Very few people know this about me, but I’m a runner.
Not the “post about the half marathon on my Instagram” “stickers on my car” “attractively fit” “know how long it takes me to run a 5K” kind of a runner. I respect people who do that while being simultaneously irritated by them. I’m a specific sort. I have a treadmill, I put in my time (usually watching a TV show or listening to music) and I keep to myself about it. It’s a solitary activity and I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years.
Check out these shoes if you don’t believe me. They are beat to shit.
Running has also not yielded any sort of desired result. I’m still a tubby guy with high blood pressure. I don’t have that fit, runners physique. The one and only time anyone has ever said “you must be a runner” was a nurse who told me I had a slow pulse. Other than that, I’ve been gaining and losing the same 20 pounds for a long, long time.
But, lack of “results” aside, nearly every single day I strap on my shoes and put in the time (45 minutes, 6.9 MPH, 5.175 miles). That’s the sort of person I am in exercise, and, as it turns out, in writing. Results aren’t that important. It’s not about that. It’s about me.
I’ll be the first to admit when my first novel came out, the moment was nothing short of amazing for me. Then the great reviews came in (and keep coming in!). Feedback was almost universally positive. My next novel, things were muted a bit. The reviews weren’t as good (but sales are going well) but I still felt a pretty inflated sense of pride.
Then, in the past few months my third novel was left homeless due to a number of circumstances, two ideas I was pretty high on got shot down in the development stage and I’m still having a lot of trouble cracking my next project. Creatively, things are frustrating. Success wise, things are in a holding pattern. The “results” aren’t there right now. Last week I deleted 3,000 words because they were headed in the wrong direction. It’s that sort of stretch – long, bumpy and hard.
But, last week I wrote much more than I deleted. This weekend I’ve sort of been on a tear. Today, on the treadmill, I cracked part of a story I wasn’t even sure I was working on. In other words I’m deep in the grind and it made me realize something.
FantasticLand might be a filmed property someday soon. Pack might sell a few thousand more copies. My third novel (which I really like) might find a home tomorrow. Or none of that may happen and regardless of the results, this is part of who I am now. My goal was always to put books on my bookshelf with my name on them and I’m not done with that yet.
It’s not about results. I am immensely, insanely grateful to everyone who reads my work, but you’re all gravy. I’m writing for the same reason I’m running and it ain’t results.
It’s because I want to. It’s because I love it. It’s because it makes me feel accomplished and satisfied and happy. It’s because it’s part of who I’ve become and it’s on the way to the person I want to be.
I’ll let you all know if any results are forthcoming. Thanks for the well wishes and the reviews.