Milestones: Running or Writing – Little Difference

Runners have milestones, like a 5K or 50K. Writers have milestones too. The 5,000th reader visited Rite2Run this week. Sound like a lot? Literary agents say that a writer should have a following somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 visitors if they want to improve their chances of being published—10,000 PER MONTH. Based on their numbers and how long I’ve maintained this blog, I’m over 100,000 visitors short. If you think I’m discouraged, you don’t understand the mind of a marathoner.

Runners don’t become marathoners by showing up at a starting line one day and running 26.2 miles. A runner becomes a marathoner by first walking or jogging. A beginner’s first race is usually a 5K, or 3.1 miles. Many runners are happy with the 5K, and should be—it is a great achievement. Some runners go on to run a 10K, and those who still can’t get enough set their sights on longer distances like a 15K or 20K. Once a runner completes a 20K, there is no reason not to run a half-marathon. A half-marathon, or 13.1 miles, is an athletic feat only a fraction of the population will ever achieve, and most are content once the half-marathon is in the books.

Some of us, however, are not so lucky—we have to double it; we have to run 26.2. It’s like a disease, and it’s difficult to get out of your system. American poet William Carlos Williams said the same thing about writing, that “all writing is a disease.”

Some writers make a living from blogging; it’s not likely I’ll ever be one of them. Blogging is a commitment, like running a marathon. I write for magazines and am working to publish my memoir about the marathon. I am also finishing up a short story collection about the lives of blue-collar workers. I am a lifelong distance runner committed to my writing. I believe in my work, and I believe it will one day touch some readers, maybe even inspire them, make them smile, or perhaps think about their own lives.

So, am I discouraged that I’m 100,000 visitors short of a recommended literary threshold? Not a chance! And besides, any day now one of you might send Rite2Run to 100,000 of your friends.


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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3 Responses to Milestones: Running or Writing – Little Difference

  1. Kyle Kuns says:

    I agree. Well said Jim.


  2. I think our brains are connected Jim. First you mentioned Murakami the week I took it out of the library and was going to post about it. And today, I was thinking about a post that talked about my feelings about blogging and publishing etc. I used to worry so much about blogging and “being a writer”, wondering whether it was a help or a hindrance to being published or taken seriously and all those kind of things. Now I try not to conflate the two. I blog because I like the discipline, the commitment and when I find genuine community with no strings-attached. I also like the feeling of pressing Publish now and then haha! Beyond that, I have no expectations and try to not live a life that’s overly-strategized! Keep going Marathon Man!


    • Jim Brennan says:

      Well Deborah Rose, you are certainly blogging and writing for the right reasons, and it shows. It’s kind of like running for the sheer joy of it. The habit of running routinely maintains healthy conditioning and a clear mind, without the clutter of constantly trying to set records. If you are talented, that will come naturally. I can’t tell you how many of my blogs are contrived while I’m out on the trail, probably all of them. And I’m with you completely with the over-strategizing stuff. Keep up the good work.


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