel. I am very curious what it would be about.

At 13 February 2008 at 06:00, Blogger ped crossing said...

A noble goal. Making the goal is the easy part. Implementing it is hard. When you figure it out, please share. Good Luck!

At 13 February 2008 at 06:17, Blogger -Ann said...

Kaycie - You do laundry every day? I'm so bad - I let it build up until one of us runs out of underwear. The reason I can do these things is because I don't have kids. It's much easier to be self-indulgent when you're only responsible for yourself.

EB - Thanks for stopping by - I'll have to check out your other blog.

MOTL - :) I'll settle for a medium seller. Glad to see you came back and weren't driven off by gross tick stories.

Amy - Aw, thanks. That's all going to go straight to my head. The writing streak is going to be a lot tougher. Running is just putting one foot in front of the other - no worries about character or plot development or eliminating cliches.

SI - I'm disciplined when the going is easy. When it gets tough, I can be as lazy as anybody. :) Your mental image is very close, although I stuck to just the ground floor. I've written two novels already, for young adults. One was about a girl who wants to be a jockey. The other was about a girl who discovers family secrets when she visits her dying grandmother.

At 13 February 2008 at 06:28, Blogger -Ann said...

PC - We must have been commenting at the same time. :) You're right although as you make the goal, I think you can stack things in your favour to make it more doable.

At 13 February 2008 at 15:27, Blogger The Rotten Correspondent said...

I think the determination and forethought you put into this will only help you in whatever you decide to do. If you want to write a book, I can't think of a single reason why you can't make that happen.

So much of it is about the flexibility to not let unforseen things keep you from your goal. And you did such a good job figuring that out with the running...how could you miss on the book?

Great Job!

At 14 February 2008 at 18:56, Blogger -Ann said...

RC - thanks for the kind words. You're right, it's all about discipline and flexibility - I can do it. I just need to figure out the best way to go about it. :)


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