I’ve been thinking a lot about my running progress…well, more like focusing on the pain as I push through yet another grueling session. I still can’t push myself further than about a mile before I start to think my knee is going to explode. But as of today, my lungs feel fine. It didn’t take me as long to recover as it did two weeks ago. And that’s awesome.
As I sat in a hurdler’s stretch on my front lawn this morning, so happy that I managed to minimally limp on my run, the fifty-something guy down the street blew passed my house like he was going for Olympic Gold in the 100m dash. I picked my jaw up off the concrete. He lives, like, 2 miles away for goodness sake! I reigned in my death glare. He looked at me and waved. I waved back, very unenthused and still sweating bullets. Just before he passed my house he yelled, “Have a good day!” He wasn’t even out of breath. You can’t imagine the profanity that flew through my head.
I went from feeling like this…
…to feeling like this, in two seconds flat…
My good day was shot. The old dude was gone on his run for over an hour. I know because I watched out my window with a big ass bag of potato chips. He jet by the house on his way back, too. He still didn’t look winded. I started wondering how it’s possible that a guy like that is able to make me feel like I’m not even moving. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll never get to that point–it’s so far off the horizon for me right now. I can barely drag my feet around a mile loop!
I got to thinking…
I’ve felt this feeling before. I’ve been feeling it all week actually. And I’m not only talking about my pathetic runs that make me feel like I should invest in canes and walkers right now. I’m talking about my writing journey.
I got my first rejection from a New York editor yesterday. It hurt. Much more than I thought it would. I think I’ve got pretty tough skin for a writer. I take almost everything constructively. The rejection, although coming from a very nice person with very good intentions, didn’t come off so nice. It was brief. Too brief to make me think I can make it in this industry.
I drowned my sorrows in my current read, Carnal Sin. I got to thinking that I’ll never reach Allison Brennan’s status. If an editor who KNOWS this business thinks it’s not good enough, then maybe I’m far off base.
More than a mile off base.
It was after I took a day (or two) to have a mini-pity-party that I realized everyone has a different race to run. I don’t know how long Brennan wrote before she was published or before she hit bestselling status. I don’t know what kind of rejections she got or what they said. And I shouldn’t care. Not one bit. I should be focused on my journey. Some people reach success faster with seemingly little strife (damn you all), and some have to work and fight and toil and bubble for their success, for every little inch.
I was hoping to be the former. Looks like I’m just gonna have to keep pushing around that mile loop until I can sprint it without my knee giving me so much as a wince. I don’t know how long it will take me…but I don’t know how long that old dude has been running either. Maybe his six or seven mile sprint is off base from what he thinks is “good”. (In what universe, right?)
Likewise, I have to run my race with this uber-critical writing biz. I have to find an agent who believes in my work as much as I do–one that’ll offer to run with me on this journey.
I don’t know if this is going to fall on deaf ears, but if you’ve ever felt like you’re racing to catch up in this business…like everyone seems to have it so much easier…or everyone is one step ahead…remember they’re not. Everyone is running a different race with different motivations and different end goals.
Just run your race. Focus on your end goal instead of the success of those around you. I know I am. From here on out.*
*Except if I see old runner dude tomorrow I’m gonna have to bite down on my lip to keep from kicking dirt on his damned sweat-free shirt.