There’s a road near my house that winds along the side of a hill above Pasadena. On the rare occasion that I’m out and about early on a Saturday, I have to drive carefully because that little windy road is swarming with runners.
I know who they are. I looked them up years ago. They’re the Pasadena Pacers and they meet up at the Rose Bowl every Saturday to go running. I looked them up because I desperately wanted people to run with, but then I didn’t go.
I kept telling myself I WOULD go, just as soon as I was fast enough and could run enough miles that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. I continued to run by myself around the neighborhood and on the treadmill, wishing I was ready, longing to be a good enough runner that I could go join the Pacers.
Then I guess I got tired of waiting. Two weeks ago I just decided to go. I’m not in particularly good shape right now. Running even a couple miles on my own is a struggle, so I’m not sure what got into me.
I joined their “conditioning” group, running five minutes then walking one, as we headed out along that lovely hillside road. I got to chatting with the other runners and had a great time and – get this – I ran 5 MILES. It didn’t even seem hard. Running with other people is so much more fun than running by myself.
The next day, while researching something online, I came across this quote from Amy Poehler:
I believe great people do things before they are ready.
Yes. Waiting until we’re ready is such a trap. It’s just our ego, trying to protect us, but if we let it hold us back, if we always wait until we’re ready, we can miss so much in life. It’s just as true in creative endeavors.
If you feel you’ve got a story in you, don’t wait. Don’t spend your days creating the perfect writing space and finding the appropriate pen, or the right candle to light, or any other silly thing. Just start, even if you don’t feel ready. Just start.
This is not the first time I’ve taken writing wisdom from running. Which reminds me, I’ll be teaching at the Writers Who Run retreat this July in North Carolina. The theme this year is If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It. If you’re a runner and a writer (or if maybe you’ve been waiting until you’re ready?) check it out. I’ll see you there.