Like a marathon, only better

About once a month I like to convince myself that I could run a marathon. I read all manner of inspiring stories and for a brief moment of insanity I believe that I too could join the ranks of those who run 26.2 miles.

Then I go out for a run and a quarter mile into the jaunt my body starts hurling four letters words at my ambition.

This usually leads to phase two of my insanity, wherein I lower my expectations and convince myself that I could run a half marathon.

Then I go for a run and a quarter mile into the jaunt my body starts hurling four letter words at my ambition.

At this point I decide to accept my limitations as a runner, which usually lasts me a couple of weeks until I read the inspiring story of someone who’s muscles use to curse at her and she overcame and became an avid marathoner who wakes up every morning and without even thinking she accidentally runs eighteen miles and I think, “Huh. I could do that.”

And thus, the cycle begins again.

So listen, I’m not a runner. Clearly. Somewhere deep down I think I know that, but there’s always the hope of a miracle.

I also hope to meet a unicorn someday…

But there are other goals that loom before me and call to me every single day. Like the ever elusive marathon, though, these goals often feel so…hard.

Writing a book is my own marathon. It is the song that calls me from my bed early in the morning and taunts me in the late hours of the night. This weekend the Blissdom conference brought a bit of a revelation to me as I sat in Jeff Goins‘ session on falling back in love with the craft of writing.

See the thing is, I will probably never run a marathon because I don’t love running. I just don’t. I don’t even like running. I think it’s stupid.

And it hurts.

And it’s stupid.

But writing…I love it. I love writing. I love the sound of the keys tapping a rhythm. I love the hum of the pen moving in fluid loops across a blank page. The sound of a typewriter is so romantic it makes my eyes water. I simply and deeply love writing.

I’ve told you I’m writing a book. I even let you see a little sneak peek. Twice. This book that I’m writing is my race. It is the marathon that I simply must run. It’s the story I must tell. But it’s so very, very hard.

For the last few months, as I’ve tried to work on my book only to be met by a wall of resistance, fear and doubt, I’ve wondered why on Earth I chose such a difficult subject to write about. Like a marathoner in her 19th mile, I’ve begun to wonder…can I really do this?

But the revelation that hit me this weekend was this: I didn’t choose this book. It chose me.

It chose me when I was fifteen and I stood on top of the hill at Babi Yar listening to the story of survival that changed my life and forever altered how I view the world as a whole. In that very moment, more than half my lifetime ago, I knew that I would write this book. I didn’t understand the scope of what it would become or the enormity of the task that loomed before me.

I just knew it was mine to write.

And it scares me. It scares the crap out of me. It’s like running a marathon straight up the slope of a mountain knowing that failure isn’t an option because by God, I trained for this.

Jeff challenged us all to write something dangerous this week and to publish it. So here it is: I am going to finish this book by June 1st.

I have 94 days.

And along the way, I may give you all a few more sneak peeks here and there. Because you guys, you’re a part of this journey with me. You are the cheerleaders on the sideline telling me I can do this and throwing me a beer now and again.

Just kidding. I don’t like beer. Wine would be great though.

Come back tomorrow for the next sneak peek at the novel that chose me. I am going to introduce you to the character that depletes me emotionally each time I sit down to write. I loathe him. And I feel sympathy for him. I’d love for you all to meet him. Tomorrow.

For now, though, I’m going to head out for a run.

Just kidding. I’m going to go pet my unicorn…

Image Credit


  1. whoa. june 1. That is lofty. You are going to need prayer. And how about punch instead of wine? just sayin.

    • No punch! Punch is dangerous. And yes, this is ambitious but I’ve set pretty realistic goals along the way. I need to write roughly 50,000 words to finish. If I write 1,000 words 50 out of the 94 days between now and then, I should come pretty darn close to finishing. It will take a little thing called discipline. Eek! 🙂

  2. Kelli, this is so exciting! I’ve been thinking about you a lot ever since I sat next to you in that session and saw your passion for this project. I’m cheering you on from Indiana, and looking forward to following your journey!

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you gave yourself a tangible due date for such a big, bold, brave dream! You can do this, and we are all cheering you on!

  4. GO, Kelli, GO! I love to make desserts, not write….so I will make desserts and think about you WHILE you write! 🙂 If you lived closer, I would bring them by to help give you energy! Since you don’t….

    • You could tell me all about them and I could imagine eating them, which would be lovely and would curb that nasty weight gain. 🙂

  5. This is so dangerous! And bold and BRAVE!

    Meeting you was a highlight of Blissdom for me. I know you can do this, Kelli. (5 AM Work Hour WIN!) Laura shared with me later a little more about the story and how it found you, and I am more convinced than ever that this work has found YOU for a reason. Give it flesh, Kelli. You will serve the work beautifully. I just know it.

    (I’m proud of you.)

  6. Jeff Goins has a way of encouraging us to risk and do what only we are capable of doing, doesn’t he? Godspeed as you finish your novel. May you be captivated by the message He gives you to write.

  7. Kelli, I was blessed to be in that session and at your table and tears are welling up remembering you speak of your novel. It is profoundly good to see this piece, bold and brave and scary and all. I’m going to watch you make this happen. I’m so honored to have been there for your hinge moment.

    • Thank you, Anne. That table of ladies was such a blessing to me. I’m honored to have you join me on this journey.

  8. Cheering you on from the sidelines Kelli! I think Jeff gave us all the kick in the pants we needed. Setting a goal is so brave. You can do this! Sounds like you have the deep passion and connection to the idea that you need to get it out. Praying it flows out of you!

  9. I so love that we have this in common. Thinking that running is stupid, I mean. But I understand the feeling of knowing what you are called to do and having it scare the crap out of you. For me it was the decision to go pro with photography. It scares me everyday. But I keep reminding myself that all those “What do you think you’re doing? You will FAIL,” voices in my head are memos from the enemy and it’s all lies. If I had nothing of value to share in the gift God gave me then Satan would probably not waste his time bothering me about it. I press on, and I will toss you wine AND Nutella snacks from the sidelines.

    Just one question: if you’re done with your novel, WHAT are you going to do in Clear Lake come June 27? Oh, that’s right. You’re going to teach me to be a better blogger.

    • Nutella! See…thats why its better to write a novel than run a marathon. I can eat Nutella while I work. Yes!

      Clear Lake will (hopefully) be for editing the snot out of what I write in the next 94 days. 😀

      • I have already fallen in love with your characters. I can’t wait to read the whole thing 🙂

  10. Oh this is fantastic. How exciting. I always say I have no desire to write a book, but I wouldn’t mind if it ever sneaks up on me eventually someday.


  11. This is lovely. God crafted you a novelist! Can’t wait to hear TONS of it this Summer. FOUR MONTHS and COUNTING! PS – I (heart) you!


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