By Christie Wild
The writing process is much like going for a run. For one, you have to own the fact that you’re a writer. Runners own it, so DRESS THE PART. Two, usually runners will have a clue about where they’re going; you should too. That doesn’t mean you have to tighten your pants and become a plotster, but having a goal about where you’re headed will help you to FOCUS ON YOUR GOAL. Getting started may sometimes feel like the hardest part of all. When you go for a run, all you have to do is get dressed, and put on your socks and shoes. Then step outside and put one foot in front of the other. Pretty soon, you’ll pick up speed and you’ll be running! With writing, GETTING STARTED IS EASY, too. Sit down with a notebook and a pen and put one word after another, and pretty soon you’ll have a few sentences and you’ll be writing! Easy peasy!
Next, you have to discover your own voice. Part of the writing process requires you to write in your own voice and to be true to your voice. With running, runners find their own rhythm and pace, which is akin to their “voice.” DO YOU HAVE A MANTRA? A mantra is not the same thing as your voice, but it can help you understand how to be your true self and to not try to be like everyone else. Obviously, you can’t tell a good story without having a few characters. Be careful not to have STEREOTYPICAL CHARACTERS, or your readers may lose interest. When running, you may face stereotypes too. Like beliefs, or dogs… (Watch the video.) So, mix up your characters. Throw in something unexpected or surprising. Ruff! Ruff!
What else can you do with characters? Well, don’t be nice to them. Readers like a good challenge that mirrors life. We can’t get to that feeling of triumph if there’s no conflict to overcome. So, BE MEAN TO YOUR CHARACTERS. Challenge your characters like you get challenged when you go for a run. Make your characters go for a 5-mile run in 90-degree heat, with no shade and no breeze. Make them fill up their own water bottles. Have a dog chase them. Put rocks and roots in their path. Have lots of cars with smelly exhaust be on the road. On the other hand, while you’re being mean to your characters, be nice to yourself. If things don’t go according to plan, don’t wig out. Take a deep breath. It’s all good. The awesome thing about the writing process is that you can change things around. Not so much once you’re published, but at that point, hopefully you won’t feel a strong need to continue editing.
And finally, what do you do when you get STUCK? Get un-STUCK! If you’re stuck, just write, and you will write the kink out of your stuckness. (Watch the vid.) Basically, write through it, or push through the pain. If that doesn’t work, then go for a run!
Children’s book author, Christie Wright Wild, lives in the mountains of NC. She began writing poetry in 2nd grade, short stories in 4th grade, and continued both in college. Now, she writes picture books because she never got enough of them as a child. When she isn’t writing, she might be running outside to train for her next race… or playing with a kaleidoscope, kite, spinning top, harmonica, or solving the Rubik’s Cube. ChristieWrightWild.blogspot.com | @CHRISTIEWILD
Wonderful inspiration for the first day of NaNoWriMo 🙂 Thank you!
I love the running parallel, Christie. The writing advice is great. If you have a suggestion (or 26.2 of them) for how to get a marathon toenail to grow back properly, I’m all ears.