How Running Can Help with Blogger’s Block

Yesterday, I was walking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. She’s also a writer, and we were catching up with each other’s word-based life while circling around Austin’s Lady Bird Lake on a gloriously cool spring morning. We laughed sheepishly over a common failure–for the last month, we’d both been AWOL from our blogs.

Neither of us wants for material. Both of us confessed to an abundance of thought but thorough lack of follow-through effort. It seems we’ve been prolific in mentally writing and sparse in actual output. Somewhere between brain and page, the blogs just got stuck.

Photo of old manual typewriter from 1940s.
My dad typed his dissertation on this; now it’s art at my house.

Since my post on rereading The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve generated a huge laundry list of things I’ve meant to write:

  • travel pieces on Vancouver and Seattle;
  • insights on Texas Conference for Women, #SMWiAustin, and SXSW;
  • fitness stuff, like profiling Project Austin and giving a fatigue update;
  • book reviews (rereading Helter Skelter after wondering just how much material The Girls “borrowed”);
  • writing tips–what a blog contest judge (me) looks for in a submission;
  • political stuff, including my lunch with Hillary Clinton (and 2,500 other close friends);
  • and assorted random funny pieces, like how Amazon’s Alexa is my newest, bestest workout buddy.

What’s my excuse? Instead of writing, I’ve escaped into reading; three piles of books live on my bedside table–the already read, books in process, and possible contenders. Household chores supply a ready distraction (I’d much rather sort through 90s-era yellowed,  silverfish-gnawed teaching papers than size images and craft text). New work and volunteer opportunities beckon. And then there’s the whole matter of that website improvement project I intended to finish before January’s BlogathonATX; that completion date has since shifted to sometime before jetting off to Orlando for #BlogHer17 in June.

Sigh. So much to do, so little focus. Such non-existent follow-through.

So how do I jar loose the logjam?

When I need to get something done, it never hurts to take a lesson from the sport I love.

Using Running Strategies To Overcome Blogger’s Block

Photo of pari of trail shoes next to flowers on gravel.

Just put one foot in front of the other. A 100-miler is merely a bunch of single steps, strung together and relentlessly executed. I should stop worrying about all those unwritten blogs and just get one done.

Ignore the big picture. An ultra is an overwhelming feat; who in her right mind would tackle big races of 50 and 100 miles? Gulp! Nope–successful ultra runners focus on breaking that big chunk o’ miles into smaller segments. It’s a reminder to check off small successes (hooray–I got something up today!) and trust they’ll add up to a grand total.

Photo of runner's dirty legs and feet after taking off shoes.Map a strategy. Just as a training plan outlines key items to accomplish, a “to do” list can structure tasks, give mid-goal satisfactions, and build to a successful finish. And my list will be extremely detailed–who doesn’t love to see progress made along a purposeful path?

Identify the goal. It’s extremely rare to “kind of” or accidentally complete a marathon (though, naturally, I have a pace-group-leader story about someone who did just that). To effectively and efficiently (and healthily) cross that finish line, you’ve got to set a purpose–covering 26.2 miles. To effectively harness my mind, I’ve got to recognize a writing goal. Simply blogging for blogging’s sake won’t get me where I want to go.

Walnut Creek_Windy Loop_nRespect limits. Every training program builds in rest days; they’re as necessary to running success as hard workouts. Important bodily adaptations occur in recovery so, when down days hit (be they from illness, fatigue, or life’s unexpected hurdles), my beloved coach Andreas used to push us to fully rest. His belief: “Every day back too soon is another five days off later on.” In that spirit, I’m going to quit moaning about those absent blogs and embrace that period of reduced productivity as recovery. Maybe my creative tank just needed a refill.

Help a Blogger Out!

Prioritization and encouragement would surely unjam those blogs. Please share some input…which of those articles listed above would you most like to read?

Leave your suggestion in a comment.

Thanks!

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I’m a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I’ve come to learn it. In addition to my blog “Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life” at www.leahruns100.com, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “How Running Can Help with Blogger’s Block

  1. I am going to pin up your first 2 suggestions to my inspiration board. Then maybe I will just write and not worry about the book (or in my case, a single blog post…sigh).

  2. Great post. It\’s reassuring to know I\’m not the only one who is struggling with \”blogger\’s block.\”

    Leah, I\’d love to hear some backstory on that Royal typewriter your dad used to use, looks like it might have some stories (or maybe, memories of the past). I\’d also enjoy reading a review on the Texas Conference for Women and hearing about your sojourns to Seattle and Vancouver.

    Thanks for the post! You\’re motivating me 🙂

    1. Oh, you are so sweet and kind! Thanks for the input on blog posts. And boy, that typewriter…my dad typed his geology PhD dissertation on that thing, even lugged it from place to place (it weighs a TON). Much later, when I was little, I remember listening to the sound of the \”ding\” and the slide of the carriage return when he\’d work on something at home. He was a fast typist! I typed a few stories and poems on it before I got my own portable electric typewriter for high school and college. You know, back in the day when I swore I\’d never write on one of those nasty \”word processors.\” Ha!

  3. You forgot to add eating (this is my incentive to run so maybe it could be an incentive to write).lol

  4. While I don\’t tend to like political pieces, I would be interested to read about your lunch with Hillary.

    I like the piece above and agree that taking time away from your blog is akin to running program recovery days. Creativity seldom sprouts from a weary mind. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Lorrie! You know, I would never have thought I\’d be writing anything remotely political, but yet that\’s popped up here more than I\’d have thought in the last couple of years. I\’d like to think that I\’m either poking fun (like my \”5K with the Presidential Candidates\” or \”How to Stuff a Donald Trump Piñata\”) or providing information (can\’t help it; I love an informational piece); I just hope that I don\’t get preachy. And I would love to encourage back and forth in comments. Definitely going to write about that luncheon because it was the first political fundraiser I\’d ever attended, which was interesting in and of itself.

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