As I'm sitting at my desk today weighing my options for how to spend my afternoon, I realized something potentially profound - or at least to me. Writing a blog is a lot like training for a marathon. How so?
1. It takes discipline. You can't just willy-nilly decide to run when you feel like it. The same with a blog. You can't write on the days you are in a super writing mode with lots of ideas flowing.
2. It's got to be a daily focus. That doesn't mean you write or run every day. But on the off days you should be gearing up for the days you are going to be working on your skill. For writing on off days you should be brainstorming new topics to write about, new angles to take, guest bloggers you want to grab. And on the off running days you need to be cross training with weights or going for a slow relaxing bike ride.
3. Help is needed along the way. When I first started marathon training I figured you just ran a little more every day until it was the big marathon day. But there is so much more to it than that. You need to read about good stretching techniques and learn which powerbars will give you the extra energy you need on the long runs. For blogging you need to be reading others posts, and articles constantly gathering information and fodder for your own use.
4. It's always easier with others around. I didn't want to run with my dad, who is also training for the marathon, but when he suggested it the last time I was home I agreed. I dreaded the basic 5 miles we were going to do thinking either he'd leave me in the dust or I'd leave him. But it turned out that we went at a pace that was between our two strides and managed all 5 miles without a single cramp. Blogging with encouragement, like the May blogathon, is so much easier because you know you have a group around you struggling to meet the same goal.
5. Some days it's a pain in the butt. Today, for instance, it is nearly 90* with 100% humidity here. A run even once around the block is a daunting task, but if I'm really serious about the marathon I'm going to run despite the heat. Blogging today is equally non-exciting since I've been at my computer for more than 7 hours already. But to keep the followers interested and to keep my craft sharp I'm writing.