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Want Success? Take BABY Steps!

For those of you who have followed my blog, or who follow me on Twitter or Facebook...or (gasp!) know me in real life, I apologize. I know you've heard this story too many times to count. I promise: it does have something to do with writing...

This has been a year of changes for me. In many ways, I've reinvented myself, although I didn't intentionally set out to do that. Tomorrow, I will run in the Kansas City Marathon. This will be my second half marathon; my first was just three weeks ago. But, the fact that I'm running tomorrow is not the spectacular part of this story.

The real story (and how it relates to writing) is how I went from total non-runner to half marathoner in nine months' time...and how you can use the same process to reach your writing goals!

I've always put in a lot of time at the gym--about two hours a day, Monday through Friday. One day in January, I was on the elliptical machine. My friends, who had both run half marathons last year, were red-faced and drenched on the treadmill, while I was barely breaking a sweat. They were (and are) in great shape, and my weight was at an all time high.

At the time, I hated running. I hated it so much, I was going to quit training with my trainer because she made us run. Running hurt my ankles, my knees...my entire body. Although I devoted a lot of time to working out, I couldn't run 1/10 of a mile back then. That morning, as I watched my runner friends, I decided it was time to do something about my level of fitness. That day, I decided to approach fitness and nutrition as an athlete would.

Over the next two weeks, I built up to being able to run a mile on the track. I stayed at that distance for a while...and even when I could run a mile non-stop, I still couldn't run on consecutive days. It  hurt. A lot.

But, I was determined. Eventually, I increased my distance, and eventually my body became strong enough to run every day. (I now run 30-35 miles a week.)

I set a goal of running a 5K, which I did with a friend in March. By then, I was hooked, but I knew I needed a really big goal to work toward. We booked a family vacation to a major 1/2 marathon (which is coming up...but for safety reasons, I will not mention time/location here.) and that gave me the incentive I needed to NEVER GIVE UP.

Since then, I've trained consisently with my group of runner friends. I've run a few 5Ks, 10Ks, and my first half marathon. I did a team run with a group of special running women I've become close to at my gym (we took first place!), and I have plans to run my first full marathon in the spring. (I also lost 45 lbs, a whole lot of body fat, went off all my cholesterol and triglyceride meds, lowered my resting heart rate...)

So...what's the point? I am asked to tell this story several times a week. I was recently at a writing conference with people who hadn't seen me in a long time. I look very different from how I looked a year ago, and people ask about it. The one comment I get all the time is, "I could never do that!"

I'm here to tell you YES YOU CAN! If I can do it, you can too. I didn't run 13.1 over night. I ran 13.1 by putting in the effort every single day this year. EVERY. Single. Day. I didn't take a week off. I didn't take a month off. I didn't decide to run 13.1 in January, sit on my butt all spring and summer and fret in the fall when I wasn't prepared. I worked at it every day.

And that's what this has to do with writing--if you want to be published, if you want to be successful, it takes WORK. Not wishing. WORK.

Look at some of the key points above:

1) Baby steps.
2) Daily focus on the goal.
3) Never giving up, even when discouraged.
4) Setting goals.
5) Setting bigger goals.
6) Enlisting the help and support of friends.
7) Having fun!

Me after my first half marathon:

Wishing you all the success in the world...one baby step at a time!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 17th, 2009 12:44 am (UTC)
Bravo, Kim. So proud of you!
Oct. 17th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
Thank you! Although the story is about me, I think there are a lot of good lessons here for anyone who wants to accomplish any goal, including getting a book published. Big things worth doing take commitment.
Oct. 17th, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
It's so true: writing a novel = baby steps.

And do you ever look fabulous!!
Oct. 21st, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
:-) thank you!
Oct. 17th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
WOW! Thanks for the inspiration! Congrats!
Oct. 21st, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
You look great! Congratulations on your 1/2 marathons. I have a 5K coming up this weekend and I will be thinking of this blog post as I try to beat my best time. I need to remember to apply this advice to my writing as well. : )
Oct. 21st, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
Good luck with your 5K! There are so many races around here, I cold do one ever weekend if I wanted. It's hard to stop myself sometimes!
Oct. 20th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
Such a great reminder, Kim--thank you for this story (it's completely new to me!). I've just hit the 2-week mark with my resolution to get up every morning and write for 1-2 hours, so it's good to know there's the possibility of success at the end of a long haul.

And congratulations on finishing the marathon! That's fantastic!
Oct. 21st, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the new writing resolution! I hope you're still going strong!
Oct. 21st, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
Even though I know your story, it was good to see it written out like this. And definitely a good comparison with the writing life.
Oct. 21st, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah...now if I'd just work as hard on getting my writing schedule down, I'd be set!
Oct. 21st, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )