That Crucial First Step

There are times when runners have to force themselves to put on their running shoes and get out the door for a run. We know that we’ll be happy once our bodies limber up, our clothes are soaked with perspiration and the miles disappear behind us. We welcome the heightened attitude at the end of our run and anticipate the energized feeling we will have for the remainder of the day. Looking back, we know our biggest struggle was that first step.

Pushing through that first sentence, just like pushing through that first mile of a run, is crucial.

After eight months I’ve realized that writing a blog is a commitment much like that of a runner. There are days I have to force myself to pound out a narrative much the way I have to force myself out the door for a run. I began this blog because agents and publishers suggest that writers with a following increase their chances of being published. I planned to write at least one blog each week, which didn’t seem difficult until it competed with the time it takes to write magazine and newspaper articles, editorial queries, short stories and a laundry list of other stuff that fills my life.

When your work is done, you will be glad you took that first step.

There are times I stare at my computer screen and it returns a blank stare of its own. But I’ve learned that if I plow through that first sentence, just like I have to plow through that first mile of a run when I feel lethargic, the next sentence will come easier, and then another will follow. The next thing I know I have paragraph written; and then two. I finish a column and go back to edit and make it more coherent. I move some words here, fill in a few holes there and then something magical happens—I come to a conclusion. It’s the end of the run, that point where you put your head up, look into the sky and smile, so thankful you took that first step.

The first step is the most crucial in any venture.

I reread what I’d just written and wondered if I’d just created another running post. Perhaps I did, or perhaps I didn’t. But hopefully my fellow-runners will understand how I approach the craft of writing. And I contend that such an approach doesn’t apply solely to running and writing. The first step of any venture is the most crucial.

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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