Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Writer

In four weeks time I will be huffing and puffing my way around my capital city, running just over 13 miles in the Cardiff Half Marathon. This will be the fourth half marathon that I have run, the first two whilst in my late teens (and much slimmer) and the third in the same event last year. My training schedule was carefully planned this year, unlike last, aiming to take a huge chunk off the two hours and eighteen minutes it took me then. I even had wild thoughts that I might go under two hours and even more insane dreams that I could eclipse my best time of one hour and thirty-five minutes set aged 19.

Tomorrow I turn 47, so I guess that you can see the level of my insanity. But if I can't hope and dream then how can I live, how can I write? If I can plan and stick to a strict training schedule, then who knows what I can accomplish? Alas, a back injury (an acute episode of a chronic problem) has enforced seven weeks of inactivity, but I remain upbeat and will still give it my best shot.

In planning my schedule, I took into account my work and family commitments and allotted set times to train. I downloaded an app which used GPS to monitor my performance. This year I was so much more organized than the random efforts of last year and then I realized that my running and writing paths were parallel, almost identical roads.

My first novel, The Legend of Finndragon's Curse, was a naive, almost haphazard writing journey, but I had the self-belief and strength of mind to get it done.

This year I have written the follow up book, learning from my first disorganized effort, planning periods of writing activity and word targets. Then a lengthy period of writer's block mirrored my back problems, although these tribulations weren't linked or simultaneous. The similarities don't end there, for both writing a novel and running long distances require a steely determination to finish the job.

Surrounded by thousands of others with a common goal, I can remember the encouragement and support of runners and spectators without which I might well have fallen by the wayside on the streets of Cardiff. Now, I feel extraordinarily lucky to have found a community of like minded writers and eager readers who are willing to share their acquired knowledge and experience. They offer advice without expecting anything in return, using up valuable time out of their busy schedules to do so.

So I thank you all as I realise that we are not alone and I will try to return the favours tenfold.

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