Day 32–Stop Writing & Running and Go to the Beach


Today we are going to spend the day at the beach in Leon, Nicaragua. Do some surfing, enjoy the ocean, and just relax.

How does this affect my Running & Writing Streak? Only for the good.

I’m still going to run and write today, but only the bare minimum. I woke up early so I could get this blog post out into the blogosphere. And after this I’m going to take a quick 3 mile run.

If you are doing a running or writing streak, take a day and go to the beach. It can be literally or figuratively.

In other words, take the day off. Write for 15 minutes, and then run for 15 minutes. There it’s done, and now take the rest of the day off.

Why do we need days off?

  1. Repair & Recharge-A runner needs to let his muscles repair themselves. For streakers this means doing an ultra easy run day, the bare minimum. So, run the bare minimum and forget running even exists until tomorrow. Runners also can benefit from a mental break, not thinking about the run, when it will be, where it will be and how you will do it. Writers also need to let themselves be repaired. If you write everyday, there’s a pressure for that constant output, so give your head a rest and head for the beach.
  2. Spend Time with Family and Friends-It’s not healthy to get so caught up  in your writing or running that you overlook spending time with the people you love. Even if you are with them, you may catch yourself thinking about your running or writing. Today, concentrate on being with the people your with, and leave your running and writing at home.
  3. We are not Machines-We are human beings and we need to live our lives. If we are always working, we won’t be able to appreciate our goals when we reach them. Part of running is reaching a goal, and then enjoying. Like running a fast race or a very long run and then taking the time to realize what you’ve  just accomplished. Or finishing a writing project and then enjoying the reward of being done. If we are always on the go, we don’t get to enjoy the best part.

Being a Human and relaxing.

Nobody can argue that taking a break doesn’t feel good. So take today or tomorrow and go to the beach.

Where’s your beach? How do you recharge and enjoy the fruits of your labor?

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Day 31–The Quoteables


Having a good quote or saying can get us moving. We can relate. There are times when the perfect words or thoughts can help us push through our final miles of a run, or last words of our writing session.

Here are some quotes to get you started, finished and motivated:

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

Any runner or writer knows that they can’t always wait for the motivation. To be successful we need to get into good habits. Some say that after doing something for 3 weeks straight, it is a habit.

If you have been following this blog since Day 1, you’ve started a habit. If not go to Day 1 and start running and writing now.

The habit will keep you going.

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.
Try to be better than yourself.
–William Faulkner

If you only run to win, you won’t last because winning isn’t enough to keep going. If you only write to be published and read, your steam will soon run out.

To keep your running and writing habits, do it to better yourself, not show others up.

Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.
-Lowell Thomas

Or do a little more than you did yesterday. You already know you can do what you did yesterday, so try to go one step further today. Chances are, you can.

“Every day is a good day when you run.”
-Kevin Nelson

Nobody can argue this, and if they try, tell them to go on a run.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.  ~Anaïs Nin

And that is why words have endless placement possibilities. Everything has not already been said. Not every story has already been told.

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.  ~James Michener

If you don’t know how to rewrite, you don’t know how to write, so Embrace the Rewrite.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.  ~Anton Chekhov

Remember to keep nuances in your writing. Say something like it has never been said.

For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.  ~John Cheever

Never forget to use your senses and help others to notice their own. A story falls flat where senses are forgotten.

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Day 30–Embrace your Style


If every artist had the same style, it would no longer be art. Picasso and Van Gogh’s art  attracts for different reasons, but the point is they attract.

What attracts people to your writing?

If every restaurant served the same food most of us would stay home.

If every short story, poem, essay, blog,  novel and article had the same style we would stay home. We read because it broadens our view, challenges our opinions and opens doors into new thought.

This is why you need to put a piece of yourself into your writing. You are unique and your writing should carry a piece of this uniqueness.

As the writers, our job is to figure out what piece of our self we will thread throughout our writing.

Style can be taught, but only to a certain degree.

After this certain degree we are on our own to determine our own quirks and wordage.

Here’s how to weave your style into your writing:

  • Stream of conscious writing–Don’t worry about anything on your first draft-Just write whatever comes.
  • Write Clear Prose–Practice writing as clear as you can. De-clutter your writing.
  • Write about what moves you–Write about what affects you, by doing this your mind and heart are on the page.
  • Write widely–Don’t limit yourself to only one form. Write poems, non-fiction, fiction, lists, etc.
  • Avoid Cliches–Cliches are stolen style. Come up with new metaphors, similes and analogies.
  • Write–The more words down, the more defined your style will become.

Just like you are what you eat, you can be what you read. It’s not possible or advisable to totally copy another artist’s work, but the more you read Hemingway, Faulkner, Plath or anyone’s work the more they will rub off on you.

Monte Schulz said in, Our unique writing style becomes us, an article in The Writer Magazine,

“One could argue that we no more choose the voice we write with than we choose our mannerisms, our preferences in clothes or foods, the tone of our speaking voice. If that is so, then style arises out of some unnamed muse, and the words we write pour forth from a hidden wellspring whose location and identity we can never know.”

Do you feel style arises from an unnamed muse or do we chose our style?

What writer do think has a very distinct style?

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Day 29–Twenty Things you can learn from this Blog


    1. How to commit to Running & Writing today
    2. How to find time to Run & Write
    3. Ten ways to keep Running everyday
    4. Why you should be Proud to Run & Write
    5. Ten Reasons to start Running Today
    6. How reading will help you Run more
    7. Seven steps to beat Procrastination
    8. 12 reasons I love Running Hills
    9. Fuel for Running & Writing
    10. Why you should pay yourself first
    11. Good Running & Writing Forums
    12. The importance of Variety
    13. The Perfect Writer’s Boost
    14. The value of a Musical Muse
    15. Five Great Running Pod casts
    16. Saving money with Running & Writing
    17. How reach your Goals
    18. How Running fights Negativity
    19. The Write Run Write formula
    20. Does Technology help you Run & Write?

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Day 28– The Ultramarathon of Writing


National Novel Writing Month-November

This endurance event of the writing world goes down every November. According to the website it is thirty days and thirty nights of literary abandon.

The Event-Participants begin on November 1st and try to write a 50, 000 word novel before  11:59:59 on November 30th.

The event is more about quantity then quality.  The website  brings out, ” By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.”

In 2010 there were over 200,000 participants, and we can count on a strong showing this year. Because of this grand number you take comfort in knowing there are others, writing day in and day out to complete their novel.

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to write your first novel, November is the time. It will take endurance, fueling, sweat and tears, but the results–A Novel.

Or at least the first draft.

The event is free. You can join now at National Novel Writing Month

Why not start training now by joining my writing streak club?

I’m joined and plan on giving it a shot. So you will be hearing updates from me on this subject.

What do you think about National Novel Writing Month? Do you plan on giving it a try?

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My Running and Writing Goals


I haven’t wrote much about my running and writing goals on this blog.

Here’s the current list:

  • Run everyday
  • Write everyday
  • Push-ups everyday
  • Pull-ups everyday
  • Run a 12 hour ultra in August
  • Run a 100 ultra in 2012
  • Finish novel in 2011
  • Write separate novel during National Novel Writing Month this November
  • Publish a short story in one of the Top 50 Literary Magazines
  • Keep publishing freelance work in high level magazines
  • Write one blog post a day
  • Submit 12 freelance queries a week

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Day 27–The Western States 100–Don’t just Dream


Today 389 runners are testing their mettle at the 38th annual Western States Endurance Run.

They will try to run 100 miles, starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California. According to the website, “Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters.”

These runners have trained for months or even years to be able to accomplish this great feat. The desire to run in this race is at the top of  many ultrarunners to-do list. Because of the race’s popularity you must enter a lottery system to run the race. The chances of being chosen are about 10 percent.

We can learn something as runners and writers from these runners.

One commonality they all share is–Commitment, Determination & Endurance.

Notice that the commitment and determination come before the endurance. Without commitment and determination we will never gain endurance.

These runners decided and determined that they would train to run 100 miles, and 100 tough miles at that. They may have dreamed about it at first, thinking that it would be great to be able to do that, but there came a point when they had to decide to make it a reality.

They decided and committed to running that distance. Once they committed themselves, the run was no longer a dream.

As runners and writers we can dream and dream about what we want to accomplish–Run a marathon or 100 miles, write a novel or publish a short story.

The dream can be fun at first, but it is nothing until we Commit.

Dreaming isn’t action, commitment is. And next comes the determination to meet our goal. Only we determine whether we are committed or not.

This is where our determination comes into play. Be determined. Know that others have done it and so can you.

Think of all those runners out there today, they are determined, they are done dreaming. They are running.

Do you need a reason to run?  Ten reasons to start running today.

If we find it in ourselves to commit to a goal, running or writing, and then be determined, the endurance will follow. All those runners started in the same place-the beginning. Every writer starts at word one, every runner at mile one. After tacking on words and miles, the endurance grows, it feeds on past miles and past words.

Our endurance must be fed. Stop writing down the words and it will wither. Stop running the miles and it wilt.

So keep it up. If you’ve started running and writing everyday, you are committed, you are determined and your endurance is growing.

If you have not committed yourself yet, go to Day 1 of this blog, and read a post a day.

Commit, Be Determined to Stop Dreaming, and you will find Endurance.

Maybe next year you will be one of those runners.

Thanks Western States runners, for helping all of us move forward.

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Day 26–The Elements of Style


If you are new to this blog, and want to use it to it’s fullest potential, I suggest you start at Day 1 and continue on from there. Or keep on reading.

Rules

Good writing does have rules. And for the beginner the rules can be a bit intimidating. Even though most of us have grown up writing, it doesn’t mean that we’ve ever had to worry about the rules of writing.

As a writer you are the master of your craft, so lets say there are no rules, only suggestions. I great place to start for writing suggestions is a book by, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

This book is less than a 100 pages and has everything a writer needs to start learning proper syntax and grammar.

The Boston Globe said-“No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little  volume.”

It’s true the book is small, practically pocket-size, but it carries valuable information for any writer.

The book covers the Elementary Rules of Usage and Composition. I particularly like the section on An Approach to Style, it is a list of reminders and suggestions, not rules.

A few of these reminders are:

  • Place yourself in the background
  • Write with nouns and verbs
  • Do not overwrite
  • Avoid fancy words
  • Be clear
  • Prefer the standard to the offbeat

I highly recommend this tight easy read to any writer. You can pick up a copy for less than 10 bucks, and that’s a pretty affordable writing class.

It will affect your writing for the good.

Writing Prompt–Pick up a copy of The Elements of  Style, and then take your last piece of writing and edit it with this book.

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Day 25–The Writer’s Manifesto


“Real writers don’t write for recognition.
They don’t do it for fame,
accolades,
or notoriety.
They do it because they cannot not write”

These are some of the first words in Jeff Goins new e-book, “The Writer’s Manifesto.”

He also adds, “Writers don’t write to get published.
They write for the love of writing.”

This book is about getting back to the heart of writing.

The book is a very inspiring read, for newer and seasoned writers alike. If you are new to writing, it will set you off on the right foot, and if you’re a writer with millions of words behind you, this book can bring you back to the realities of why we write.

I liked the book because it is more of a poem, than a story or non-fiction piece. It can be read through in less than 15 minutes, but it begs to be revisited and pondered on.

There are many great lines throughout the book. The writing is crisp and alive.

For example, “As we care less about our audience’s affections,
more people will be affected by our writing.”

So I encourage any writer, fledgling or grand master to give this book a read. And did I mention it’s free.

To get your copy go to: Jeff Goins Writer

Please give his site a visit, read the book and then get back to me on what you think.

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Day 24–Calling all Writers, Runners and Readers


Today’s post is totally relying on you. I know at first it will be slim, but over time it will grow and expand until there is no longer room. We are starting at ground level, but over time this list will grow. As I receive comments I will add them to these two lists. So please comment. Your comments serve to inspire future readers.

Why do you run?

Why do you write?

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