Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Runner's high vs. writer's high
On Saturday, I ran my first 5K (3.1 miles) race ever--in the rain! I don't love to run; I do it strictly for exercise and the race was really just a way to trick myself into pushing my middle-aged body a bit harder. My goal was simple: to run the whole way, hills included (no walking allowed, no matter how much my muscles and lungs complained). And I wanted, just once, to feel the famous "runner's high".
So how'd I do? Well, I did indeed run the whole way and I finished four minutes faster than my best training time. I crossed the finish line to the loud cheers of my husband and friends, who I think were amazed that I really did it. Then I went home, took a hot shower, and fell asleep on the couch. No adrenalin or endorphin or whatever it's supposed to be rush. No high of any kind. Just a strong sense of relief that I could take a vacation from the tyranny of the treadmill for a week, the reward I'd promised myself.
I couldn't help contrasting that with writing. Yes, there are times I long to escape the equally tyrannical word processor, days when I feel I'm dragging every word out of my brain with a blunt pair of pliers. Then there are other miraculous days when I sit down at my keyboard and look up fifteen frenzied pages later to discover it's time to pick up the children from school. I'm smiling for the rest of the day.
Even greater is the high when I type those two wonderful little words: The End. Of course I delete them before I send the manuscript to my agent or editor but I wouldn't miss keying in those six letters for all the ink in New York City. Last week, I finished the first draft of my romantic suspense novel and the sense of accomplishment was beyond description. I completely embarassed my sixteen-year-old daughter (always fun to do) by dancing down the sidewalk on our way to the orthodontist's office. My joy was just too great to contain in my body; I had to express it outwardly.
Now I'm revising the manscript and that too gives me a rush. There are plenty of things that need fixing but there is also the thrill of reading a line of dialogue or a descriptive phrase so good that I can't believe I wrote it.
I guess some of us are born to run, and some of us are born to write.
What gives you your greatest "high"?
Posted by Nancy Herkness at 7:00 AM