"shotgun start" - 10 things to give you inspiration during your running/writing

BANG!  and we're off!  Good luck fellow 21k competitors!

1. silence.  find a time when no one else is around.  run. write.  it'd be great if u could get your body up at 4 AM to spend a quiet hour furthering your weekly mileage novel.  so a good night's sleep is required.  by 8PM.  (sorry, erica.) this leads us to #2

2. time. set aside a specific time to run write.  one or two hour blocks would be ideal. try to keep it at the same time every day.

3. music.  you need at least one great song that really gets your legs moving reminds you of a character or the mood in your story.  play it before or during your writing time. or during your brainstorming time.

(note:  brainstorming time should NOT take place during the time you've set up as your writing time.  this time is solely for furthering your novel.  brainstorming should happen while driving, while showering, while running, while pulling your kids in the wagon, while reading aloud to your class at school, while explaining to your boss why you deleted a file accidentally during your lunch break, or while burning cooking dinner)

4. share. tell people you're competing in a marathon. don't let them interrupt your run writing (you know, unless there's a hospital visit involved). everyone needs a support system. also, feel free to email us. we'll cheer you on all the way to the finish line!

5. ms word.  say goodbye to the internet for a few days.  stretch every time you complete a workout a chapter.  that's your break time. the other thing is just procrastination.  a distraction. NOT a break.  eating a snickers candy bar is a break.  or is that kit kat?  (maybe don't eat those either.  then you'll just have to run more miles and THAT will take away from your writing time. just take a bathroom break and get back at it.)

6. goals and rewards. to help you along, set up a time for fun research. 15 minutes - be strict with yourself - to check email, blogs, etc. before you start. then shut all tabs. don't log in again until you've reached 750 words. then, you've earned 15 more minutes. try for 500 more words before logging in again. remember, an average page is (around) 250 words.

7. just start. stop rereading your entire ms every time you sit down.  really?  you don't remember at least the gist of what's there?  it hasn't changed.  just start where you left off.  you can edit later.  way, way later.

8. motivation. okay, if you must check the internet, use it for writing motivation. check out us, of course, but NaNoWriMo's pep talks might help you get motivated, too. They're here.

9. underscore.  if you can't think of a word you want or remember that character's name from back in chapter 2 or the type of car your mc's mom drives, just underscore and leave it blank.  you can ponder and figure it out later.  don't reread to find the info right then.  write.  (although, uh, just a tip, maybe, just maybe that character shouldn't be there in the first place?)

10. ultimate goals. sit back in your chair and remember why you write. to tell a story? to make money? to be able to quit your job and write/run/parent/etc. whenever you want? guess what? you can't achieve those goals unless you write. so get typing!

additional helpful tip:  skip all words ending in ly. this will get you to the end of your novel faster and keep your editing to a minimum. no, it won't rack up your word count, BUT should those words be there in the first place? (trust us, it pains christy to say this)  (so so true *tears up*)


  1. Very inspirational ... I will definitely try several of these... Good luck everyone. Remember we will all be winners just for competing!

  2. You know, I've compared everything else in my life to running, but never writing. I wonder how I missed out on connecting the two. But I have now seen the light and am off to blog about it. ;)

    Seriously, great stuff. I may print this out & hang it by my computer. Thanks!

  3. I'll have to check out your blog post to see what you come up with! I'm in need of motivation to run AND to write! I'm hoping to get four miles in today since I didn't get up to do anything this morning. Apparently I won't be too stiff of competition in my own 21k marathon of words! (Yes, and here I am blogging and not running OR writing. Some habits are hard to break!)

  4. Gideon...that was such a motivational thing to say! Especially since I am quite certain I am dead last. Zero for me. (christy)

  5. I loved this post. It was so good I am going to force my writing group to read it and then I'm going to print it out for NaNo.

    My sister is a runner and my husband is an Ironman triathlete. They are going to love this post when I read it to them. :)

  6. Don't worry Christy,

    You're going to do great, besides, how would it look if you or Erica won ... you're the sponsors! LOL

    One thing I've notice trying to write last night (after twelve) and for a bit this morning ... it's not going to be easy to keep up a 750-1000 good words a day. But then again, let's find out!

    Good luck everyone!

  7. You guys were so great today, I couldn't help but add to this. Christy - you run. I love that about you - keep it up. running and writing. Way to go!!!

  8. I love the analogy between writing and running. Wonder if that's someone's blog title. Could be very cool. I also like the idea of underscoring for info that needs to be researched later. It's easier to find than xxxxxxx.


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