An award list to dance to & how running helps my writing

Thank you, thank you American Library Association committee members!!!!

I am very proud that TWISTED made both the 2008 Best Books for Young Adults and the 2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers lists!!!!

This feels awesome. Excuse me while I take a moment to bask.

Ahhh. So, so sweet.

OK, back to work. I have spent the day rewriting Chapter 19, because the same thing happened to that chapter as happened to 17 on Sunday. But it’s all good.

nudged me about answering a question she posted to my Facebook a while back. She wrote: Do you think that running/excersize helps your creativity/creative process?

(Truth in blogging disclosure: I just finished a carb-heavy lunch and am staring at my clothes that are laid out for this afternoon’s long run. It promises to be a chilly one.)

Does my running help my writing? Yes. Absolutely. No doubt. Ja. Si. Absolutement.

If I ever write a book about writing (do you think I should do that, BTW??), it will contain long passages about how moving your body fires up your imagination. For now, here are my top five reasons why my running helps my writing:

1. Running makes me happy, thus, it is a very good reward and incentive to do my work.

2. When I write, I am a) sitting still and b) dangerously close to my kitchen. If I didn’t exercise regularly (and trust me, there have been times in my life when I didn’t) I eat more than my body needs. This slows down my brain and expands my rear end.

3. Running is a meditative exercise – it helps me process my stress in a healthy way.

4. My travel schedule is often grueling. Running (and weight lifting, which I don’t talk about much, but I do, too) keeps me physically stronger and better able to fight off the germs that try to attack unsuspecting travelers.

5. Running has helped me develop mental discipline, which allows me to stay immersed in my stories longer. I have several writing/running mantras that I repeat in my head when I am tempted to stop writing or hit the Stop button on the treadmill.

6. Yes, this is a bonus reason. The human body was designed to move. If we want our minds and spirits to produce their best, we have to help our bodies be the best they can be, too. It’s all connected.

(Thank you for the nudge, )

Now, I have three more pages and a long stretch of road ahead of me.

29 Replies to “An award list to dance to & how running helps my writing”

  1. Congratulations! That’s so great about Twisted. It’s a fantastic book and deserves every honor it gets.

    Also, thanks for the writing/running post. I’ve wondered about the connection between writing and exercise for a while. You’ve made me want to go out and run, which is something I haven’t done in a number of years!

  2. Applause on the book accolades!

    I know you are a busy girl but could you just answer one running question for those of us who are over 40 and want to start running? How did you begin? Did you simply throw on your sneakers one day and start running? I don’t think I could run to end of my driveway to safe my life.

  3. Step one – get a physical from a doctor.

    Step two – go to a store that specializes in running. (I love Fleet Feet in Dewitt, NY. They are a national franchise.) Don’t go to the sports store at the mall where 15-year-olds will sell you sneakers. Talk to the staff at the running store and tell them what you want to do.

    Step three – I strongly recommend this book: Running until You are 100 by Jeff Galloway. It helped me a lot.

    When you start, give yourself permission to run (slowly!) for a minute, or maybe two, and then walk. Run, walk. Run walk. It is better to underdo than to overdo. The last thing you want is to injure yourself.

    In real-world running (people like you and me, as opposed to the elite athletes) slow and steady wins the race.

    Good luck!!!!!!! Let me know how it goes!!!!!!

  4. One more thing. There is nothing wrong with being challenged by a run to the end of the driveway. All that matters is that you get out and have some fun.

    DO NOT compare yourself to other runners or measure yourself by the accomplishments of others!!

    OK, one more, last thing. BH and I have really found that using an online training log (like the one at Runner’s World) is a wonderful way to keep track of our progress. Whenever I feel blue or discouraged, I look back to what I was capable of 18 months ago. It is lovely.

  5. Yay! Thanks for answering my question! I’ve always suspected there was a connection–I feel more creative in the spring/summer.
    If I didnt just come in from my two and a half hour walk, I would go out again–you make running sound fun! I’ve always wondered if I should try to run farther, OR try to run my same distance faster..any recomendations? I mean, I just excersize for fun, I dont have much of a goal (which I should prob make!)
    A book on writing would be great. Something on the lines of “Bird by Bird”…only YOUR writing, I would read it!

  6. One last reply (I promise). I can see that you are very passionate about running. I have been told once you are bitten by the running bug there is nothing like it. I know the exact location of Fleet Feet in Dewitt. I drive by it all the time but have always felt too intimidated to stop in. I have visions of a loud alarm going off as I enter the store with a voice booming “NON RUNNER TRESSPASSING ON THE PREMISES”! Of course this would be followed by bouts of laughter form the all the sales associates. But your encouraging words have given me the strength to give it a try or at least a look-see. Thank you so much for responding.

  7. Ooooh, I’m glad you posted this because I had a related question I’ve been wanting to ask.

    Do you think one of your characters will decide to be a runner? One of your earlier posts made me think about Chris Crutcher’s swimmers and made me wonder if you have a runner that is looking for space on the pages.

    It fits in with your metaphors, not that anything in writing ever lines up that easily. But, it made me wonder what a book by you with a theme of running would be about.

  8. It’s so great that Twisted made both BBYA and QP. It’s a fine book and can sit proudly on the shelf next to Speak.

    I don’t run, but I get a lot of ideas when I go for a long walk.

  9. The folks in the Dewitt store are SOOOO nice and very encouraging to runners and about-to-be-runners (that would be you) alike.

    No laughing, just cheering!

  10. You and Chuck Dickens. I really have to get the two of you together at a conference sometime soon. Over a pint, perhaps?

  11. Re: Whoops

    No worries. What you were really doing was giving the author yet another opportunity to shamelessly promote her book. Which she appreciate, so thanks!

  12. A two-and-a-half hour walk? That’s wonderful!

    I think you should do what feels healthy and fun. If you are going to experiment with running, start out slower than you think you should for a couple of months. There is nothing worse than to get all excited about running, then go out too fast and get hurt and have to ice a knee, ankle, or hip for weeks.

    Yes, that is experience talking.

    And thanks for the writing book support. I must ponder this some more.

  13. walking or running

    I think you and I should run to the pub and buy Dave a pint. Then he can walk us back to the hotel. BH

  14. Orson Scott Card says he writes a lot better when he’s been exercising. It’s a totally unscientific claim, but he says he’s tried exercising and then not exercising and then exercising, etc., and the quality of his writing is much better when he exercises. (This is from his book on writing, which i dont own anymore, so, sorry, no proper reference to verbatim quotes or page #s.)

    + congratulations!

  15. Congratulations on Twisted; that is wonderful!!! I am on the waiting list to take it out of the library…
    🙂 Sarah

  16. You seem to really have gotten into a pattern, how long did it take you to get into the flow of running consistently and keeping up with your writing at the same time?

    I started running in 8th grade when I joined the football team (really running, long distance not just a few strides and then stopping). I really got into it and enjoyed running personally; I think it’s fun. But then I stopped doing it routinely and I have not been able to get back into it since.

    Is there any advice you can give to those who have trouble just getting up and getting started? It doesn’t seem like it should be hard, but when I think about it it’s the hardest part about exercising. Starting it and staying with it.

  17. I have been running on and off (mostly off) for 20 years.

    I got very serious in June 2006. That month, my oldest kid went to China for 10 weeks and I was freaking out about it. BH and I decided that we would go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week as a tool to better cope with her being so far away.

    At the end of 10 weeks, she came home safely and we were in better shape. I started by running for two minutes, then walking for two minutes, and saw quick and pleasant improvements.

    I’ve been fairly regular about gym time and running ever since, with the exception of last year’s book tour and the blizzard (though I did snowshoe.) I think giving myself that initia 10-week time frame was important. If 10 weeks of regular running and working out made me miserable, then I would have stopped when Stef came home. But after 10 weeks, I was hooked.

    If you start today, you could reevaluate on April Fool’s.

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