Tag Archives: Creative writing

Writing/Running Mix

382058_623672603320_333651482_nPeople have asked me how in the world I find time to train for half-marathons, marathons, and write novels, all in my spare time.

Quick answer: Like I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, you don’t find time for anything, you make time.

Not so quick answer: Because they feed off of each other.

Huh?

Feed off each other?

Both activities take hours every week. Hours that I could be spending watching the latest episodes of Real Housewives of Topeka, Kansas—or something like that.

Running and writing feed off one another for a few simple, but critical reasons. If you can sit down and write a novel in a few months, you have the discipline to train for a ten-mile run in the same span of time.

1. Both take a ridiculous amount of patience.

Writing a novel takes a ton of patience. Despite popular opinion, you can’t write a good novel in a weekend. You can’t write a good novel in a week. Hell, sorry NaNoWriMo, but you can’t in a month either. A novel is a block of stone you have to chip away at. You can get a few chunks of it in a few heavy swings, but you’ll often be overwhelmed and burnt out. It’s best to take your time and settle into your work. Take the right amount of time to edit and revise. That’s the most important part of writing anyway.

Distance running is the same thing. You can’t go out and run ten miles your first day out. You may be able to sprint a quarter mile and knockout a large chunk quickly, but that will tire you out. Developing the skills for distance running helps me sit down in front of the computer and do the work I need to before I start my day job every day.

2. Physical exertion breeds creativity.

There may be a study that proves this. On the contrary, there may be a study that says this statement is completely full of shit. But I can’t count how many great writing ideas I’ve had in the middle of a long, gut-checking run.

I feel that my best ideas come when I’m struggling to keep my body moving forward. I don’t know if this is because I’m not trying to think of creative ideas—I’m just trying not to pass out. “Light Bulb Moments” seem to happen when you’re focusing somewhere else.

3. Running and reading work well together.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Ummmm … Nope! You can’t run with a book in your hand.”

I smile at you. I look to the smart phone you’re holding in your hand, and politely ask you if you’ve ever heard of audible.

You tell me that reading audio books isn’t reading at all.

I tell you that you’re full of shit. The purpose of any writing is to convey information. Words put a picture in your head, and make you imagine what the book says. As Stephen King says, it’s a version of telepathy. Whether you consume the words with your eyes or ears, it doesn’t really matter much, does it? Stephen King also said that if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or skills to write. Why not read while improving your body?

4. They both teach you how to ‘junk punch’ self-doubt.

Every time I lace up my running shoes, I doubt that I’ll be able to reach my goal for the day. Likewise, when I sit in front of the computer, I doubt that I’ll type fast enough to reach my daily 1,000-word count before I have to go to work. I doubt my words will resonate with my desired audience. I don’t think I’ll run any faster on the trail than I ran two months ago.

Nearly every time I punch that doubt in the face and break through all doubts. It’s freeing. The next time I open my word processor or step out of my front door with my camel pack on, I do so with more confidence. Doing either activity enables me to believe in myself that much more the next time. There’s nothing better than working with confidence.

That’s the main thing these two activities bring into my life—self confidence. No amount of time and money can buy that.

Flash Fiction Thursday–Random Story Title Generator

Flash Fiction ThrusdayHere’s another flash fiction challenge from Terrible Minds:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/08/09/flash-fiction-challenge-random-story-title-generator/

http://www.mcoorlim.com/random.html

I chose the randomly generated title “The Beast’s Scientist” and wrote about a mutated dog. Me acually getting a dog was the motivation behind this one (More on that this weekend).

Enjoy!

The Beast’s Scientist

Dr. Ridge pushed the button which activated Bower’s eyes. The mutated canine’s eyes didn’t light up, but the hazel ring around his pupils turned to gold and started glowing. Dr. Ridge put on the white lab-coat and faced his small but interested audience. “Let’s see what he can do,” he said.

The onlookers also wore white lab-coats of their own. They all held pens and notepads and shared the same dubious look on their faces. Ridge released the black bear into the pin. It was obvious that the bear had the size advantage on the mutated dog, but everyone in the room could tell it was far closer than it should have ever been had the dog been all-natural. In reality, the Pitt Bull monstrosity weighed in at a whooping three hundred and fifteen pounds—a good two hundred and fifty clear of what he should have weighed. He stood on four legs at four feet two inches and had teeth the size of AA batteries. The low growl that escaped his mouth when the bear walked into the cage with him sent chills down the spines of the onlooking scientists. Hell, it even sent chills down the spine of the black bear itself. The bear cowered in the corner in hopes that the giant dog-beast wouldn’t rip him from limb to limb.

“Meet Bowser,” Dr. Ridge said. The pride in his voice was unmistakable. “We’ve located the pituitary gland in his brain as a newborn puppy and altered his genetic makeup. Although, he’ll carry the usual traits that you’d see with his breed, he’s grown to close to six times it’s usual size. His brain was half canine and half robot. We can activate him at any time and shut him down, as well. He’s the ultimate compliment to any army. The ground forces will be able to sniff out any dangerous insurgents…pun intended.”

“Dr. Ridge,” A man in the crowd of white coats spoke up. “How did you manage to make him aggressive enough to fight a bear? And why isn’t he doing anything?”

“Still need to push one more button.” Ridge pushed said button, and sent electrical pulses into Bowser’s brain with the flick of a finger.

The tension in the dog’s leg muscles abated for a moment, then reactivated showing the onlookers every ripple in the canine’s frame.

“Let’s proceed,” Ridge said.

With that, Bowser walked to the frightened bear who still cowered in the corner of the caged room. He stood up on his hind legs and towered over the bear like a bear would do so if the tables were flipped out in the wild.

All at once, he came down on the bear with his mouth open, teeth showing, and…tail wagging?

For a moment, the onlooking men thought the dog was attempting to lick the bear to death, but then realized that he just wanted to play.

Ridge looked both stunned and disappointed. His creation failed him once again. Ridge realized the error in his project—he based it on stereotype alone. He forgot to take into account that he needed to train the dog how to maul other animals; Bowser simply wouldn’t do that when left to his own devices.