creative process, Writing Habits

Write like a runner

Once upon a time, I trained for a half marathon. 

I can vividly remember the day I ran along a lake in St. Paul, Minnesota and hit a personal record of 10 miles.

I had been a runner for a few years, so running a couple of miles wasn’t a big deal. But running double digit miles seemed like a daunting feat. However, I reached this milestone by using a running plan. It mapped out the days and miles I ran. This plan was helpful because it removed the guesswork of how to train.

Instead, I focused on running and caring for my body.

Although I didn’t finish the running schedule because I returned to working full-time, this plan helped me reach a goal of running double digit miles.

In January, I will apply a similar method to writing. I will adapt a running plan that is based on minutes, but rather than running for that length of time, I am going to write for that length of time.

My hypothesis is: I can improve my writing habit by the end of 2022 by writing more consistently and gradually increasing the length of time I write.

I also think this method will help me zero-waste of fringe hours, inspiration and creativity. 

You can easily find running plans online. Search for beginning 5K running plans. Those are more likely to include minutes rather than miles. Here’s the one I am adapting. Scroll down until you see the green calendar with the avocado on the treadmill. 

Beginner running plans have a running day that is a blend of walking and running. The goal is that the person gradually runs for longer spans and walks less. Because I have been writing for a while, I have writing stamina. My challenge is consistency and frequency. My goal is to gradually write for longer spans and for more days a week. 

As I approach the end of the 8-week plan, I will evaluate how I want to modify the plan for the next 8 weeks. I’m a full-time English professor, so certain points of the year are busier than others. It might be more helpful for me to try to write 20 minutes during midterms and finals and 45 minutes during the summer. 

Here’s the schedule I created. Feel free to make a copy and adapt to fit your writing goals. 

If you try writing like a runner, please let me know how it’s working for you. 

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