Friday, March 05, 2021

Writing: The Two Hardest Things

I found this from several years back, and it has quite a meaning for me. Maybe it will help you, as well.

 I am not a runner. To me, the only reason to run is if you're being chased. But there are runners who read this blog, even some of you who run the 26+ miles of a marathon. Power to you, but as for me, no thanks.

I'm rereading (for the umpteenth time) the books written by the late Robert B. Parker, and I came across this bit of dialogue that hit home. Spenser, the protagonist, is going for a run with his girl-friend, Susan, who only wants to do a couple of miles.

"You realize you're running the two hardest miles," he says, referring to the first and last mile of a run.

"Maybe," she replies. "But if I didn't run those, I probably wouldn't run any."

If you think about that, the same applies to a task we don't look forward to. The first mile corresponds to getting started, something we put off as long as possible. Then, when we get started, we always encounter other stuff we need to do along the way. I know both Kay and I have that feeling sometime. And that brings us to the last mile--completing the task we set for ourselves. That is, the finishing touches (including editing and rewriting).

So, are we running the two hardest miles? I know I feel that way sometimes, and I suspect you do as well. Want to tell me about it? I'd like to hear.


Patricia Bradley said...

I like that quote from Spenser. If I have two things to do and one is not what I want to do, I do it first and get it out of the way. No sense in dreading it for hours and still have to do it. lol I've been like that since I was a kid.

I used to be a jogger, not fast enough to say runner. lol Then the knees went so I swam for a while and loved it, but there's no pool in my area now, so I do water aerobics at our hospital therapy pool.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I think we all tend to put off the things we find less comfortable. The image Parker paints helps me when I need motivation.

Priscilla Bettis said...

I jog, and I have done the Marathon thing (but really, just jogging around the neighborhood is much more fun). You're right, that first mile is tough. I try to start running or writing before I think so much about it that I talk myself out of it!

As for finishing, beta readers (or seeing my home in the distance) spur me on and help me not only finish fast but finish better. I just sold another story (Snoopy dance!!), but it wouldn't have been a good enough story without other people's pointers and encouragement.

Richard Mabry said...

Priscilla, congratulations...not only on being a runner (long beyond me) but also on selling another story. Keep on writing and running.

Priscilla Bettis said...