I officially completed my entry for a half-marathon last week. As in, filled out the form, sent payment and told my training partners I'm in. Can you say, "Oh my God. What have I done?" No? Well, I can. :) Oh my God! What have I done?
I've run full marathons before, but that was pre-kid. Considering the kid's going to turn 11 a few days after I cross the finish line, that's A LOT of years without running any real distance. In fact, I looked at my running app the other day after a 6-mile training run and the last time I ran that far was October 2014. Sad, but true. But, I'm running -- and training -- with 2 friends, which makes it So. Much. Better. I don't know if I would do it alone, but I don't have to. Which got me thinking about marathon training and writing -- and how, for health reasons (mental and otherwise), it's advisable not to go it alone.
People say all the time, "Writing a marathon, not a sprint." and it's true. Writing is a long game. Some people hit it out of the park with their debut, but most writers build an audience book by book and success comes from putting in the proverbial miles. There are aches and pains, occasional tears and breathlessness along the way. People also say writing is a solitary endeavor and this, too, is true. At the end of the day, no one but you can put those words to the page. But, that doesn't mean you don't need support along the way.
My running partners keep me committed to a running schedule. We celebrate the good runs and cheer each other on when one of us is flagging. We share random facts and stories about our kids/husbands/dogs. They keep me sane -- and get me out there on days when it's cold and rainy. My writing tribe -- a closed Facebook group of twenty other writers, most of whom I had the good fortune to meet in person at RWA last year -- isn't so different, even though we're spread across time zones. I'm one of those people who loves/hates Facebook (Or is that everybody?) but I look forward to notifications from this group more than almost anything else on social media. When I've had a bad writing day, need inspiration or even just see something online that makes me go hmmm, this Facebook group is my happy place.
Another part of my tribe are critique partners (whom I also love to the moon and back). We send each other blurbs, snippets, pages and, yes, cheer each other on, share successes and rejections/bad reviews. My critique partners are gold and I don't know anyone who would make it through the ups and downs of finishing a book without them.
This blog, which I came to because a writing friend suggested I get in touch with Brianna, who then asked if I'd like to participate regularly, is part of that all-important tribe, too. As are certain friends on Twitter, real-life friends who aren't writers, themselves, but who get it. My husband who puts up with my perpetual attachment to my laptop, and even my kid, who really really thinks I should write a book without kissing for a change, but thinks the fact I write books at all is kind of cool. In other words, this solitary marathon of book writing isn't so solitary after all and I'm better for it.
I went for a run alone this morning -- my first solo run in ages. I had my music blasting and even though it's cold, it's sunny here in NW England today. I ran a loop I struggled with when I started running again after the Christmas holiday, and even though I wasn't fast by racing standards, I was fast by my own standards. My Nike app has cheers turned on at the end of every run and today, Rafael Nadal said, in his very sexy accent, "Your training is really paying off." and I couldn't help but think, I'd be nowhere in my training if I was running alone.
Then I came home and started trying to write the blurb for my current WIP. I got a draft done and after I fiddle with it a little more, I'm going to send it to a critique partner and another writer friend. By this time tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'll have a completely different blurb and it will be so much better. And I can't help but think, I'm so glad I'm not doing this alone.