In The Body: Writing and Running, Part Two

A few days ago I wrote a post about writing and running.  Since then I've been staying in Laguna BeachTarget D1127
and running the canyon.  Okay, I run down and walk back up, but then so does nearly everyone else.  It is a looong way back up.  Yesterday as I hit the last and steepest hill I ran into a man named George who proceeded to tell me about Kangen water, which helped make the hill climb a lot easier.  (He dropped off some of the water for me to try later, and that was pretty cool, too.)

Water and interesting men aside, I have had Thoughts as I continue this new-found activity.  Thoughts which relate to writing.

My biggest Thought concerns the difference between writing and walking. Besides speed, the main difference to me is that when I run I'm totally in my body.  I'm focusing on keeping myself going, on breathing, maybe on that pain in my ankle, on making it to the next street or up the next hill.  When I walk, my mind roams free.  I ponder writing problems, and, alarmingly often, obsess about what I'm going to do first when I return from my walk. 

Over the years of my walking career, I've often noticed the difference between passing another walker and passing a runner.  Another walker always makes eye contact and greets me (at least in Portland, where we tend to be inordinately friendly).  But the runners always run on by.  I assumed this was an inbred snottiness about runners, but now I understand.  Runners don't say hi because they are in the body, not quite so focused on the surroundings.

How does this Thought relate to writing, you ask?  Just as a runner stays in the body when running, a writer needs to stay in the body when writing.  Its just that the body might be someone else's.  The body could be the heroine of your novel or the person for whom you ghostwrite a book.  In order to truly write from another point of view you need to deeply inhabit the body of your character.  This is also true in the case of writing a personal essay or even an article.  You must be in the body–your own body–in order to access the truths you wish to share in writing.

Some people get to this state by meditating.  You might have other ways to reach it.  Whatever path you choose, just remember that being in the body, deeply inhabiting the essence of yourself or your character, is the state you need to write from.

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6 Comments on "In The Body: Writing and Running, Part Two"

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Theresa111
Guest

I really like this Part II. I'm in the body, I'm in the body.

This is terrific to see it written out this way. It just so happens that seems to be the way I write and what makes my stories or posts conversational and personal. It's a great comfort to know I'm doing something right.

I love your analogy as it gives a fine comparison to your readers. You are such a good writer!

Charlotte
Guest

Thanks, Teresa, for the compliment! I do think that most blog readers prefer conversational and personal so you are definitely doing something right.

Derek
Guest
Derek
I really like the analogy you have made in this post and suddenly realised.. Yes.. She's right (no pun intended (write). I haven't done any running for a long time as doing two weekly gym visits, I felt more inclined to walk. In the gym I always tended to become irritated by others coming over for a chat because I wanted to be totally with myself as to me it was a kind of zazen (Zen meditation) But now I'm feeling more like I want to run and quit with the gym. I think you must have inspired me. 🙂
Charlotte
Guest

Happy to be an inspiration for something beyond writing for a change. And its true, if I can run, anybody can.

Janine
Guest

Hi Charlotte! I LOVED this post! I participated in my first 5K last month and I am doing the Turkey Trot in my city tomorrow! I printed out your tips for motivation! Thank you so much! I love writing and reading as well! I am a new blogger and I have saved you as one of my favorites! I know I will come by often! Janine

Charlotte
Guest

Thanks,Janine, I’m so pleased to be an inspiration and glad to meet a new blogger.

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