“That’s what we writers do. We write to get to another place.”
I listen to NPR in the car. Now, most people listen to NPR to get their news… I, on the other hand, mostly listen to NPR for the smart quiz shows, pop culture commentary, and stories about this american life. (I say mostly because I do, in fact, listen to the news as well.)
Most recently I was listening to the newest episode of “Ask Me Another,” a quiz show with puzzles and word games, and their VIP (Very Important Puzzler) was Delia Ephron. The host was asking her about writing her most recent book, in which she writes about the period of her life in which her sister, Nora, died. She was asked if that was difficult to do. I loved her answer.
Delia responded that yes, it was hard, but she was so lost after her sister had died that she had to write about it. Because that’s what writers do- they write to get to another place. For her, and for many other writers, this meant moving to a place in which she could process and heal. This resonated a lot with me. I find that I am most motivated to write when I need to process something. When I need to work through an issue, an emotion, a state of mind/life, or an idea to the very end. It’s just something I do, and it’s why I feel accomplished after writing a blog post or short story or essay. I worked it out, and now I’m in a different place than I was when I began.
This is true with running as well, which is probably why this blog is tied really closely to my running. When I decided to undertake the goal of running 365 miles last year, one of the first and best ways I knew to tackle that goal would be to write about it along the way. Because that’s what writers do.
That’s also what runners do. In both a physical and metaphorical sense, runners run to get to another place. I run for many reasons, but the end goal is typically the same– I’m in a new place at the end, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There have been many days where I have battled my way out the door, but once I return 30-40 minutes later, I am a new person. Or, at least, a better version of myself.
Running and writing take me to new places, both within myself and within my world, and I think I understand why my success at both is often tied together. I get ideas for writing when I run. I run to get myself to a better place to write. I was writing a lot more when I was first learning to run, because I had more time to think, more time to breathe, more energy to get it done. I was going new places, becoming a better version of myself along the way. And the best way to process this journey? To write about it.
As I sit here in the never-ending-and-coldest-winter-ever, I am inspired to go new places. I have goals this year for both my running and my writing, and I hope to be able to work on both at the same time– and I seem to be built for doing just that.
So here’s to new journeys. To going to another place.