I was reading today an essay written by Joyce Carol Oates titled, “To Invigorate Literary Mind, Start Moving Literary Feet”. She was writing about how she visualizes the places in her stories as she is running along and how the rhythm of her pounding feet helps the words flow. She also compared running trances to the dreaming mind. Dorothea Brande said in her book “Becoming a Writer” that walking actually puts a person into a dream state that can help them fully realize the characters and story line if they are fully involved in a piece of creative writing.
A little over a year ago I began running. At first, I could only do maybe a quarter mile before I had to slow to a walk. Little by little, I have been able to build up my legs and my heart and lungs to the point where I can now do a long run of 5 miles. Not much if you are a certain friend of mine who runs 100 mile races, but it is a huge gain for me and is proof that I can accomplish things if I set my mind to it and make it a habit. Eventually, I’ll be able to do a marathon.
It has been a lot like my writing program. The only way I can write a novel is by putting in the work day by day, word by word. Even if I don’t feel like writing, if I just set myself down in the chair and start with a few words, they begin to build upon themselves. Before I know it, 1,000 words has flowed by, just like the rhythm of my running feet slapping the pavement.