WFMAD Day 24 – Overcoming the pain

No earthquakes up here on the tundra today, so I’ll write yesterday’s original blog idea.

The idea came from my right knee. The right knee that started acting up at mile 13 during yesterday’s run, and forced me to stop many, many times to stretch. (Because it’s not really my knee that is the issue. My right ITB has a tendency to tighten up, which pulls the knee a bit out of alignment.)

Yesterday’s run was supposed to be my first attempt at 20 miles as I continue with my training for my first marathon this fall. I was nervous. My husband couldn’t come with me. I got started later than I wanted. But mostly I was nervous because what kind of idiot thinks they can run 20 miles? Or 26.2? That is insane.

The knee pain I was fighting seemed the best confirmation of my worst fears; that I’m not really a runner, that I’ll never be a runner, that I was born without the talent or the knees to run serious distances, that I’ve been deluding myself all year, that people are laughing about me behind my back, that I’m wasting my time, energy, and money, that I should be sensible and stick to 5Ks.

Sound familiar?

When you are pain, the whispers of doubt start to shout. It happens to everyone who is trying to express themselves creatively. The discomfort and confusion of trying to figure out a first draft leads you to doubt yourself, then get angry and criticize yourself, then come up with a bogus reason to procrastinate.

I did not quit yesterday. I slowed down, stretched a lot, walked a bit, and kept going. By mile 18, I started singing. Because I was going to make it. Not fast, not pretty, but who cares? I was running farther than I had ever run before. The sun was shining, birds singing, and I was joyous. I ran 21 miles yesterday. I did not let the fear and pain conquer me. They ran alongside me for a while, but I found the courage to wave good-bye to them and go off on my own path.

Ready… Take a minute to dream your secret dream of artistic or athletic triumph.

Set… “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Today’s prompt: Write about a moment when you or your main character had to face a fear.

Scribble… Scribble… Scribble…

5 Replies to “WFMAD Day 24 – Overcoming the pain”

  1. Every day for the past two weeks I’ve been making myself do something I’m afraid of, and today it was hiking a trail I’ve avoided because I don’t know the people who own the property. But I snuck by their place and got to a great view of the river, with the wind gusting through and ospreys swooping over.

    Each time I extend myself in that way, no matter how small a step, I feel better, and reading this did the same.

  2. How about “Breaking and Entering”?
    Over the summer my research led me to what used to be a three-story orphanage in Mobile, AL. I walked around the grounds and took pictures. There was a fantastic oak tree in the front yard, the kind couples want in their wedding pictures, the kind we Southerners want on book covers. But, it wasn’t enough for me.
    I wanted IN.
    I went up the fire escape and wiggled some of the windows, but they were all locked.
    I tried the front door, (also oak, beautiful, with a gorgeous tile threshold) . MOVING ON to the side of the building produced nothing. Sure, there were other doors providing me with limited views of the basement and a kitchen that hadn’t been used in a decade, but no loose knobs.
    When I reached the back, I hit the jackpot. The Roto-Rooter cleaning man was there. The back door stood partially open and his equipment was so loud, I convinced myself no one would hear me. I pulled my damp hair off my neck and rushed in. Everything smelled like my grandmother’s attic – Murphy’s oil soap and bacon fat. The five minutes I was there, my heart felt like popcorn kernels flying, bursting in my chest as I ran up and down staircase after staircase, clicking shots here and there. The Protestant Children’s home was built for children who parents were victims of yellow fever as I discussed in a blog post, but this building had been used for ten other things since then and held little of the original feel. It was quite disappointing, actually. I got what I came for and peeled out the gravel driveway, breathless, and proud of my gumption.

  3. Wow…no wonder you thought of a great prompt yesterday. What a great analogy. (I live with a marathoner. My husband says if you get to 21, you’ve got 26 easily. Nice job.)

    I’m facing that fear right now as I am ready to head into revision. I collected your revision tips you posted awhile ago and am headed into the unknown. Why is it scary? What if it ends up not being any good? What if it’s great? I guess it doesn’t matter. 🙂

    By the way, I’m halfway through Forge. Loving it as much as Chains. And as for your advice at SCBWI, I got a request to help develop Ted talks for kids. I politely said, “Thank you for considering me, but I’m afraid I have to say no!” Yay! It worked! Thanks, Laurie, for all you do for us.

  4. I really needed to read this post today. Thank you. For the last several days I have been in a writing funk, thinking that maybe I don’t have what it takes, maybe I just wasn’t born talented enough, maybe I should just give it up, yada, yada, yada. My WIP is only a few months old and is my first attempt at a YA novel (I have been writing picture books for years), but I have loved writing every minute of it until something snapped and doubt came along and knocked me down.
    I’ll be picking myself off the floor now.
    Thanks again.

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