Running and Revisions

I hate mornings. Like, in an I-want-to-stab-the-sun kind of way.


I’m lured out of bed by the thought of warm coffee—well, that and the incessant tugging from my 3-year-old who’s gleefully gotten up at six a.m.

Oh child, someday you’ll appreciate sleep.

The only thing I loathe more than mornings is running. On a treadmill. To Nowhereville. Seriously. Who invented this crap?


But I step on the treadmill anyway because I have a drive to keep my lungs from collapsing when I’m on the soccer field. Yes, you read that right. I hate running, but I love soccer.

Stay with me, I have a point.


I don’t feel like I’m exercising when I play sports. It’s just me and a bunch of friends chasing a ball around a grassy field—or turf if I’m playing indoors—all the while trying to boot it into a net so we can claim victory and go home with our chins held high. Maybe even have a beer or two.


You don’t get that on a treadmill. There’s nobody waiting to high five you when the belt stops turning. But without the treadmill, I’d be worthless on the soccer field. This morning, in between thoughts of how much I hate running in place, I had an epiphany. Treadmills and soccer are a lot like writing.

Trust me (again), I have a point.


While I’ve come to appreciate revisions, it’s hard work, and it’s not as fun as the creative flow that comes with blasting words onto a page. That’s soccer. That’s the side of my brain that thinks of writing as going full speed, wind slapping me in the face, hands held high like I’m going to hug the sun (because the big hot ball in the sky and I are friends as long as I’m on the soccer field).


I’ll show up early for a soccer game, whereas I have to force myself to put on my running shoes.




But I do it. I do it because it makes me better on the field. Just like revisions make me a better writer. Don’t get me wrong. Some days—when I didn’t stay up typing away or binging on episodes of Orange is the New Black—I enjoy climbing on the treadmill and pounding out a couple miles. I always, always feel great when the workout’s done. My mind is charged. Ready. Refreshed. Every tenth of a mile is like editing a chapter of a novel. Bit by bit. Word by word.


It’s worth it. It just takes self-motivation. Lots of it. And, just like revisions, when I run I have to dig a little deeper, push myself a little harder than I would have to on the field—and have faith that if I put the effort in, the results will show.


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