Each week I attend a Bible study with other men where the only other significant unifying trait is that we are Christians navigating our way through life. Actually, it’s enough.
Three of the guys have something else in common. They are accomplished athletes who run, hike, or bike long distances for enjoyment, which would not be my idea of fun.
- One is a CPA, who ran a qualifying time in his age group for the Boston Marathon. Hopes to run it in 2021 as it was cancelled in 2020.
- Another is a self-employed handyman/painter who climbs mountains and rides bicycles for distances that would make me tired driving them in a car.
- The other is a businessman and coach who was a three-time USA Olympic-team distance runner.
The others in the group have additional wonderful and unique traits, making the meetings a highlight of my week. But if you consider only the three guys I described above, here’s what they have taught me as general principles:
- Age is just a number, not a defining trait.
- Never stop training at whatever you are doing.
- Never, ever give up.
When you get to a certain age (and I think I am way past it), the concept of “life is a journey,” which was a vague idea found in greeting cards, folk songs, and sappy movies, becomes very real. It is an incredibly accurate picture of life.
How do I draw on the journeys of my friends to encourage you today? Let’s start out with some athletic metaphors and see where this takes us.
None of the aforementioned guys started out running miles, running marathons, or climbing mountains without first training at short distances and smaller hills. Each of the guys worked their way over time to the point where they are now.
Good book writers should be able to write really good short-form materials. Many find it more difficult to write 300 good words than 3,000 that might wander here and there before getting to the finish line. Three hundred words is about one page in a book.
Each guy I mentioned above has an idea of his pace, which allows him to finish what he started. Establishing and remembering your work pace makes it far more sustainable than relying on emotion, which can be an unreliable career/work guide. This is why many years ago the best-selling authors were newspaper or magazine journalists who needed to produce regularly on a schedule. They had disciplined goals for their daily outputs.
(And, by the way, if you want sympathy for writer’s block, search online for comments about it from other writers. You will regret ever bringing it up again as an excuse for lack of output.)
Stay alert, and don’t lose focus. Books need to maintain reader interest page after page, step after step. Every paragraph must pull readers through to the next paragraph.
So, before jumping into the marathon of books, write great notes, poetry, devotions, articles, or short stories.
And don’t forget good shoes with arch support.