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Running and writing

My usual routine most days of the week is to get up at 5 in the morning and spend about 45 minutes writing in my journal. It is partly a morning pages sort of exercise—I force myself to write no less than three pages, even if every word is garbage—and partly a way of recording what is going on in my daily life and my thoughts. Later in the morning, I block off ninety minutes for actual creative writing. That seems to be the maximum amount of time I can squeeze out of my day and still get all my other stuff done.

At night, once the kids are done with their evening routines and on their way to bed, I head out for a run. I used to run early in the morning, but I found that the first mile was absolutely miserable and my pace was at least a minute per mile off my usual. Shifting my run to the evening has been working out much better—I’m not stiff and achey from having just spent seven hours asleep, and it lets me work off whatever stress and anxiety might have built up over the course of the day.

Due to some family scheduling issues, I have had to temporarily move my run back to the early morning hours this week. As expected, it has been slow and terrible.

A cascading effect is that, with that early morning block of time now taken over by running, I am not able to spend the forty-five minutes I usually devote to my journal first thing in my day. And as a result of that, I find that when I sit down later in the morning for my ninety-minute block of creative writing time, the pipes are almost completely dry. Today, I got one sentence out, and just ground to a halt, unable to go farther.

It is funny how similar these two practices of mine are, writing and running. I have to make time to do each of them every day, and when I fall or am forced out of the habit of either for some reason, I have to work back up to get to where I was before. It’s not a huge discovery, something no one has ever thought of before, but it is interesting (and frustrating!) to see it laid out in such concrete form in my day.

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