Run Faster, Write Harder

Race
Photo Credit: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML via Compfight cc

Do you run?

If you’re a writer, you should.

This week, I explain why in my guest blog post for Write To Done: The Runner’s Guide to Better Writing.

In this post, I explain why these two apparently different activities have much in common and how running can help you become a more creative and productive writer.

I’ve been a runner for two years and a writer for somewhat longer. I’m still learning about this sport and this craft, but I know it’s important pursue activities that cultivate mental and physical discipline.

The trainers and the pen complement each other.

When I run, I have more energy and desire for the blank page and for coming up with ideas for blog posts, articles and other forms of writing.

After I write, I am hungry for a break from the imposed stillness of sitting in one place and focusing on a single idea at length.

This isn’t a discovery I made on my own.

A Writer Who Runs

Haruki Murakami, the Japanese author of Kafka of the Shore, opened my eyes to the relationship between sport and creativity.

Murakami’s remarkable output (he’s written 13 novels and numerous short-stories) shows that best and most successful writers aren’t drunks, drug addicts or shamans in search of inspiration.

They are hardworking and disciplined artists who keep mentally and physically fit and focus on their work.

When Murakami is writing a novel, he runs at least ten miles every day. He has also made a point to run a full marathon every year for the past twenty or so years (which may go some way towards explaining 13 novels).

In his searching and accessible autobiography, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Murakami writes:

“Even a novelist who has a lot of talent and a mind full of great new ideas probably can’t write a thing if, for instance, he’s suffering a lot of pain from a cavity. The pain blocks concentration. That’s what I mean when I say that without focus you can’t accomplish anything.”

Running can help you cultivate this focus and bring a balance to your life. Even if you don’t like running, you could take up other sports like swimming, football or golf.

The point is to abandon yourself entirely to your ideas on the page and then abandon yourself entirely to something else on the road, on the track or wherever you exercise.

Want more? Check out my post on Write To Done.

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