How Writing a Novel Prepared Me to Run A Marathon

By Sarah Baar

So, I did a stupid thing the other day. I signed up for the Chicago Marathon.


There are a number of reasons this is insane. Here are a few:

  1. It requires running 26.2 miles. MILES.
  2. The marathon got its name when a man ran (26.2 miles) from Marathon to Athens . . . and then died.
  3. The farthest I’ve ever run is half that distance. Twelve years ago. I probably haven’t run 26.2 miles COMBINED since.


And yet I signed up. I admit, I like a challenge. Which might have been why, back in 2008, I signed up to do NaNoWriMo on October 30, just hours, really, before I would be required to write 50,000 words in one month.

NaNoWriMo-2008It was hard! Exhilarating and hard. I often had to plan my day around my writing. I woke up early, stayed up late and sometimes neglected other responsibilities in lieu of writing.

But it was totally worth it.

At the end of the month, I had a completed novel. 50,000 words of my own. And life lessons I would cherish forever.

I learned how to manage my time better. I learned how to make a plan and stick to it. I learned how to wing it when need be.

And I learned that sometimes, you just take it one day at a time.

Of course, I could write a novel sitting on my couch and laying in bed. Running a marathon, I’ve heard, involves actual running.

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