This was a college friend’s explanation for why she didn’t run or jog and I thought it was genius. I couldn’t agree more. I hate to run too. Don’t get me wrong–I love to bike, ski, swim, dance, any number of physical activities , but I have never understood running for pleasure.
Then recently my husband (who runs and loves it, I should add) looked at me while I was working on a draft and said, “I can’t imagine writing if I didn’t have to” and it occurred to me that his impression of writing was no different from my impression of running.
So I began to wonder: Maybe if you love something (and bear with me here) you are essentially being chased. Maybe you have to be. Maybe that’s why we stick with something that to everyone else seems like an action done only out of necessity.
Let’s face it. Writing can be exhausting. Much like running where (so I’ve heard) you build up stamina until you get to that level of fitness where you attain the infamous “second wind,” writing and submitting can leave us drained and discouraged, sure we’ll never get past that first phase of endurance to where we can run the 5K or even the marathon.
Then who or what is chasing us? Maybe our pursuant is a benevolent stalker, maybe it’s is the goal of getting published, or maybe it’s the desire to inspire our children to follow their dreams. Or maybe the chaser is something more raw, like the need to prove a nay-saying parent wrong, or that teacher in fourth grade who didn’t see the brilliance in your summer vacation essay. Maybe it’s because our great-grandmother always wanted to write and never did. Maybe it’s simply the need to prove to ourselves that we can.
Maybe it’s all of the above.
There have been so many posts recently on the need for perseverance in this pursuit that I began to wonder if we don’t all have someone or something over our shoulder, pushing us forward, keeping us looking at the road ahead and not stopping to look back, for fear of losing ground, or of not finishing the race.
So my question is: Who (or what) is chasing you?