Call me idealistic, but I believe that everyone who wants to can make that trip. I also believe that being a writer isn't necessarily about being fair or even being talented. Sometimes it's just about determination and preparation.
Here's a shocker for you..maybe you better sit down. I used to run. In fact, nineteen years ago, I was running seven miles on my speed days.
I love running. Maybe as much as writing.
I don't run anymore.
I remember talking to my doctor about my frustration a few years ago. She said to start again.
One step at a time.
And that's exactly how it is with writing and your journey to the mainland. It begins one word at a time. One paragraph at a time. One page at a time.
Runners World Magazine has this advice for new runners:
"The first 2 miles are the hardest 2 miles you will ever run. Once you have reached this level of fitness, it's relatively easy to do more. You simply have to budget the time, and be patient and disciplined in your training."
The same is true of writing your first book. The commonality here is that both of these efforts level the playing field. No matter how exalted you were in your previous life as a teacher, a brain surgeon, a real estate magnate or an artist, we all start out at the same starting line when we lace up those sneakers begin our running/writing journey. Sure some of us are blessed with long legs, or maybe the gift of storytelling, but we all must run the race.
"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible." - Doug Larson, English gold-medalist runner
"Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic." - Tim Noakes Professor, runner in more than 70 marathon and ultra-distance events
"Without patience, you will never conquer endurance."-Yiannis Kouros, holder of multiple world ultra records
"You can have anything you want. If you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be if you hold that desire with singleness of purpose." -Abraham Lincoln
Endurance is built by patience and training.
So, I've created some training plans to meet you where you are as a runner/writer. The most important thing about any training plan is to avoid setting yourself up to fail.
Evaluate what you've been doing for the last thirty days and pick an appropriate training plan that will produce success.
After you reach your consecutive day goals feel free to move to the next level or adjust the plans to your individual needs. An example would be writing six days per week or two sessions daily.
You don't have to move up a level.
Beginning Writer Training Plan
This 30 day plan is designed to get you in the habit of daily writing.
Your only goals are the beginning word count and ending word count. Weeks 2 & 3 are the same. It doesn't matter if it takes you all day to reach your daily goal or thirty minutes. One writing session or three. You must meet your daily goal.
Anytime you lapse, you must start over at day 1. So if on day 3 you get sick, then on day 4 you are back on day 1. If you are on day 29 and life gets in the way, you start over at day 1. Continue until you make it through 30 days. Use the goal numbers provided if possible. You can switch to different projects for the 30 days. But if you do not meet your daily goal you must always go back to the starting line. You may not edit. At the end of thirty consecutive days of writing you will have a minimum of 21,000 words.
1. Week 1 - Write 500 words seven days consecutively.
2. Week 2 - Write 750 words seven days consecutively.
3. Week 3 - Write 750 words seven days consecutively.
4. Week 4 -Write 1000 words seven days consecutively.
Intermediate Writer Training Plan
Pick a project. Any project. This is the project you'll stay with for six weeks. No excuses. You may not edit this project. Strive for reaching your word count goal in one session (no matter how long that session is) with breaks. Ideally, after six weeks you can maintain your goal and then add an editing session later in the day. If you do not meet your daily goal you must always go back to the starting line. Your six week goal is 42 consecutive days and a minimum of 63,000 words.
1. Week 1 - Write 1000 words seven days consecutively.
2. Week 2 - Write 1000 words seven days consecutively.
3. Week 3 - Write 1500 words seven days consecutively.
4. Week 4 -Write 1500 words seven days consecutively.
5. Week 5- Write 2000 words seven days consecutively.
6. Week 5- Write 2000 words seven days consecutively.
Advanced Writer Training Plan
Do not begin this plan unless you have successfully trained through the beginner and intermediate plans. No editing. Editing is done in another session during your writing day. Break as needed during sessions.
Adjust this plan to meet your needs and lifestyle.
DAY 1 Session-Average pacing 1000 to 2000 words
DAY 2 Session-Average pacing 1500 to 2000 words
DAY 3 Session-Average pacing 2000 words
DAY 4 Session-Speed day-Push toward doubling your regular daily output
DAY 5 Session-Slow day- goal is 1000 words.
DAY 6 Session-Average pacing 1000 to 2000 words
DAY 7- REST
Crossing your own finish line isn't about winning...it's about crossing the finish line.
It's all about one word, one paragraph, one page.
Don't ever stop!