Just over a year ago, a few months before my 45th birthday, I started running. It changed my life. I’d like to begin this post with a blanket apology to anyone I have cornered in the intervening months. You will have seen the light of fanaticism in my eyes, and if you had been warned, would know I was about to bore the arse off you by talking about the wonders of my newfound passion. There’s nothing more exhausting than the fervour of the newly converted – witness new parents, fans of particular TV box sets (Breaking Bad people, I’m looking at you) and people who get a juicing machine.
Anyway, after slightly more than a year, I’m no longer an enthusiastic newbie. As I’ve settled into running and it’s become part of my day-to-day life, I’ve noticed that there are a great many parallels between running and writing. I’ve run around 1200 kilometres. I’ve written roughly one-and-a-half million words. I have so much to learn about both of these pursuits. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to synthesise a series of lessons which I think apply to both – and here they are.
Julia Cameron, in the wonderful, wonderful book The Artist’s Way, talks about the hostility she experiences in teaching people to free their creativity.
People say: “But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/ act/ paint/ write a decent play [or run]?”
Yes… the same age you will be if you don’t. So let’s start.
One monkey, one typewriter, seldom Hamlet.