Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Like A Half-Marathon

I’ve never run a full marathon. I’ve thought about it several times during my life.  At one point, I even purchased a marathon guide book for a training schedule. For a multitude of excuses, I never managed to complete the marathon distance.  At one point, I built my distance to where I ran a half-marathon distance. It wasn’t in a race but on my own out on the road.

In many ways, writing full-length books is like running a half-marathon. You have to work at it consistently to finish. Through writing a bit each day and completing different sections, eventually you manage to complete the project. You can’t push too hard or you will get exhausted and not finish. If you think about the entire project from beginning to end, it becomes overwhelming at times and you can’t complete it either. Instead, you focus on the task for that particular day such as completing a chapter or part of a chapter, then you complete the next chapter, etc. It’s not a sprint or short race but a lengthy effort.

Last night I felt the exhilaration when I finished another book-length manuscript. I had written part of this manuscript last year. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working hard to expand it, rework the sentences and add new stories along with current how-to information and statistics. My overall goal was to expand the content about 30% from its former size. When I completed my planned additions, I counted my words and was please to discover that unconsciously I had written to my overall goal. 

I printed the entire manuscript and gave it one last read before I sent it off to my editor. What a relief to have this project in the hands of a capable editor. I’ll have to go through another round of revision (or two or three). It’s the editorial process—even for much published writers and editors like myself.  I want to always continue to grow in my craft and be open to revision and changes. It’s one of the pure signs of a professional from my view. While I’m aware there will be more work ahead for this particular project, I’m relieved to have completed this part of the process.

I’m unsure where you are in the writing journey. Maybe you are wondering if you can even write. Or maybe you write short magazine articles and are wondering if you can complete a book. You never know if you don’t try. 

Have you fallen for the big lie that writers are born? Or maybe you believe you either have it or you don’t have it and it can’t be taught? I’d encourage you to read and re-read James Scott Bell’s personal story, Putting the Big Lie to Sleep. It will encourage you to maybe try that half-marathon. 

2 Comment:

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Kathy Left a note...

Wow Terry- I think you wrote this post especially for me.

Who are you?
I run and write entire days away. Days like today...

At 12:26 AM, Blogger relevantgirl Left a note...

I appreciated the link to JSB's article. While a teacher or two may recognize the kernel of a gifting in us, the truth about great writing is that it takes tremendous amount of time and discipline and study and humility.

Thanks for the reminder as I'm trying to pound the keyboard.


Post a Comment

That's the writing life...

Back to the home page...