I’ve been running almost all of my life, and I’ve been writing almost all of my life. Both can be the most wonderful experience ever, when the stars align. A soft, rollercoaster trail, where the miles come effortlessly. A scene where the words appear as if someone else is writing.

They can also be desperate, miserable, painful slogs.

Whenever I start thinking of running as a chore I have to accoomplish, I know I need to back off and do something else, or, if I can’t. find a different trail, or decide this will be a picture-taking or dog training run. Or, I will just run for 30 minutes and call it good. The same goes for writing. After three manuscripts completed in two years, I knew it was time for a break. For months, I haven’t felt like writing, so I haven’t.

When you get older, there is always the ticking clock. And, use it or lose it. I’ve seen too many friends slip down into the mire of out of shapeness and it is hard to claw your way back out. And when you have some success as a writer, you may feel that you need to keep that ball rolling. 

It’s OK to do something else, though. A single-minded focus means you really are only good at one thing. If I only ran as my exercise, I would be good at…running. If I wrote all the time, I might get more stuff publlished, but would I have time for anything else? 

I have started to feel twinges of wanting to write again. I’m going to let those simmer a bit and see what kind of stew I can cook up. Flickers of a novel are bubbling to the surface. I’m not going to force it.

The same goes for running. I did a couple of nice trail runs recently, and I will again. Just not today.