About five years ago, I used to complete a ten mile run every Saturday morning. It was on one of those runs, for a variety of reasons, I ended up with double sfx. It took close to three years before I felt I could run without the idea my leg would break. But then, here came a bout of runner’s knee, and in the past eighteen months, the never ending plantar fasciitis. The PF is much better, but still plagues me some days. Despite all that, I’ve been thinking about increasing my miles again (ten percent rule!) so I can get back into my long run. I used to love it, and I miss it – especially that time alone to just think.
The whole idea of a long run is to acclimate your body to distance, and so, they are generally run slower. For instance, you should do long runs at about a minute to two minutes slower than your usual race pace. Towards the end, when I was conditioned, I ran about a ten minute mile on these runs, and they took around an hour and forty minutes to finish. That’s a lot of time to think. Just me, nature, and my brain.
When I became serious about finishing my first book, I came up with the perfect ending on one of those runs. But…there I was. Five miles out, on an out and back, and nothing to write with. (I was obviously green and still learning how to be prepared as a writer). I had no way to capture it – except to try and keep it in my head. But that’s the thing, see. When you go on a run like that, you can tell yourself all sorts of lies.
Like, “Oh! I’ll remember that! That’s such a great idea, how could I forget?”
Here’s how. Two miles later, my mind had somehow drifted off to to think about something else. When I circled back around to the book, I realized no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t remember the “great” ending. I couldn’t believe it. It had briefly floated into my consciousness only to float right back out. That’s the thing about running that long, you never know when some of those eureka moments will come zipping into your head when you least expect it. It’ll swoop in, and when it does, you better have some way of capturing it.
To this day, I remember that happening and how it felt. How frustrated I was because I’d been spinning and spinning on how to end the story. I am better prepared these days, what with my little notebooks everywhere. I have them in my pocketbook, the glove compartments of all our vehicles, scattered around upstairs and downstairs. I swore up and down, I’d never be without a way to jot an idea for a WIP down. But what if I happen to be somewhere and run out of paper? Improvise! I don’t care what it is, I will use anything, and I mean anything, as a piece of scrap paper. A napkin, the back of a receipt, a fast food bag, a menu, toilet paper, and, once, even money.
Yes, I’ve done that.
Have you? If not, what’s the strangest thing you’ve written your golden idea on?