The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift, But to Those Who Keep Running*

Running Photo

But what does running have to do with writing, or horses, or the military, or any of the other things I normally blog about?  Well, running is a part of who I am.  I started running in college to try and unsuccessfully chase away the freshman pounds, but I didn’t become a dedicated runner until my first year in the Navy.  I found that besides the health benefits, running gave me time to think, a peace of mind, and that there really was something to that whole endorphin-high rumor.  I made many running friends, entered numerous fun events, explored new trails and sights, AND fit into my clothes better.  I loved the solitude of a long run and found that answers to questions came to me while running that I otherwise could not figure out.  I owe a lot in life to my running habit.

 

As the title suggests, I am not a fast runner, but I have kept going.  I’ve met people who have been discouraged by running, so since it is National Running Day, I thought I’d offer my personal advice for what has worked for me.  And all this for free!

  1.  Start slow.  Real slow.  Even if you walk a minute, then run a minute; some start is better than none.  This was probably the key to me continuing to run when I became dedicated.  I had always gone out too fast, became completely out of breath, and thought “this sucks.”  Start slow and build.  If you can breathe while you are running, you’re more likely to stick with it.
  2. Listen to music you like that will motivate you.  Bonus:  you also can’t listen to yourself breathing hard or hear the cat calls from your adoring fans.
  3. Buy good shoes; don’t skimp here.  If you don’t know what kind of shoes to buy, go to a good reputable running store with knowledgeable salespeople and ask.  Replace shoes every six months once you regularly use them.
  4. Find places you like to run – parks, running trails, bike trails, neighborhoods, gyms, your own treadmill – and break up the routine.  If you like where you run, you’re more likely to do it.
  5. Finally, set you OWN goals, not someone else’s.  Are your goals to improve your distance or time, or are they to ensure you are doing something good and healthy for yourself at least a few times a week?  Are your goals to run in every local park?  Do you want to complete a 10K?  Or are you motivated by ensuring you squeeze out at least a few hours a week just for you?  Whatever your goals; make them yours, adjust them accordingly, and keep a running log to see your patterns.

What better day for a new start than National Running Day?  If the President has time…and Oprah had time…don’t you?

*Author unknown, but in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Muscles

Now that I’m offically a “writer,” people frequently ask me: “How do I become a better writer?”

My responses may vary some, but the key advice doesn’t change: “Write more and read more.”

I especially like to encourage people to expand beyond what they noramlly write to flex those brain muscles. Reaching beyond normal boundaries also provides writers a good break from their normal routines, and may just unearth hidden talents writers may not know lie beneath.

I took my own advice a few months back and participated in Writing.com’s 15 for 15 contest. Contestants respond to a writing prompt title and image, and write a story, prose, or  poetry in 15 minutes or less for 15 days in a row. I truly enjoyed the people I met virtually through the contest and found it to be an excellent exercise in ensuring I wrote — even just for 15 minutes a day — for over two weeks. I even placed a few days, and below was what the judges named the winning entry one day. I considered it a win that I hit all 15 days, and learned something in the process.

Writing Prompt

[Read more…]

Measuring Success

How do you measure success as a writer?

Novel Publicity posed this as one of its author Facebook page questions last week.  I’ve considered this question regularly, and need to come back to it when I get off track.  I SHOULD develop a writing mantra along the lines of “Success equals creating something meaningful.”  Okay, need to work on the mantra, but I think you get my point.

Forces must have realized I needed to think about it, as I came across Charlotte Carter’s blog entry, Win Vs. Compete.  Her final question:  “Where do you fit on the competitiveness scale?” I’m very proud of my military background and heritage.  However, spending 25-years in competitive organizations among extremely competitive people drove a competitive edge into me that I don’t think was there by nature.  And now, as a writer, it’s time to focus on what I want as part of the process and in the end, not what someone else has defined for me as success. [Read more…]

Fun First Events

Since the official release of Believing In Horses on March 21st, I discovered that book events are fun.  My clever and talented brother developed a talk show format for presentations in schools, “Books Alive with Reed Moore,” which gets kids participating and interested in the subject.  Reed Moore (also known as the Believing In Horses EdUCator) made the kids laugh, think, and unable to wait to ask questions.  Even those who appeared disinterested at first couldn’t help but be motivated by Reed Moore’s energy!  Tremendous audiences at Harmony Hills Elementary School, Silver Spring, MD, and Tracey’s Elementary School, Tracy’s Landing, MD, read aloud, played along with the activities, and asked thoughtful questions.  Parents and teachers groaned at some of the campy jokes, but something in common happened across the rooms no matter the age:  sparks.

Eddy Ormond and Valerie Ormond at Books Alive with Reed Moore

Eddy Ormond (left) and Valerie Ormond speak to students at Tracey’s Elementary School as part of the “Books Alive with Reed Moore” Tour.

Author Kathi Appelt, mentioned in my last blog, recommends writing like your fingers are “on fire.”  Author Valerie Sherwood encourages writing about what genuinely interests you so words “catch fire” with readers.  I’m sure if I searched, I’d find many other fiery writing quotes, but I think you get the point.  However, I discovered it is one thing to hear and read others’ advice, and quite another to see that sparkle in people’s eyes in person when a book comes alive.  [Read more…]

Just Add Magic

 

 

Just Add Magic

Abracadabra–it’s official:  I AM a writer.  I learned this, among other things, while attending my first all-day writing conference, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia Region Spring Conference.  Over 190 attendees included beginner and experienced writers, illustrators, editors, agents, and more.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to make some new acquaintances, including Cindy Callaghan, author of Just Add Magic, which seemed an appropriate image for this blog, for reasons you’ll understand if you read to the end (not fair, I know!).

Since I don’t think anyone wants to hear my play-by-play description of the conference, I’m going to report a short takeaway from each speaker I saw.  (Due to breakout sessions, I could not see/hear all speakers).  My highlights may not be the same as someone else’s, but that’s part of the beauty of conferences – the ability to listen for the messages applicable to you. [Read more…]

Believing In Reading

Senator Reilly, Read Across America

Senator Ed Reilly donating Believing In Horses for each elementary school in his district in honor of Read Across America Day

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr. Seuss (I Can Read with My Eyes Shut)

Today marked the 14th anniversary of Read Across America Day, and this year, I got to be part of the celebration!

Maryland State Senator Edward R. Reilly (R-District 33, Anne Arundel County), selected my novel, Believing In Horses, as his book donation for each of the 24 elementary schools in his district.  Senator Reilly invited me to the State House in Annapolis to deliver the books with him during the Maryland State Education Association’s celebration of Read Across America.

The National Education Association’s (NEA’s) Read Across America Day, which falls on or around Dr. Seuss’s birthday annually, is the nation’s largest reading event.  Senator Reilly and I will each be visiting schools to read and discuss Believing In Horses in a continuing celebration of Read Across America throughout the year. [Read more…]