Guest Post: It's all about the Journey... until it's Not by J.C. Lane

Today on Becca's Books, I'm chuffed to bits to be welcoming author of Tag, You're Dead J.C. Lane to the blog to share with readers her experience of writing a book, likening it to that of running a marathon. In case you missed it, I reviewed Lane's thriller right here on Becca's Books and you can find that review here. I absolutely loved reading this post and found a real essence of truth in all that Lane writes. I hope you enjoy reading it too, dear readers. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below!

Last summer I began running seriously for the first time in my life, and by January had decided that the sport was fun and I was ready for something more. I was going to run a half-marathon! Some of you are thinking, “Awesome,” while others of you have already decided I’m either crazy or stupid. Either train of thought is understandable.

I began an official training plan in January, which involved specific days of the week and a growing number of miles tacked on as time went by. At first I was like, “Hey, this is cool, I’d been doing this number of miles, anyway.” But it wasn’t long before the fairy tale fractured. Within two months I was looking ahead to longer than previously accomplished runs on the weekends, and forcing myself out of bed at 5:30 in order to get my miles in before work, since my evenings were filled with soccer games, tracks meets, and other family obligations. The training had gone way beyond fun; it had morphed into this thing that was overwhelming, a drag, and, in some cases, painful. It wouldn’t have taken too much prompting for me to give up the whole idea, especially after the 12th week, 10-mile run in the wind and snow (at the end of March!).

But I persevered into the fourth – and last – month of training, dreading the 11-mile run that 14th Saturday. All week I worried and fretted and wished something would come up so I didn’t have to do it. I felt irritable and crabby, hating my pre-dawn runs and wondering how quickly a time warp might be discovered. Finally Saturday came and I headed out as planned, telling myself at mile five that I’d gone longer before. Assuring myself at miles six and seven that it had been worse in the past. My husband met me at mile 8 with a water bottle (God bless him), and left one at stop signs the rest of my way home. Kind of like an Easter egg hunt, if Easter egg hunts involved sore feet and sweating.

And then…it was over. I’d made it, and it wasn’t as awful as I’d anticipated. My week-long distress had turned the run into a Kraken, when in truth it was merely a gremlin. I enjoyed my warm-down, celebratory walk around the driveway and actually looked forward to the 13.1-mile race in two weeks’ time. The worst of the training was over. I’d survived.

I limped through the last two weeks of training, missing a couple of runs because of a sore knee (the only runs I’d missed the whole four months!), and finally, FINALLY, race day arrived. My husband ran with me, and with his encouragement I made it across the finish line. It had been interesting and horrible, fun and awful, exhilarating and painful…but at the end it was nothing but rewarding and fulfilling and complete. I had made it through. I had crossed the finish line. All of that hard work had paid off.

Why am I telling you this? Because writing a book is very similar to this process. It starts out all fun with ideas and characters running around in your head. It’s shiny and new and feels do-able. And then the middle hits, and the plot problems attack, and the characters want to travel their own paths rather than where you want them to go. You ache to stop, to file the book in the “ideas folder,” and dive into something different, something else shiny and new. But somehow, some way, you need to persevere. To trudge on. To write that next word and that next sentence and that next paragraph and that next chapter…because without the hard and terrible and joyful and painful and exciting and rewarding work you will never know what it’s like to cross the finish line and hold that completed manuscript in your hands.

And that’s what makes it all worth it.

About the author
J.C. Lane is the author of the thriller, Tag, You’re Dead, which crosses the finish line on July 5. She also writes mysteries under the name Judy Clemens, and is a past-president of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Ohio in the United States, where she enjoys the wide fields and fresh air and eats as much chocolate as possible.

You can find J.C. Lane on Facebook | Twitter |

1 comment :

  1. Loved this. At some point in a race and in a novel you think "Why the hell did I ever think it was a good idea to do this?!!"

    Before Mary and I wrote our first book I had never written anything other than a short story and the length intimidated me so I took the running advice of first making sure I could cover the distance and wrote a useless, sloppy practice book that was novel length.

    Running and writing have a lot in common.

    Eric Mayer