Writing stamina

Working in front of the fire on retreat last week...
Working in front of the fire on retreat last week…

This is more of a musing than a blog post (is there a difference, really?), something that has struck me in the last couple of days. I can only liken it to training for a long distance race.

In 2008 I did the 10 miles of the Great South Run, which I found gruelling. I’ll blame that on the horrendous weather, but at the end of October in Portsmouth, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I’d run my first 5k race in 1998 not long after my dad died, and have run ever since. The increase from 5k (3 miles) to 10 miles is a process. You have to increase the distance steadily, incrementally, over time. I think it took me about 6 week to shift from 6 miles to 10 miles.

At the beginning, I thought I would never get to 10 miles. I was comfortable doing 3 miles, 6 even. Actually, I loved running the 10k distance, really finding a rhythm after the first 30 minutes of relative discomfort. It was like that for the novel. I thought I could never get to 100,000 words (I haven’t yet!), and I wasn’t sure that I could sustain the story. 2,000 words of short story was challenge enough. In those early days of churning out the words, it was a stretch to make it to the 1,000 word marker (my per day ¬†minimum), but in the last days, it’s been 1,800, 2,000 and yesterday 2,300 without the pain that it felt earlier in the year.

I can only conclude that my writing stamina is increasing, and I think that’s worth noting.

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