A tale of writing and running.
Or how often should you write?
How often should you write?
To answer that, let me tell you a tale, a tale of writing and running (No, not at the same time; that would be hard to do.).
When I was in high school, eons ago, I wanted to be cool. It’s an unoriginal goal for a high schooler, but I was young and highly subject to the pressure of my peers. The one way a guy can become cool in American high school was to be a member of a sports team. I was already a member of the chess team, but for some reason that wasn’t working for me. So I tried out for the track team.
It turns out I wasn’t very fast. As a friend put it, “You’re faster than everyone in the high school, except the members of the track team.”
While I didn’t achieve my goal of high school coolness, being on the track team, working out almost daily for a year, had an unintended benefit – I became a runner. Running is very much a part of my life, now, and while I’m not world class or anything, I’ve run so much in my life, I probably could have run around the globe three or four times. Yes, that much. It’s the years, not the mileage.
If I go more than a couple of days without running, I feel bad. Running is part of me, who I am.
And that’s where I need to be with writing. I seem to have a call for it, since I write so much. But I wouldn’t say it’s a part of me, not in the same sense as my running. My writing is more driven by my story ideas. I read a new book and it inspires me, and that usually gets me thinking of ideas of my own. Then the three months or so of steady writing kicks in.
My writing is sporadic.
I can tell you as a runner, sporadic exercise doesn’t make you a better runner. Every time you start up, again, you’re retraining your body to run. You have spin up time, getting in shape, again, before you’re performing at your peak, once more.
While writing isn’t physical, it’s certainly similar. If you don’t use a skill for a while, those pathways in your brain, probably have to be redeveloped (I’m not a neurologist, but I play one on my blog.).
My goal is to become a better writer and, of course, an accomplished one. I know what I had to do to become a runner – I had to run almost every day for a year.
I’m pretty sure you have to do the same thing to become a writer – you have to write every day.