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.