The Writer’s Novel Marathon

Literature Blogs

This fall I’ve been catching The Biggest Looser on reruns. It’s the first time I’ve watched the show. I was intrigued when a writer friend told me at our October conference that she faithfully watches the show each week and cheers the contestants on. Until that point, I never had the desire to see the show. Perhaps it was expanding my horizons into some new field. Perhaps it was caring about my friend’s health and to encourage her. I saw about half of the episodes, but enough to know the characters well enough. I got angry at the manipulations. The trainers’ yelling upset me. The personalities of the participants intrigued me.

Last night I saw (again, as a rerun on Hulu) episode 12, where the remaining 4 were sent home for 2 months on their own in the real world, and then were informed they had to run a 26 mile marathon, with no training.

Interestingly, I found that their marathon comments paralleled my book-writing, especially during my first NaNoWriMo, but also for any book I write. “I’m going to quit.” “I can’t jog any more ( but I’ll walk)” “I’ve never felt this much pain before.” (crying, almost delirious, but still jogging)

So what kept them going? What made them finish the race instead of giving up? One was determined to do the entire marathon running or jogging. He’d set his own mental goal — to finish, and how to finish — and succeeded. Two needed lots of encouragement from friends and mentors popping in at various mile points. One remained behind, with her partner throughout the show, to encourage him; for through their time on the ranch, he was the one who had constantly encouraged her; now he was the one who needed it.

There have been many times when I’ve wanted to give up on finishing a book. Either I know it’s awful, or it gets several rejections from editors and agents, or I’m distracted and not motivated in the least to write. I suppose part of the reason I tell people I’m a writer (even without book publication) is to hold myself accountable to write, to have people say to me, “So… how’s the book coming?”

I blog this now v.s. working on my NaNo novel, a book I actually like a whole lot, with characters I find very interesting. I’m spending too much time at this here “watering station.” I need to move on keep in the writing marathon.

And, thanks, my friends, for all your encouragements along the way.

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