3 Most Important Things You Need to Know About Writing

How a 5K Made Me a Better Writer

by Christina Hicks, 3 minute read
Girl running

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

The first time I started the "Couch to 5K" training program, I thought I was going to die. Mentally and physically. I had "prepared" myself with the flub-squshing lycra, the neon yellow tank-top, and the most affordable "good" running shoes I could find. When the outside air temperature was just right, I took a deep breath and walked out the door. Hesitantly, I pushed play for the music on my phone and began Week 1, Day 1.  The 5-minute warm-up walk was pleasant, but after 20 seconds of "running," it started.
I know, I know, what in the world does running a 5K have to do with writing? Stay with me.

Self-doubt is your greatest enemy.

After that first 20 seconds of running, I started to doubt my abilities. I had been working a desk job for years, never went to the gym, and the only physical exercise I got was mowing the yard once a week. What in the world was I doing trying to run a 5K? 
Better health? Better sleep? Stress relief? I hadn't run in years, what was I trying to prove? I can't do this. I have no business running.
You want to write. Somewhere deep inside of you, there is a story bubbling, festering, clawing its way up your insides, trying to get out. But why? Who will care? What could your story possibly do to benefit the lives of others? 
Self-doubt works within all of us, whether it is training to run a 5K or writing our story, we all feel it. It makes us queasy to think about putting our thoughts out there for the world to "maybe" read. What if no one likes it? What if they do? What will people say?
We can tackle self-doubt head-on, be prepared for it to be there, and power through. Acknowledging the fact that it will happen, lets you adequately prepare to deal with it, and move on.

It is going to take a considerable amount of work.

If you haven't tried it, the C25K program is an 8-week training course that slowly builds you up to running a 5K. Most of us cannot get out of bed one morning, decide we are going to run 3.10686 miles, and do it. I'm sure there are some people out there with that ability, but most of us just can't.
Writing is the same way. It takes work to become a good writer. Even more to become a great one. Like the weekly training program, you can train yourself to write better. 
Set aside specific increments of time to work on your writing. Just like training to run takes time and effort, so does working on your writing skills. Make an effort.
Set a goal and a purpose for that time.  If you have a specific topic in mind for that time, you will better focus your efforts on the task at hand. If this means spending an entire session planning what you will practice writing in the future, it will be worth it.
Read. Read for inspiration, read to learn, read to be a better writer.

Know your end-goal.

Running a 5K is specific, defined, and measurable. 
With your writing, be specific. What is your end-goal? Pulitzer? Guest blogger? Publish a book? These are all great goals and when you know what you are striving for, you can better set yourself up for success. 

Now put on your writing shoes and get to training!

That 5K race seemed daunting when I reluctantly signed up for it, just like committing to becoming a better writer turns the stomach a bit. Ignoring self-doubt, practice and training, and knowing and setting goals for writing are the key factors in becoming a more skilled author. 
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About the Author

Christina Hicks is an Author Coach with Monocle Press

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