How to Fail at Being a Writer

fail_at_being_a_writerWould you like to know how to fail at being a writer? Follow these steps exactly and failure may be yours!

First, begin with doubt. Doubt your talent, your brain, your skills, your spelling. Doubt the quality of your ideas and the worth of your stories. Doubt that you even like writing. Doubt your sincerity, doubt your ability.

Once you have a thick, sticky baseline of doubt spread wide over your mind, you are ready to begin failing at being a writer.

Next, sit at your computer and check your social media sites. Click through to Jezebel and Daily Beast. Sign an online petition about health care access for sick kids. Feel a little outrage. Think, I should write about this.

Open your preferred writing software. Sigh deeply. Go refill your coffee cup. Return to your desk. Recheck all your social media sites for new posts and interactions.

Open a file of old writing. Even through you have edited this piece at least ten times, edit it again. Tell yourself editing is writing. Sigh deeply.

Check your social media sites for new posts and interactions. Spend a minimum of thirty minutes reading celebrity gossip. Shudder with self-disgust.

Go pet the dog. Take a walk around the block to clear your mind. Notice how it's almost noon already and panic that you are wasting your chance to get writing done. Doubt that you even like writing. Doubt your sincerity, doubt your ability.

Sit in front of the computer. Decide to blog instead of working on your novel. Scan through your post ideas and reject all those you deem frivolous, likely not to appeal to a wide audience, too personal, too impersonal, too overdone, too hard to match with a catchy title. Draft a list of the top ten websites where authors can post pictures of their cats. Sigh deeply. Go refill your coffee cup.

Sit in front of the computer. Tell yourself, butt in chair. Read inspirational quotes about how writing is really all hard work. Nod in agreement. Recheck all your social media sites for new posts and interactions.

Jump when the phone rings. Realize you were so absorbed in that online article about trends in book cover designs from the seventies that you missed your daughter's pick-up time. Run out of the house, late, no real work accomplished.

Congratulations! If you made it this far, you have succeeded at failing to be a writer.

However, take this warning, this failure is not permanent. Tomorrow you wake up again. You must not give into temptation or inspiration to open that file with your novel. Failure requires commitment. You can not become complacent. Stay vigilant. Once again, you'll wake up tomorrow with every chance of success.


My Daughter's First Glimpse of Mortality: The Death of Ichi, Ni, San and Toto

My daughter was four-years-old when I wrote this essay. As I had very little experience with death in my own life, guiding her through her first glimpse of mortality proved challenging for me. I wasn't ready. Parenting proves to lean towards "making it up as I go" side of things.

mortalityDaughter wins four fish on the day we celebrate hanami on the banks of the Shukugawa. She names them Ichi, Ni, San and Toto. They do not last long.

Ichi dies at night, just after Daughter goes to bed. I consider flushing him right then, but decide I better wait until morning so that Daughter is not startled to hear of his demise and disposal after the fact. I scoop him out of the bowl and leave him to float all night in the little pink teacup on top of the TV. Daughter wakes up late. The babysitter is already standing at our door and I have just a couple minutes before I need to rush out to work. I give Daughter the bad news and show her the fish.

She cries.

“Why did my fish die? I don’t want it to die forever!”

Real tears. My heart races as panic sets in.

“Well, we need to decide what to do. We can bury it in the park, or we can flush it so… it can go out to the ocean... to fishie heaven.”

More and more tears. Third degree breakdown. I glance again at the clock in the wall. Obviously, the funeral is not going to go smoothly in the final minute I have left before I need to leave. I wrap the teacup in plastic and place it in the refrigerator, between the daikon radish and mini-yogurt drinks.

“Sweetheart,” my voice low and calm, “when you are at school, think about how you want to say good-bye. We’ll take care of Ichi when I get home.”

After teaching my last class of the day, I skip out on my usual hour of loitering in the teacher’s lounge trying to catch a moment in the same room as crush and head straight to pick up Daughter. I wait anxiously in the entryway to see her, wondering if she’ll be tear-stained and red-faced. She looks fine.

We are standing around with all the other moms helping their kids put on shoes and sweaters when Daughter shouts, “My fish died! We’re going to flush it down the toilet!” She bounces up and down in her stocking feet.

Uh, yes, that’s right. We’ll be going now. Have a nice evening everyone.

On the walk home, Daughter starts moaning again. She is obviously sad, but also experimenting with grief. Her voice goes up and down in concentrated scales. She cries for a second, then stops mid-sigh when a thought occurs to her.

“Where does the fish go when we flush it down the toilet?” Her voice is crystal and lilting.

“I think it goes out to the ocean. To fishie heaven. She’ll be so happy there. It will be beautiful, just like in the Nemo movie.”

I want to smack myself. Did I really just compare the afterlife with a Disney movie? And I don’t even think there is a fish heaven. I promise myself not to lie to my daughter about death again. I say it twice in my head. Don’t lie about death. Don’t lie about death. Daughter resumes her dramatic murmurings.

We get home, take the fish out of the fridge and stand in front of the toilet.

“Good-bye Ichi,” I say. “You were a good fish.”

Daughter really starts to cry now, fifth degree, and I’m a little surprised by how deeply upset she seems.

She moans, “Don’t die forever!

I drop the fish into the toilet bowl and gently ask, “Do you want to be the one to flush it?”

Daughter’s crying stops in a heart beat.

She springs forward like a leopard. “Yeah!”

Whooosh, around and down Ichi goes. Daughter enthralled, hangs over the toilet with her mouth open and her eyes wide.

“He’s all gone now,” she says to me, then skips away top play with her toys.

The other fish last a few more weeks. The one black one, Toto, dies next. His funeral is a much quicker affair. Then a few days later, Ni goes bottoms up. Daughter scoops him out herself and does the flushing honors. This morning, our last survivor, San, finally gives up the good fight.

Daughter wants to get a turtle next.

Oh little turtle that we bring home, I apologize in advance.

Author note: We never did get a turtle, but we have been through a variety of small, completely un-lovable mammals. She has a cat now. We love the cat. It survived.


Proper Introductions: The Evolution of a Wallflower

proper_introductionsMy twelve-year old daughter and I stood at the edge of the wedding pre-party. The crowd of barely knowns and complete unknowns jumped and seethed with motion and noise. Happy. Dancing. Talking. My daughter's eyes grew wide watching the crowd. She pulled herself straight and leaned back away from the room as though reeling from a sour scent.

"Mom, can I go run outside?"

"Uh huh," I said.

One blink of the eye and she vanished, racing around the giant estate my husband's family had rented for his sister's wedding.

Damn, I thought, there goes my plus one.

Today, my husbands beautiful sister marries. This marriage brings together a Persian family and Indian family. Both the bride and groom are of the first generation born in America. Both are doctors. The celebrations started months ago, on the east coast, where the Indian contingent threw a lavish party complete with bright costumes and choreographed dance routines.

Last night we experienced the rehearsal dinner, hosted by the Persian side. Today begins with a Catholic ceremony at a church, followed by a Persian ceremony at a waterside resort, followed by an after-party that from all rumors will likely surpass that of the grammys.

Epic. Excellent. Extraordinary. But back to my problem. Me, bewildered, at the edge of crowd of barely-knowns.

Through the glass on the expansive front doors, I could see my daughter scaling the neighbor's fence to drop down and disappear into a field thick with scotch broom. Lucky kid.

While my husband and I have been together over six years, it was just recently that we decided to tie the matrimonial knot. Even more recently came his family's acceptance of my place in his life. Ours is a second marriage. Divorce does not play well with families from the old country. The beginning of our relationship a nano second after his first marriage ended did not start us off on a good foot with his parents. Rule breakers may be fed to the exclusion dogs.

Standing there, watching grandmas and aunts and uncles merge and separate and mingle and mix, I took deep breaths.

These are good people, I told myself. Give them the chance they never gave you. My husband locked eyes with me, sending me a helpless, sympathetic smile from his position at the sound board where he had been roped on arrival into playing DJ. Whatever happened, I was going to have to face it alone.

And then it began, the first pulling on my hand.

"Oh hello! You must be Ali's wife. I am his mother's best friend from Texas. I heard so much about you."

Another gentle pull, "Oo la la, look at Ali's wife. So beautiful! Would you like wine, my dear?"

Directed by a bevy of manicured hands, I made my rounds and introductions. Relatives flown in from California, from Texas, from Iran, from New York, from India. I dined on a plate loaded half with ghormeh sabzi and half with curry. I danced with the ladies in pastel suits, flicking wrists and twisting hips. I even sat for a few minutes with my husband's father, on the balcony, trying not to push too hard in a friendly argument that raced from immigration, to Iran, to privilege, to gay rights, to my husband's exercise habits.

By the end of the night, even my wild daughter had worked herself into the crowd. Her party clothes hung damp from her dashes through the landscaping sprinklers. Small sticks and organic bits and pieces stuck her hair. She laughed with the ladies, eating the endless stream of treats pushed into her hands. She enchanted two younger girls who followed her around as though her adoring minions. Only after exhaustion caught up with her did she pull out her book and settle into a forgotten nook.

By the time pans of pie and baklava replaced the platters of meat and rice, and the music evolved from bouncy, upbeat Persian pop to even bouncier, louder, more upbeat Persian pop, I could mangle at least eight new names with ease and work my shoulders on the dance floor as though I'd been doing it since I was knee-high. Best yet, I learned I could confidently interject myself into any family cluster with the utterance of the one phrase sure to win me favor.

"Hello. I'm Ali's wife."

I figure it will only be a matter of time before I may simply introduce myself as Kelsye.

Eleven Secrets to Building a Better Writing Group

11_secrets_better_writing_groupWhat do Chuck Palahniuk, Ursula Le Guin and Louisa May Alcott have in common? They all belong (or belonged) to writing groups.

Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but the solidarity of writing in the company of other writers may drive and focus your effort. A reliable, anticipatory audience makes for a great motivator. It may be that the only people who read your recent words are the five with which you meet weekly, but those eyes may be all the reward you need.

Once you’ve refined your craft and gotten that book deal or independently published, these will be the same people who make sure your first book signing isn’t a ghost town. These are the folks that can tell you that selling 500 books really is quite an accomplishment. They’ll be the ones to tell you how you really sounded when you start your NPR interviews. At the very least, they will write beside you and walk with you on your author journey.

A great many writing groups exist. I guarantee writers regularly meet somewhere close to you. Check, look at the flyers in your local libraries and writerly cafes. If you can’t find one that’s right for you, start one yourself! That’s what I did with my group, the Seattle Daylight Writers. Five years later, we’re still going strong!

Here are my eleven secrets to building a better writing group.

1.)  Pick a day, time and frequency that works for you.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is actually very easy to acquiesce to scheduling times that don’t really work with your schedule in order to please the vocal folks that aim for their own convenience. You are the leader and organizer. If the time is difficult for you, you may be able to make it at first, then will struggle, then will skip. Without a consistent leader, the group will falter, weaken and disband. This time won’t work for some people. That’s okay. They can start another group at a time that works for them.

2.)  Be consistent.

Once you find a time to meet that works for you, stick to it. The more regular and reliable you are, the more likely your group will go the distance. There will always be weeks some writers will miss. Or there will be the first timer and will take a couple months of canceling before getting the courage to make their first appearance. If you are always there, Fridays at eleven at Caffe Vita on Pike, writers will find their way to you, or back to you, eventually.

3.)  Respect every writer.

All writers are equal. Every moment of a writer’s journey is valid and worthy, from those just starting and struggling with basic clarity, to those churning out best-selling literary prose on a daily basis. We were all beginners once.

4.)  Decide what you really want out of your group.

Not every writing group is the same. My group gathers to communally ignore each other for 45-minutes of feverous writing. If so moved, we follow this writing period by reading out loud what we just wrote. Perhaps you’re looking for deep critique and your group will share pages beforehand and exchange comments when you meet. Still other groups meet to share prompts, exercises and writing games. Make it whatever you want. There will be other writers seeking the same thing.

5.)  Create an online page.

Your group’s webpage will allow you to schedule sessions, provide information and manage and attract members. I love using for my writing group. I never advertised. I simply put it up on Meetup and the writers found me. You could also use a Facebook page, a Google+ group, or a custom site.

6.)  Personally welcome every person that comes.

With as little as a nod and a “hello”, you can make each writer feel welcomed and at ease in your group. It’s amazing how many people feel great trepidation and insecurity to say they are a “Writer” or to do anything that may bring their writing to light or fear of being rejected by “real” writers. A simple, “Hello. I’m glad you came,” can go a long way to transforming a nervous newbie to an impassioned participant.

7.)  Location. Location. Location.

Setting has a tremendous impact on the tone of your writing group. Busy, loud coffee shops may be excellent for inspired writing sessions, but terrible for structured conversations. Quiet libraries work well for editing sessions and one-on-one critiques. Private homes are great for groups of people that already know each other, but uncomfortable for strangers.

8.)  Consider parking and transportation ease.

Things like free parking and bus accessibility can be the deciding factor people for many people if they want to make the trek out to writing group today or not. Groups meeting in urban areas may want to share the best parking strategies, or post which bus routes run close by.

9.) Enlist as many co-organizers as possible.

Your instincts may tell you to protect your precious group by keeping control close and limited to your own whims. However, this is the quickest way to kill a group. Imagine that your writing group will last years and years. One day, eventually, you will go on vacation, or suffer an illness, or perhaps even fall out of your writing groove for a bit. With co-organizers, you don't need to worry about the group dying off during your absence. Plus, the more ownership members have, the better the quality of the group.

I should note here that for my own group I retain sole control over finances and the ability to charge dues. I have not passed that on to any one else. However, I have many co-organizers that host more events. Our group meets three times a week, but I only can make it to one.

10.) Set the tone, diffuse, feel free to boot.

You have the power to set the tone of your group. Whether you would like a group heavy on criticism or instead focused on positive encouragement, your words and actions provide the model for other members. Feel free to speak to any writer who damages the experiences of others. (Preferably in private.) It's very rare, but I have even banished a few people from our group. I welcome all kind of crazy, warmly. Our group is the people's group and open to all, regardless of writing ability, psychosis or quirks. The only time I booted people has been when their crazy interferes with other member's ability to have a positive experience.

11.) Show up.

Remember what I said about consistency? I mean it. You are the heart beat of the group you start. If you skip too many times, it will die.

I love all the people that come to my writing group, whether I know them or not. The camaraderie can't be beat. You're all invited to try out my group if you're in Seattle. If you are in another city, perhaps leave a comment letting us know if you are looking for a group, or if you have one to recommend.


Bookshelf Porn: Three Books That Ruined My Ability to Hold A "Real" Job

bookshelf_pornYou may read thousands of books in your lifetime, but there will always be those few special ones that impact your mortal trajectory in major ways. Books inspire us, show us glimpses of the kind of lives we want to live, of the kind of people we want to be. For those of us who discover the nature of our souls vary greatly from the people that surround us in real life, books can show us understanding, give us a familiar home.

Three books in particular influenced my awareness of myself as an artist and thinker in the world. Without these books, I may possibly have believed the story I was told as a child. The story about how a life of purpose means a life of work at a desk, preferably on computers, 8-5, government-based all the better.

photo 1Enter Frederick by Leo Lionni. The particular copy you see in the picture hiding behind my Royal I picked up in Japan. However, I first read this book when I was very young.

This slim children's book tells the story of a little mouse with an artistic soul. While the other mice labor for winter stores, they deride Frederick for sitting and daydreaming. Frederick does not budge. He states his purpose, he is collecting colors, sensations. When winter comes, he freely eats of the food the other mice collected. What a lout!

But then the food runs out, and winter's coldest nights fall over the mice. Now Frederick's work may be appreciated. He tells the suffering mice stories of summer, of plenty, of warmth and sunshine. The little mice feel comforted. They gain peace, joy even, and the strength and perseverance to survive to springtime.

Collecting food is valuable work. Building computer programs is valuable work, so is teaching and business and labor. So also is art, and writing. The way that I work may look very different from the way much of the modern world works, but it is still work.

You know, I did find a life of purpose at a desk, on a computer. My mom was right about that.

photo 3Next is Irving Stone's imagined biography of Vincent Van Gogh, Lust for Life. Van Gogh was one of my early obsessions. The Starry Night, Irises, Cafe  Terrace at Night, The Yellow House... I can go on and on. I studied these paintings for hours, captivated by the color, by the audacity of the thick strokes of paint.

Many people have told me this biography is far from fact, and there are better ones about Van Gogh out there, but this is the one that I read when I was thirteen. This book revealed to me that an artist I considered a master actually toiled his entire life to build his craft. It wasn't as if he picked up a brush and BAMN a masterpiece happened.

Van Gogh lived unapologetically off the support for his brother, doing the work that made him happy. Ultimately, his work impacted millions of people, but he never knew that. He just knew that painting called to him, so paint he did. Van Gogh was poor. He received almost no external validation. My own art is certainly no better than Van Gogh's, so how may I be discouraged if money and recognition do not come easy to me?

photo 2And finally I offer you Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Despite the great teachings of the books above, I often find myself caught in corporate clutches, or confused about the importance of things like money and titles. When I find myself stressed to the point of nightly glasses of wine, or when the greatest anxiety I have in my day revolves around A-Thing-That-I-Want-Really-Bad-But-Can't-Actually-Afford, it's time to reread Siddhartha.

I discovered Siddhartha in my twenties, when I was living in Japan. The sweeping view of a life spent began in anxious unease, but ended in sublime peace pours a calm into my spirit that lasts for weeks. Of course, it also entirely kills my productivity for a few weeks, so I must be careful of when I choose to read it. I'm the girl who gets things done. A little anxiety helps me along.

These books have properly ruined my ability to hold a "regular" job or find satisfaction in a daily grind. For that, I am eternally grateful.


Book Launch Checklist

book_launch_checklistAuthors and publishers must keep track of a great many details when launching a new book. Here is a checklist to help guide you through the process, from the book inception all the way through the first month of publication.

TIP: This checklist goes along with my recorded webinar: How to plan a book launch

TIP: You can download a printable, pdf version of this checklist here.


Book launch checklist

From the moment you first have your book idea, start the first section of tasks.

Build your author platform

  • Create an author website
  • Start a blog
  • Build your social media
  • Start an opt-in email list

Build connections

  • Join writing groups
  • Attend writing conferences
  • Join professional organizations


  • Competitive research in genre
  • Look for agents, editors
  • Identify contests / awards
  • Notice what other authors are doing.


Four months before launch:

  • Create a marketing plan. Include:
  • Target market
  • Media channels
  • Platform building
  • Special offers / promos
  • Events
  • Metrics and goals

Three months before launch:

  • Invite beta readers
  • Order a Kirkus review
  • Become active on Goodreads
  • Plan party / launch event
  • Blogger outreach
  • Submit to contests
  • Set up book signings
  • Set up blog tour
  • Set up a Google alert for your name and your book title

Two months before launch:

  • Cover design input
  • Ask for influencer endorsements
  • Brainstorm media possibilities
  • Polish BCC (back cover copy) and book pitch
  • Post a teaser on your website
  • Make sure you website has up to date info

One month before launch:

  • Write press release
  • Reach out to media contacts
  • Join Google+ groups
  • Join Facebook groups
  • Announcements
  • Post a teaser on Wattpad
  • Double post blogs on Goodreads
  • Guest post on other blogs
  • Create a media kit

One Week before launch:

  • Send reminder to Beta Readers
  • Social Karma – Comment and share
  • Upload media kit
  • Create draft of announcement email
  • Post beta reader reviews to website
  • Create Amazon Associate account

Day of launch (I recommend Tuesday):

  • Holy posting, Batman!
  • Update Website
  • Post on all social accounts
  • Post in all groups
  • Post on Pinterest
  • Post on K Boards
  • Message Beta Readers
  • Message friends and family with pre-written posts
  • Send announcement email to list
  • Update Author Central
  • Update Goodreads
  • Update Shelfari
  • Week of launch:
  • Book launch event
  • Reminder to Beta
  • Social postings

Month of launch

  • Post a steady flow of content and promos (3 to 1)
  • Blog tour
  • Interviews
  • Guest posts on blogs
  • Send a reminder email with event and launch info
  • ASK friends and family for reviews
  • Promos
  • Goodreads Giveaway
  • Bookbub
  • Free KDP days
  • Rafflecopter / Instafreebie

And keep on going!


  1. This checklist goes along with my recorded webinar: How to plan a book launch
  2. You can download a printable, pdf version of this checklist here.

How to Self Publish Your First BookReady to self-publish your first book? I'm leading a course called How to Self-Publish You First Book on Gutsy Creatives. Click here to register.

Best of luck on your publishing journey!

VIDEO: How to Plan a Book Launch

RECORDED WEBINAR: How to plan a book launch

Do you have a new book coming out? Congratulations! Now is the time to start planning your book launch.

In this recorded, one-hour webinar, I discuss key components of a successful book launch including; prepping your author platform, branding, social media, live events, free and paid advertising, beta readers and lining up reviews.

After completing this webinar, you'll be able to create your own well-documented plan of action for using PR, social media and other marketing techniques to support your book launch.

TIP: Don't forget to download the book launch countdown checklist.

VIDEO: 10 Things to Do before You Publish

Recorded Webinar: 10 Things to Do Before You Publish

Want to know what you can do before publishing to improve your chances of success?

This one-hour recorded workshop teaches you ten things you can do before you send your book to an agent, or before you self-publish your book.

It doesn't matter if you plan to publish independently or through a traditional publisher. To give your books the best chance for success, take the time to get your author platform in order, your community hopping and your identity as an author established.

Publishers and agents alike take a good look at an author's online presence, social media and website, network and community when deciding to take a chance on a new author. Luckily, with all the free tools and resources out there, it isn't hard to build a respectable author platform with minimal investment of money and time.

In this workshop, I walk your through ten things you must do before you publish your book to increase your odds of attracting an agent or reaching a big audience.

Starting from scratch? No problem! Let me illuminate a publishing path.

Already have an author platform established? You're ahead of the game! Come to pick up some new tips on how to optimize your online presence and get the most out of your real-life community.

BONUS: I also share insights on how I was able to raise $9,800 on Kickstarter to fund my non-fiction book project and attract an agent at the same time.

how to get revenge on your father

How to Get Revenge on Your Father

Live story telling: Revenge

You might think your dad was embarrassing growing up. No. Your dad likely ranked mildly annoying on my personal scale of  PIH (Parental Induced Humiliation). My dad, however, claims the title King of Adolescent Mortification. But don't feel sorry for me. I got my revenge. Watch the video above to hear me tell the story live at an event in Seattle.


The Alchemy of Running

runningI blame my stepfather for my running habit. He got me started early, perfectly timed to a life stage change so I forever associate running with growth and transition.

In fifth grade, every other day, we would run 2.54 miles together. The loop ended with a killer hill whose every incline I can still recall stride by stride. We didn't talk, just huffed along. He'd run whatever pace I set, but strictly forbade walking. When judged ready, he entered me in a 5 mile fun run. Though twice the distance my young legs had ever carried me, I never walked on that course. I bounced along at a slow pace, my stepdad keeping silent step next to me.

I finished the race, rapture overcoming exhaustion as I passed under the finish line arch. The race organizers told me that at 11-years-old, I was the youngest person to finish. On the walk backed to the car, I puked in the bushes by the bank. I felt like a champion.

Running taught me: Your mind lies to you. You have strength you don't even know about.

Those first runs propelled me through the transition from child to sentient adolescent. I have will. I exert my will in the world. I get myself from A to B.

My running habit comes back to be strong in times of transition. When I was assaulted just a few weeks after my 21st birthday, my emotional recovery came in the form 13 mile runs I took every other day down a straight, endless road in the middle of Missouri farmland, the cows cooing encouragement.

IMG_5929Every heartache or breakup may be connected to an intense period of running. Every move finds me learning my new surroundings on pounding feet. When I start a company, I run more for clarity. When I end a company, I run more for clarity. You'll survive this. You have strength you don't even know about. Recently divorced? Get running. Run until you're so tired your brain can only focus on breathing, on stable contact with the ground. Recently married? Celebrate by running, transforming soft into firm and worn into new.

I have lost running many times. I stopped running my freshman year in high school, when my fast legs propelled me to state championships in the mile. My coach took this as a sign that it was his mission to work me as his prize. Expectations and requirements I never agreed to squeezed all the peace and joy out of my runs. The only control I could exercise was to quit, so I did. I have will. I exert my will in the world.

Later in life, happily running again, the doctors that be decided surgery was the best way to rid my body of wayward tissues. I learned the hard way that surgery begets surgery begets surgery. What started as a minor procedure to remove a tiny ball of benign cells built into true crisis, culminating in the removal of my abdominal muscles on my right side. That took me out of the running game for awhile.

Winter can throw me off, so can plantar fasciitis or moody depressions. It's too cold. I have no energy. I'm too fat. My shoes are ugly. I'm ugly.

The blow to the ego when I lose one of my defining traits presents a formidable challenge to overcome. Beginning again is always difficult. I start those first few runs sneering at my pace, the distance I can manage. Champion? More like chump. It's not as though once I go on that first run, the drought is broken and it becomes easy again. No, I must drag myself bodily out on each and every run.

IMG_5861I do things to trick myself into running, like getting on my running clothes but telling myself it's only because they're comfortable and I'm working from home today. I lace up my running shoes and go outside, but only to walk to the coffee shop. Oh, we made it to the sidewalk in all our running gear. Hey, how about trying out a couple strides. Oh look, running is happening!

Experience has taught me that if I can force myself through those first two weeks of acclimation runs, momentum takes over. The inverse effect occurs where if I don't run, I start to get antsy and cranky. I'm a runner again.

I'm a runner right now. Something will come along eventually to knock me out of it, I'm certain. That's okay. I'll start all over again, building those first steps into first miles. 14-minute-per-mile slogs will whittle down to 7-minute-mile sprints. For now, I slow down my days by going fast. I suck air into stretched lungs. My muscles burn and purr. My mantra repeating in my mind. I have will. I assert my will in this world.

Copyright 2023 Kelsye ©  All Rights Reserved

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