I went running with my dad a few weeks ago. Or, more accurately, we did intervals on the nature paths close to his house. I learned two things that day. One, it’s a lot harder to run on an uneven nature path than it is to run on a flat street (my ankle muscles were screaming that night). And two, when my dad was a kid they called it wind sprints. A short interval of running as fast as you can, followed by recovery time, repeat until exhausted – this was called wind sprints because it trains your “wind.” As I have asthma, this is the primary goal of the exercise.
The term got me thinking, though, as I’m writing away at NaNo this week. Today I spent a large portion of the afternoon chipping away at a difficult scene, but when it hit four o’clock, I told myself, time to push. So I opened up the text screen and wrote, as quickly and thoughtfully as I could, on the next (easier) scene. After an hour I’m exhausted. but I wrote over 3300 words today… 1100 more than yesterday. Wind sprints work. If I do one every day in addition to the slower work, eventually I’ll have the endurance to write straight through. Set the clock for yourself tonight – write solidly for a straight hour without stopping, without getting distracted, without pausing to think about nonessential details. Do a wind sprint. With practice, we’ll all get stronger.