They say the best way to get inspired to run a marathon is to go to a marathon. In 2016, I watched the marathon with my brother as the runners plodded past his apartment. I told myself I would complete a marathon in the next year. In 2017, I ran the New York City marathon and as I plodded past his old apartment, I remembered that promise.
Running a marathon had always been on my radar. I’d been a distance runner my entire life and 26.2 was a distance I hadn’t – up until that point – topped. I knew I wanted to do it before I even saw the elites flash by on that November morning back in 2016, but being in that atmosphere reminded me why.
Outside of running, the single most important thing in my life has been writing. When I was a little girl, my mother would buy “blank books” at the craft store for me to spill imagination into ink. I wrote and illustrated books about talking farm animals (minus the well-structured George Orwell social commentary) and cats that can time travel because of a magic mirror. I wrote the tale of a trumpet player who gets lost on a school trip and a little girl who revolts against a move to Midwest.
I was in second grade when I knew I wanted to be a writer (a big step up from the first grade Liz who told the yearbook committee she wanted to be a Dunkin Donuts worker). Now, over a decade later, the need to dance through run on sentences still calls me.
If the best way to get inspired for a marathon is to watch one, perhaps the best way to find writing inspiration is to visit a bookstore, to imagine your work between the shelves.
Recently, I’ve been spending more and more time ducking into book stores, scanning the shelves, flipping through musty pages or feeling the crack of an unopened spine, taking in the pages of books I may never read. There is nothing more magical than a bookstore. To all the authors who slave over their stories – thank you. You are living proof of what hard work can accomplish. There’s no reason not to write. There’s no reason not to publish. There’s no reason to turn away from any dream.
Find your space of inspiration – whether that’s the neighborhood track, the local library, or the community band. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you better. Then, begin.
Pictured; Art Institute of Chicago