How Running and Writing are similar
Musings on these solo pursuits...
Greetings from Ashoka University, India!
Lub-Dub. Lub-Dub. Lub-Dub.
The steady rhythm of my beating heart rings loud in my ears. My breath quickens. My muscles tense up. Wind streaks through my head as I jog forward.
This is a practice run. The real thing is not a week from now. 21 kilometres. That's the target. I have never done that long, but I'm confident that a cocktail of electrolytes, adrenaline and pure desperation will get me across the finish line. As I tone my muscles for the big day, I marvelled at how running is very similar to another solo pursuit of mine, writing.
When I run, I must first stretch my muscles. Failing to do so will tear them, and that's no good. This is similar to how I gear up for a session of writing; reading my favourite book, watching a video, or doing some art. This is how I stretch my mind before placing my hands on the keyboard.
Running taught me to have faith in my skills as a writer. I learned how much I can demand of myself, when I need a break, and when the break starts to get too long. I know how hard I am allowed to push myself. - Haruki Murakami
When I run, I must clear my head of all things. Assignments, hunger, college drama—they must all go. I need to be focused on making each step to move forward. While writing, I distill my disparate thoughts into coherent sentences, sieving through the fluff. Only the most relevant thoughts must pass through my mind.
Running gives me a steady rhythm, one I also get when my fingers dance along the keyboard. I move steadily, seeing where my toes and fingers take me.
Every once in a while, I like changing things up. I make a wrong turn and explore a new route. I open a new document and brain-vomit a stream of consciousness. I quicken my pace. I write on pen and paper. I slow down my breath. I meditate. Overhauling yourself just as you set into a routine may cure any block you have.
Sometimes I don my running shoes, calibrate my smartwatch and step out the door, only to find I'm not feeling it. Sometimes I open a document all geared up to write, only to find gibberish streaming out. In each case, I completely disconnect. When I'm lazy, I sit down and write. When no words come out, I run. In either case, I use my brain in a whole new way, enthusing me in ways I find hard to put into words. (Maybe I should go for a run?)
Finishing is always the hardest. You are almost there, but you feel you've already done enough. Why do more? Isn't 14 kilometres enough? Isn't 2000 words enough? I can easily make up the rest another day. I won't lie and say that I always push forward. Sometimes I stop, sometimes I continue.
I run and write as much as I can. Sometimes every day. Why not? Repeatedly doing something cements it in your psyche.
When I write better, I run better. When I run better, I write better
This Week’s Links
Can Charisma be taught?: Views on this age-old question
Is it ethical to film someone risking their life?: This is a must watch. It follows a rock climber who attempts to scale one of the riskiest rock faces without a harness…
Anti-fragility: A motto to get through the hard times in life…
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This is one of my recent portraits that I made on a trip to Munsiyari, a town in interior Uttarakhand, India. I had gone there for a couple days to explore the forests and villages of the Himalayas.
There, I met this beautiful lady who allowed me to photograph her. I find something magnificent in her wrinkled beauty…
I’ll be happy if running and I can grow old together. - Haruki Murakami.
Have a creative, energetic and inspiring week!
If you’re new, welcome to The Owlet! My name is Ishan Shanavas, and I am an Artist, Photographer, Writer and Student of the Natural World.
Here I talk about my work, along with curating the most interesting ideas on the internet. I confine them to topics like Nature, Culture, Photography, and Art but often fall prey to other genres.
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And good luck in the race