Writing and Running: On Triumph And Sacrifice

After a run in the rain last year
After a run in the rain last year

Writing a book is like running a marathon. You start out feeling great. You’re flying. You’re not tired yet (not even a little bit!) and you fucking love what you’re doing. That’s the first few miles, the first few chapters, dominated by euphoria, the thrill of your story, the thrill of activity. Then you get into a rhythm. You’re breathing a little harder than you thought. Staying up late or waking up early to write before and after your day job is a happy sacrifice, but a sacrifice nonetheless. Eventually, you start to realize what you’ve committed to. You’re looking at the mile markers, watching your word count, and realizing how far you have to go. How many miles lie between you and victory, how many more minutes or hours of doing exactly what you’re doing now. The excitement wears off. All you’re thinking about now is the slog, while that finish line is little more than an ever-receding horizon.

It quickly turns into a mental game. How tired am I, really? Can I stay up this extra hour to write another thousand words? Can I push myself up this hill? But I don’t want to run up this hill. I don’t want to finish this chapter. It’s so much easier to stop, to break for water, to check Facebook or Twitter, to succumb to the fatigue, to collapse in bed for a nap. It’s easier that way. It’s always easier.

Both writing and running are solitary exercises. No matter who you’re running with, or who’s sitting across from you behind their laptop at your neighborhood coffee shop, you’re going it alone. You’re pushing yourself to the next mile, the next chapter. You and you alone. Your partner can motivate you along the way, but only you can do the work. Only you can run your race. Only you can tell your story.

The only way to win against yourself is to defeat yourself. You shove down the negative part of you, the one that says I can’t do this or it isn’t worth it. You fight that part of you with every stride. You beat that dark part of you back into the black. But you have to wage this war every day, every step, every breath, every passage. It’s never easy.

COVERWriting my debut novel, THE SOWING, was more like running a relay. All three of us – my mom Kristy, my sister Elena, and I – tag-teamed on the work, filling up those blank pages, and tearing them down when it came time to edit. We put in the hours together. But today we’re releasing a piece that has been my own marathon. A challenge made doubly difficult because, for the last three months, I’ve been starting my first real full-time job, moving to a new state, and training for a race (hence all the running metaphors). It’s gotten me down, at times. The stress has beaten me to the ground. I’m tired. But today I’m crossing at least one finish line, and throwing my hands up over my head in celebration.

This process has given me a whole new appreciation for the depth and commitment required of those who write entire novels by themselves. THE PRELUDE is just a novella, not more than thirty thousand words. What monumental effort it must take to write an entire novel by oneself, to edit, format, proofread, and submit to agents (or self-publish!) without anyone else by your side. To those of you who have done it, gone it alone, and succeeded: you have my utmost respect and admiration.

I’m crossing this finish line. I’m celebrating. I’m proud to present my debut solo publication: THE PRELUDE: Soren Skaarsgard, a novella of the Seeds trilogy.

Thank you to everyone who has inspired me, directly or indirectly, to make this happen. Thank you to everyone who has been patient with me as I adjusted to my new life. Thank you to everyone who has ever read, commented on, reviewed, or shared, one of my works – those words of encouragement from the sidelines mean so, so much. Thank you to everyone who has the courage to put your naked thoughts down on paper and share them with the world, and by doing so, motivating me to do the same.

THE PRELUDE is available on Amazon; however, we’re giving away free copies to all who sign up for our email newsletter in the month of April. Click this link and follow the instructions to sign up, and a PDF of the novella will be mailed to you.