Back to the writing. Sometime in June I had the thought, when I'm dying, what will I most regret not having done? And the answer was immediate: Not writing the book(s) I always thought I would. Because I have always assumed that I would write one book at least, someday. I just always thought it would come from whatever work I was doing. Since that wasn't happening, I thought I'd better just start writing, instead.
Once I allowed myself the time to just write whatever I wanted it didn't take long to realize that I had a novel I wanted to get out. And once I allowed myself that, all kinds of memories and ideas came pouring in. In October I even uncovered a cache of story ideas and beginnings from ten years ago, the last time I took a writing class, including one that was eerily like the novel I'd started three months before. I guess that idea decided I was still the right person for it.
Of course all this gives me permission to read more! And with that the realization that there were books I had not been allowing myself to read, out of wanting it too much, without knowing that was my thinking ("This is the sort of stuff I want to write, but I could never write that, so I'm not going to read it...") Funny how we work against ourselves, yes? So I'm enjoying reading novels again.
I do not think I would believe I could see a longer work of fiction through to its end if it were not for marathon training, and running in general.* For knowing the results of putting in daily effort, one step in front of the other. For learning how to build habits, outside of will power. For setting concrete long-term goals - goals that no one but I care about and no one but I am paying attention to - and seeing them come to fruition. It's exciting, and inspiring. Funny to think I can be an inspiration to myself.
*I have written longer non-fiction works in the past, as well as short stories, though have not tried to see them to publication. Some time soon I want to look through that cache I found and see if I can do anything more with any of it.