As the resident “N” of VALCANA, I bid you welcome to this fine blog of ours. Thus far we’ve heard of the perils of graduating, the joys of podcasts, and the fantastic world of Professional Writing. Allow me to take us somewhere a little bit different.
I have a bit of a confession to make (which, if you consider the previously mentioned college major, isn’t really that much of a confession): I am a writer. A maddeningly vague phrase, to be sure. I am a writer? A writer of what? Novels? Blogs? Emails? Limericks?
In any case, I consider myself one, and to add even further to the vagueness I also consider myself a runner. Not only that, but I don’t think I could be either of these things without the other.
But listen to me going on about being vague and silly. Let me explain — no there is too much. Let me sum up:
Writing is something I’ve loved to do since I was old enough to read (whether anything I wrote back then makes sense, is of course another matter). Running, in turn, was something I’d always “done,” but it wasn’t until high school that I began to love it. Since then, I discovered just how similar these two pastimes are.
With running, you get what you put into it. If you train consistently and work hard, you’ll run farther, or faster (or both). With writing, generally speaking you have to do the same thing if you want to improve.
With running, you can do different distances, different terrains, even combine it with other forms of exercise such as swimming or biking. With writing, you can do different genres, different languages, even combine it with other forms of arts such as illustrations or link it to other articles or hashtags.
And perhaps the most interesting of all is that I can’t seem to do one without the other. I can’t get through a challenging bit of copy or make sense of a series of quotes from an interview unless I unplug for a bit and run through the neighborhoods behind my apartment. When I was more “serious” about whatever race I was training for (note: I have never in my life been serious about training for anything, but high school cross country was different, just like high school in general is different), it helped me to write about it afterward in my notebook — I could list the workout and/or mileage, I could make notes of how I felt that day (euphoric, craptastic, etc.), and I could see what kind of progress I was making to whatever goal I had at the time.
It’s also incredibly therapeutic. All of my frustrations, vexations, or worries may linger at first but they’re no match for a good hard run or a few paragraphs of blargh writing (by blargh I mean just emptying everything out of my head onto a piece of paper — it doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to get out of my head).
Most importantly, of course, I absolutely adore both. If left to my own devices (away from the five or six books that I generally have started at any given time), I will inevitably go for a run and/or sit down and write something, anything, for an hour or so.
So there you have it. I am a writer/runner. Er, runner/writer. Er…something like that.