Monday, October 31, 2022

Dealing with Writing and Running Distractions

It’s Halloween morning as I sit here writing this. And there’s nothing scarier than letting your plans get derailed from a distraction, no matter how big or small. After I graduated from college, I stopped writing. Life included things like finding a job, having two children, and even going back to school to get my elementary education degree. Back then, it seems like all I was writing was lesson plans. I’ve had the dream ever since I was a little girl to become a published author with lots of books on bookstore and library shelves. But life distracted me. The scariest thing for a writer with big dreams is to never reach their goals. And if I wasn’t writing anything, that would happen to me too. So how do you get rid of distractions or deal with them when they show up?

  1. Schedule time for your goals
  2. Set priorities to protect what’s important
  3. Get away for a weekend to help you focus

Schedule Time For Your Goals

I’ve heard people say, “If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t get done.” I have found that to be true. Of course, just because I don’t have my calendar filled with things to do doesn’t mean I’m sitting around like a bump on a log doing absolutely nothing. It just means that I’m letting daily distractions get in the way of doing anything meaningful that would help me reach my goals.

Like run a 50k or write my middle grade fantasy series.

One thing you can do is get a planner. On the calendar, schedule a time block to sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be 2 or 3 hours every single day. It can be as little as 20 minutes just two to three days a week. Schedule your exercise time. Put it on the calendar. It will help you be more consistent and every time you look at your calendar, you’ll have something to look forward to and start getting excited about it.

What about big distractions that you know about ahead of time? Like holidays (hello, Halloween), weddings, family reunions, or graduations? Schedule your writing and running time around those dates. Either take a few days off or schedule it for a different time.


Set Priorities

Setting priorities means putting what’s most important to you at the top of your list. People who like to run in the mornings guard their workout routine (and their time) because running is a priority for them. If you don’t do it first thing in the morning, it won’t get done. Others may like going to the gym right after work because that feels more convenient – and it’s on their calendar, so it’s a priority.

If there’s something you want to do, you have to make it a priority, or else you’ll let distractions take over. Want to attend a writing retreat next summer, then schedule it! Otherwise, you’re saying to yourself, “Well, if nothing else better comes along, THEN I’ll go on the retreat.” That line of thinking is evidence that the retreat is not a priority for you. Priorities come first, no matter what else comes along. Granted, other things do come along like sickness or death. In those cases, your health or dealing with grief becomes your new priority.

So protect your writing and running schedule by actually putting your time on the calendar. That way other things can’t creep in and take over that time. That goes for daily rituals, weekly priorities, and yes, also annual events, like the Writers Who Run Retreat.

Get Away for a Weekend

Another way to deal with distractions is to create a mini-getaway for a couple days. A two or three day weekend can do wonders for blocking out daily distractions and creating the space to focus on your goals. You can go to a local B&B, or the Motel 6 just down the street. One or two nights is all it takes to get away from the family, the dogs, and the phone so you can focus on your goals. 

A weekend getaway is a welcome distraction from the daily grind of cooking meals, doing laundry, and other chores. If you’re lucky, your spouse and children will pitch in and help out while you’re gone. If not, it’ll be there when you get back. More often than not, most writers seem to prioritize writing over cleaning house anyway. So you’re definitely not alone there.

What to do on your weekend getaway? Work on your most pressing project, even if you don’t have any hard, fast deadlines. Set a mini goal for yourself, such as finishing the next four chapters or running through your second-pass revision. While you're at it, set a goal to run too. Prepping for a race? Be sure to map out a route ahead of time, or make sure the hotel has a gym with a treadmill.

To sum it all up, the best way to deal with distractions is to prioritize what’s most important, set aside time on the calendar to focus on it, and possibly take a weekend to yourself a few times a year to make a little momentum toward your bigger goals.

Keep writing, keep running.


Christie :)

What’s one of your priorities? Share in the comments.

Keep on keepin' on...


Monday, October 24, 2022

Becoming a More Consistent Writer and Runner

It’s no fun when you’re in a writing rut or a running slump. Inaction. What? No writing or running?! Yes, it happens to the best of us. Sometimes life gets in the way and we take a much longer break than anticipated.

Maybe it’s spring and your allergies have kicked in - no running. Maybe it’s summer and it’s too hot. Or your autumn allergies are in full swing combined with being too chilly for an early-morning run. Maybe it’s winter and it’s just downright too cold no matter how many layers you dress in. Or maybe all of these things are simply excuses for a reason to not go out and run. Some people join a gym and use a treadmill. Others don’t care what the elements are doing, they’ll run outside no matter what. 

Writing ruts are no different. Writer’s block, deadlines, procrastination, being consistent, you just finished a big project… no matter what the reason is, it’s still just an excuse. 

Rather than beat yourself up over it and continue to stay stuck, stalled, or stagnant, try getting more consistent with a writing or running schedule to break out of the cycle of inaction.

Set a Goal

The number one way to get out of a rut and get more consistent with your writing or running is to set a new goal. Sometimes getting excited about a new goal is all it takes to get back in the saddle again. Perhaps you’re participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or you’ve just signed up to run your next 10k race. Either way, having a goal gives you something to work toward and gives you a new opportunity to create a little momentum.

When thinking about your goals and trying to be consistent toward reaching them, think about these seven tips.

  1. Follow Your Dreams
    Be sure you’re following your own dreams and not someone else’s. If you’re not following your own dreams, then ask yourself whose dreams are you following? Parents, society, teachers, friends? When you follow your own dreams, you truly care about the results and that will help you be more consistent.

  2. Break Your Goals Into Bite-size Chunks
    When your goals are large, it’s easier to think about reaching them when you break them down into smaller tasks. This also helps create consistency.

  3. Get Organized
    Getting organized gives you clarity about your priorities and helps you manage your time better. So clean off your desk and see a boost in your consistency with your writing.

  4. Know Your Why
    Writing down your goals and posting them where you can see them every day is a great way to keep them front and center. But take it another step further. Write down WHY your goals are so important to you. WHY do you care about this goal or your bigger dreams? Knowing your why will make you more conscious about taking action so you don’t procrastinate. Action creates clarity and consistency.

  5. Connect with a Fellow Writer or Runner
    Talking with a trusted friend who understands or even shares some of the same goals as yours can help you when you struggle with negative emotions. Brainstorming, listening, and sharing with each other bolsters consistency, accountability, and momentum.

  6. Take Time to Do Things You Love
    Things you like doing keep your creativity alive, which is important for writers. Finding time to do things aside from working toward your goals increases creativity, efficiency, consistency, and productivity. It could be knitting, painting, collecting something, baking, or playing a musical instrument.

  7. Visualize Your Results The more often you visualize your dreams and the journey to get there, the more dedicated you’ll be toward it. You’ll be more excited to continue taking consistent action. So keep the bigger picture in mind and enjoy your results!


Give Yourself a Challenge

There are two types of goals: achievement goals and habit goals. Setting a new goal typically makes people think of an achievement goal such as writing 50,000 words toward your novel in a month, or participating in a fun 10k race. But habit goals are what can create real consistency around your writing and running dreams.

One way to create and track a habit goal is to write down the action you want to accomplish on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and put a check mark on a calendar every time you take action. Another thing you can do is to issue yourself a fun new challenge. What’s something you can do for 5, 10, or even 30 days in a row? Write for 10 minutes a day? Write a poem a day? Run a mile? Stretch for 10 minutes?

I created a social media livestream challenge. To show up live and share things about writing and running for 45 days in a row. So far, I’ve done 3 videos, which is more than I’ve done in the past 6 months. So I’d say my challenge has been successful so far in helping me take action.

Celebrate Your Wins

Sometimes it’s hard to have a winner mindset when you feel like you can never gain any traction with your goals of being a more consistent writer and runner. You want to write five times a week, but you only manage one day. You want to run four times a week, but you only manage one day. Yikes! What’s a writer and runner to do?

If you follow the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to creating more consistency when it comes to reaching your goals, whether they be an achievement goal or a habit goal. Another way to create more consistency with your writing and running is to attend the annual Writers Who Run Retreat where you’ll be running every morning for 5 days in a row and you’ll be writing, revising, and learning more about craft for 5 days as well. Attending the retreat creates massive momentum!

The final tip is to celebrate your wins! Keep taking action even in the face of failures or setbacks. Focus on your efforts rather than the results. And celebrate EVERY WIN, no matter how small. You wanted to run 3 miles today, but you only walked 1 mile? Great! You got out there and did. Habit streak kept intact. WIN! You wanted to finish the next chapter in your book, but you only got 2 pages written? Great! You still wrote and maintained consistent action. WIN!

Not only should you celebrate all your wins, no matter how big or small, but it also helps to celebrate the wins of other people. See that someone just finished their first 5k in 45 minutes? Give them a high five! Someone published a poem in a local magazine? High five! Following others and seeing their successes will motivate you to keep going - especially when you celebrate their wins with them.

Keep writing, keep running.


Christie :)

Which passion do you most want to get consistent with? Your writing or your running? Click here to share a comment.

Keep on keepin' on...



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