Well, it’s finally getting warmer (which is an odd statement considering there’s snow outside my window at the moment…) but that means I’m slowly rekindling my love of running. Long distance running has, for a long time, been an important part of my writing. I gave it some thought and broke it down to three main reasons:
Solidarity with my characters.
Because—let’s face it—the vast majority of my characters are significantly more athletic than I am. If I’m going to write cool swordfight scenes, wild chases through the forests, and week-long journeys on foot, I would have to assume that these people needed to build their endurance somehow. As I’m panting and fighting my way up a hill, it’s nice to remember that there was probably a time when my characters did the same thing.
Lots of time for brainstorming.
This is exactly why I run instead of play volleyball or soccer. Running is the perfect sport for daydreamers. When I lace up the running shoes, I normally pick a plot problem I’ve been struggling with or a character who could use a stronger back story, and I carry that thought with me for the run.
Maybe it’s just the excess of oxygen to the brain, but I tend to be fairly productive during my runs. Once I started with a character so underdeveloped she was practically see-through, and an hour later a sweatier version of me felt like she really understood this woman.
This run is for…
If I have a particularly difficult workout ahead of me, I’ll pick a character and say that this run is for him or her. It sounds a little cheesy (but hey, look at the rest of my blog! Do you really think I’m bothered by a little corniness?) but I find I’m able to push myself to run longer and faster if it’s for one of the characters.
Whenever I feel tired and tempted to stop, I remember all of the mean things I put that character through, and I push through. So, I guess you could say that my characters help my running as much as my running helps my characters.