How to Write When You Don’t Want to Write

action-athlete-athletics-618612I used to coach a cross country running team. Cross country is a really monotonous sport. Let’s face it: All cross country runners do is run. A coach can dress the running up in different ways: running speed drills, running form drills, running passing exercises, running hills… but it’s all still running. When a runner shows up to running practice, her ass is going to run.

So about once a week, a runner showed up to practice and whined, “Coach, I don’t feel like running today.” If a runner doesn’t want to run, then a running team may not be the right team for him. BUT, I get it. It’s a long season. Running is what we did. It’s all we did. Without the running, we had no point of being a cross country running team.

The first couple times I heard the “I-don’t-want-to-run” whine, I tried reasoning with the whiner. Reasoning doesn’t work. But action does. I discovered that the only to overcome the will not run was to decide to run anyway.

Before long, I had a stock answer to the whine: “You know what cures that? Running.”

It’s stupid and true.

Some days, success was not defined by “how fast” or “how long”. Success wasn’t defined by great form or great feelings. Success was defined by simply running. Killing the voice of the quitter within–the voice that said “you don’t feel like running today… you need a break today.”–killing the quitter’s voice was success.

Today, I killed the quitter’s voice. When it eeked out “I don’t want to write today!” I wrote anyway. Maybe it ain’t the purdiest writing. These 300 words have taken a painfully long time to commit to page. But they’re here. And today I am writer.

I write. Even when I don’t want to.

“Coach, I don’t want to write today!”

“You what cures that? Writing.”


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