Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Marathoning vs Writing

When I tell my fellow writers I just ran a marathon, they look at me like I’m crazy. I’m here to tell you that running a marathon is a whole lot easier than writing a book.

I can take any of you and turn you into a successful marathon runner. All you have to do is commit six months of your life to the training, be willing to work hard, sweat profusely, and lose a few toenails along the way. What do you get out of all of this? Pride in yourself. Statistics say that only .1 percent of the world population has ever run a marathon. Why? Because it hurts to run 26.2 miles. It’s daunting. It feels unobtainable for someone who has never run a mile. But, it can be done by anyone in reasonably good health. Anyone!

The same can’t be said about becoming a successful author. No matter how hard you work, how much sweat you profuse, or how many toenails you’re willing to lose for the cause, no one can guarantee that they will get you a traditional publishing contract.

You can become a marathon runner in six months but the average writer takes ten years to find a measure of success. A marathon runner loses weight while in training. A writer gains weight while in training. A marathon runner gets to socialize with others as they train. A writer sits in their cubbyhole alone pounding on the keys. A marathon runner gets a medal when they're done. A writer gets a book review – it might be good, or it might be bad.

So, why would anyone choose to become a writer when it’s harder than running a marathon and the success rate is less? Well, I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I can speak for myself. I write books because it’s a passion I can’t ignore.

Why do you write books?

And while you’re thinking about this and contemplating running a marathon, now that you know you can, let me leave you with a few pics of some famous marathon runners. Enjoy

Lisa Wells

William Baldwin ran the New York Marathon
The bare asses are running a marathon in France
David Elliot ran the Boston Marathon


  1. Lisa,

    Wow...well now that you mention it, I might want to start running a marathon instead! At least I can lose weight...and not gain it!

    And I commend you on running marathons. I wish I had time to train for something like that, heck, even making time to walk is hard, especially with my new banking hours...staying until six at night is heck.

    I write books b/c I have to, otherwise the characters in my head would drive me nuts and they would commit me!

    No, really I want people to feel the way that I feel when I read, no matter the emotions. Writers hold the key to feelings, and I only want to share how I feel when I write. Hopefully I'm able to do so.

  2. Wow! I really like this post. And not just because there are naked men pics. LOL Throughout reading this I kept nodding my head, thinking ain't it the truth;) Writer's do battle loneliness and junk food daily, but still we push forward with as you said, no guarantee of success.
    Why? Like you, I have stories inside my head that want to be told. And I guess our "medal" has to be in knowing we practice and learn and rewrite until we tell the story the best way we possibly can.
    And it's nice if someone besides your mom likes it too;)

  3. Okay, first, I have to comment that I was not aware one could trade toenails for a publishing contract. I have only ten, but my loyalty to them is entirely flexible.
    I wholeheartedly agree that marathoning is easier than writing. The one commonality (which I love!) is that we both have wicked cool support groups. I gotta say, mile 22 sucks asscheek, but if there's someone else there, it's a little more bearable. Likewise, when I get discouraged and start feeling like I'm a total hack with nothing good to say and no words to say it, I have y'all... and a raging caffeine addiction.

    Love you all!!! Great post, Lisa!

    P.S. Jenn, seriously? Your Mom has read your book? I dread the day some poor shmuck publishes anything of mine, because that's the day I'll hear my mother's vast and unedited cache of opinions.

    P.P.S. Off topic, I'd like to retract my prior comments about the clean shaven preference. I saw a Keith Urban commercial a few hours ago, and I don't know if he's ever run a marathon, but I'd sure run one to get my face scuffed by him. (Damn, but that boy can fill out a pair of jeans!)

  4. Love, love, love this post, Lisa! It is absolutely so true. As writers, we do have the long hours of being in our own little worlds and dealing with all the insanity of telling a story to the best of our ability. Then we deal with the stress and worry of will anyone love our characters and stories besides a best friend or spouse by eating and drinking the not so healthy choices. Geez...I should have stock in Hershey and Starbucks. LOL.

    But, yet I push forward because I have to tell my stories about all those crazy people in my head or otherwise I would be a mental case. I also do it because the thought that the stories which I create can stir up various emotions within a person's soul is the best feeling in the world. I love it when I cry, laugh, get pissed off, anxious, frighten, and totally turned on by what I have read. The thought of people reacting to my stories in the same manner is such a big reward.

    Cecily, I'm with you on the mom thing. I do cringe at the ideda of her reading anything I write. Let's just say she's pretty straightlaced and a VERY conservative Southern Baptist lady. Yep, I'd definitely hear an ear full of how she went so wrong with me....heehee. Oh, and on the off topic...Keith Urban in or out of jeans works for me. :)

  5. Lisa, this is a great post. I love the comparison between the two. However, since I entirely loathe running and enjoy writing, I would still pick writing over the marathon any day. Running and I have never gotten a long very well.

    BTW Cecily, I agree about Keith Urban...I have thought him hot since I saw his first music video around 10 years ago. He does look great in jeans! JD, I wouldn't mind seeing him out of them either. :) Ms. Kidman is a lucky lady.

  6. Well done, Lisa! Great comparison, but I have to agree with Kasey - running and I do not get along, unless I'm chasing my kids around the yard or sprinting down a vault runway!

    And you guys and your junk food! Am I the only one who sets out healthy snacks for myself at the computer? LOL

    I agree with you all that writing is just something I like to do. For years, I had stories running through my head, until I decided to write them down. Then I didn't feel so crazy! While I agree that it is difficult to get published, it's not impossible. I refuse to look at it in terms of years. In an email conversation I had with Eloisa James, I told her that it was kind of daunting to consider publishing when there were already so many authors. She told me that I shouldn't look at it that way. Some readers read 4-10 romance books a week, and people are looking for new books all the time! She said that romance is the biggest selling genre in the world, and there is a demand for our work and we shouldn't give up. Every time I wonder if I'm getting anywhere, I remember her words and know that it will happen!

  7. I love you Lisa, but you'd need longer than six months to get THIS Angel's Ass Cheeks in shape for a marathon! The pic of Mr. Baldwin is yummy, as is Mr. Elliot, but something about a group of men in thongs is just tooooo gay for me. Totally agree with everything else you said, tho.

    If I didn't sit down and write my stories, I believe my head would explode. For years I didn't because I didn't know I could. Now I'd die without it, or at least become an unbearable bitch. Oh, Cecily and J.D., you two don't know what you're missing out on by not having your moms read your work. Not only does mine read mine, but she passes them around to all of the other little old 70 and 80 year old ladies in the Garden Club, Ladies Alter Society, and Catholic Daughters. It just proves what I've suspected for years...it's a hell of alot more fun to be Catholic than straight laced Baptist, ya think??? At least until we're all burning in hell for having too much fun. ;) But seriously, my mom introduces me to everyone as "My daughter, the author..." She's 84 y'all. I'm working my ass off in hopes that she'll live long enough to introduce me as her 'published author' daughter one day.
    Great post, Lisa!

  8. LMAO, Lori! I don't know what my mom would think of my writing, but I know my mother-in-law is itching to read my stuff!

    Lisa - I forgot to mention that I think it's great you run marathons. It's great to train and achieve something like that. I know other people who do, so hats off to you all!

  9. Thanks ladies for all of the wonderful comments regarding the post.

    My mother-in-law read my book and said, "it just wasn't her thing and she didn't know I wrote that kind of stuff." :) Then the church found out and it was read by most of the ladies in the church and they all keep asking me when my next book is coming out.

    Cecily, I'm thinking you're going to have to join me on my next marathon. We can plot our way through the miles.

    I love all of you. You're the best.