On Writing and Running


From the book Running & Being: The Total Experience

“We live, then explain things after the fact, and imperfectly. Somehow, perhaps not the way I have said, running gives me the word, the phrase, the sentence that is just right. And there are times when I take a column on the road and it is like pulling the handle of a slot machine. Bang comes the first sentence. Bang comes down the second, and the paragraphs unfold. And then Bang, jackpot, the piece is finished, whole and true and good.

“But writing is never easy. And no matter how well done, never to one’s satisfaction. Writing, someone said, is turning blood into ink. Whatever, the idea of suffering is so natural to both writers and runners it seems to be a common bond.

“And therefore no surprise when one turns out to be both.”



Filed under Inspiration, Running, Writing/Books

9 responses to “On Writing and Running

  1. Melissa Crytzer Fry

    Oh BOY do I love this. I could not agree more. I wrote a piece about the running-writing connection when I first started my blog years ago, and linked to some articles about famous writer-runners. One of them was Joyce Carol Oates. She says she simply can’t write if she’s not running.

    I’m finally getting back into it – though have been waylaid by a cold. How about you? Is the injury healing??

  2. I wouldn’t change a syllable of this description of the symbiosis between aerobic exercise (running, “serious” cycling, swimming, etc.) and inspired writing. The endorphins released during my daily bike rides have prompted not just the right words, but somehow, more appealing overall structure of articles I’m writing or videos I’m shooting.

  3. So glad to see you here!!! This sort of makes me wish I were a runner.

  4. I envy you writer/runners 😉 I’ve never been able to get into running, but I have heard of so many writers who say they experience these bursts of energy and inspiration as they run. The problem for me, is that I’m a terrible runner, and can never get my mind clear enough to think of anything BUT how tired I am! But I do love strength training and boot camp–it’s helped me learn about what a difference consistency + hard work can make. Anytime I have doubts about anything I can do, I think of how many times I’ve thought I couldn’t do something in the gym, then worked for it and achieved it over time.

    • Oh I love this, Natalia, and I think you’re getting at something core, which is that it doesn’t matter *what* the physical pathway to these benefits are. But if you have some activity you love (and I’m sure you felt this with dance too), it’s bound to translate both character-building and endorphin benefits. And the flow. Feeling that in the physical/exercise arena definitely translates to the mental, I believe.

  5. Pingback: Courting Happiness by Savoring the Good Moments | Books+Body

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