If you want to run a distance race, you need to be prepared. You can’t just dive into it because—unless you are extremely lucky—you will crash, exhausted and completely burnt out.
So you start slowly. With regular, short runs. And you may feel a little silly only running a few hundred metres today. But in a few days you’ll be running for longer. And as weeks turn into months, the distances you run will extend, the time it takes to run them will decrease, you will find it easier to run the distances that at the start seemed so daunting, and you won’t be so exhausted by the end of it.
And yes, you could spend money on the latest lycra-compression-wicking running tops and shorts, hyper-air-shock-absorbing-auto-adjusting running shoes, a GPS tracker with heart rate monitor, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G and a built-in espresso maker as well as all the other expensive professional equipment runners use. They will certainly help you when you are a good runner. But they won’t turn you into one.
Only putting one foot in front of the other does that, day after day, putting in the miles. In truth, you just need a cheap pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and a basic pair of running shoes (and not even that if, like me, you are sold on the concept of barefoot running…)
What is true for running is true for writing. You can have multiple computers, all the fancy writing software in the world, digital notepads, voice recorders, an entire reference library of thesauri, dictionaries, books of quotes etc. But these useful tools are only there to make writing easier. They can’t make you a writer.
Writing. Day after day, putting words down onto the page. Small amounts of words. Regularly. Then in a few days you’ll be writing more. And as weeks turn into months, the amount of words you write will extend, the time it takes to write them will decrease, you’ll find it easier to write the things that at the start seemed so exhausting and… well, you’ll probably still be exhausted at the end of it.
Runners only need the basics to get started. It is the miles they put in that makes them a runner. So too writers, who only need paper and a pen or pencil. It is the words you put down, day after day, that make you a writer.
Put in the miles.