Let’s pretend, for a moment, that this blog is called, “What I Learned While Training for a Half Marathon.”
What I learned over the past twelve weeks, while I was, indeed, training for a half marathon, is that I need to do something consistently before I can do it well.
I have been a “runner” for something like fourteen months. I run for a variety of reasons, the most significant of which is “I have no idea.” But for whatever reason, I’ve spent the last three months arranging my diet, my sleep, and my calendar around my runs. I never had any illusions of placing in the half I’m running on Saturday, and in fact, I don’t think I will ever have any expectation of winning a race. Unless no one else is running. And probably not even then.
But the training program I used taught me that finishing well is not about pushing myself to the limit every day. It’s about maintaining consistency, about getting my body to a level of fitness where thirteen-point-one consecutive miles is not outside the realm of possibility. And I think the same is true of writing.
Whether it’s every day, every other day, or even once a week, the real key to stronger writing is consistency. I willingly admit that “consistency” has not been the word of the year in these parts, but that’s because, for a season, my priority has been running.
I’m starting to recognize a transition, as winter melts into spring, and spring into summer; as the athletic event in question quickly approaches; as the “cross-training” of reading knocks fabulous titles off my To Read list, and inspires me even further; as I check in with friends and fellow writers who kick me into gear with their optimistic encouragement; as my mind shuffles through ideas for new pieces; and as my weekly routine starts to take a new shape to make time for them—and blogging!
People have said it a thousand different ways throughout the years: Success comes from hard work, dedication, perseverance. Consistency. And the medal around my neck this Saturday will be all the more reason to sit down and get to work.