How Running Can Help You Write Better
What do Homer, Louisa May Alcott, Joyce Carol Oates, Haruki Murakami, and Malcolm Gladwell have in common, apart from the fact that they are renowned writers?
Oh well, Murakami and Oates are such giveaways. So yes, you’re right. They are earnest runners. They and many other writers have given credence to the distinct connection running has with writing.
Let’s move past the celebrated fact that running, like swimming or brisk walking, is good for the brain, not to mention beneficial to our health and well-being. Instead, let’s look into the surprisingly unique ways running can bring out the height of adeptness in every writer.
Running gives you your much-needed solitude
When you run, all else are lowered to the status of being mere distractions — deadlines, social media, endless chores, emails, your book’s next chapter, sex or the lack of it, bills, what’s for dinner—all irrelevant at your solitary moment.
The feeling of lightness when you have reached your comfortable stride, when the muscles no longer hurt from utter shock, and when you feel like you can go on forever like you’re Forrest Gump is incomparable.
Feeling guilty yet? You don’t have to. You owe it to yourself. Besides, your alone time has a purpose: your limitless self-discovery that you can only achieve by listening to yourself. This is how you attune to your sensitivity, which serves as a portal to your creativity.
Running lets you discover new things, starting with your body
Writers and creatives are good at observing and absorbing. Your creative spirit drives you to seek fresh ideas and new experiences. Where else to start than in your own body? If you haven’t run for thirty minutes straight before, wouldn’t it be worth finding out if you can do it like they can? After all, the human body has innumerable capacities and functionalities that are unknown even to scientists. For instance, do you know that your eyes can distinguish millions of different colors and that your nose is capable of detecting a trillion different smells?
Running trains you to focus and tap into the subconscious
One thing leads to another. As your mind switches off unnecessary conscious thoughts when you run, it deliberately trains itself to focus. When you run, you focus on your own breathing. This allows you to enter into a meditative state or a deeper state of mind that occurs when you shower or before drifting off to sleep, when you are supposed to have a pen and paper handy to capture Eureka moments. Before you know it, you have come face to face with your best ideas.
Running teaches you important values of a successful writer: mental toughness, perseverance, and confidence
Having made running a habit implies that you have maintained the rare discipline and the fortitude of mind needed to keep going despite the grueling exercise. It means that despite your excuses, limitations and frustrations, you persisted. And just like being creative, you accept that at times you fall short of your own and other people’s expectations.
You will have shitty runs in the same way that you will have shitty drafts.
But because you have managed to make a runner out of what-used-to-be your sloppy self, you have built an unbreakable confidence that tells you that whatever it is you face, it’s all going to be okay.