Friday, June 3, 2011

The Ultra Marathon by Janelle Mowery

Do you ever feel that being a writer is hard work? That’s because it is! But, wonderful rewards are there for those who keep pushing forward. Guest author Janelle Mowery is here today to share a few things she’s learned on her journey to publication and after. Read on … and don’t give up the race!

The  Ultra Marathon
by Janelle Mowery

The Badwater Ultra Marathon is a 135 mile race that starts at 282 feet below sea level in California’s Death Valley and ends at the elevation of 8360 feet at the trailhead to Mount Whitney. The race takes place in July when the temperature can soar to 130 degrees. Because of these extreme conditions, few runners are capable of finishing this race.

Each runner must arrange for their own support crew and vehicle. That support crew will provide the runner with anything he or she needs. This includes water, food, ice, gear, pacing, and first aid. The prize for such a formidable race? No money is awarded. Those completing the race in 48 hours receive a belt buckle. You read that right. The prize is a belt buckle.

Some of what each runner endures during the course of this race is, they need to run on the white line at the edge of the road or the rubber will melt from the soles of their shoes. They must also bring varying sizes of shoes to compensate for their swelling feet. Blisters will form. The support crew continually changes the wrapping on the runner’s feet, but by the end of the race, the wraps no longer help as blood oozes through the shoes.

The runner will go through cases of water, some for drinking and some to help cool the head and body, all the while fighting cramping, dehydration, and salt imbalance which will cause swelling in the extremities. The majority of the race is uphill, so the runner not only expends vast amounts of physical energy but emotional energy as well.

The support crew is not only responsible for the physical demands by providing food, water, and ice, but must also deal with the emotional demands by providing encouragement through conversations, cheering, and sometimes accompanying the runner.

Other discomforts experienced during the course of the race? Chafing, vomiting, hallucinations, and fatigue. And just when the runner thinks he’ll never make it to the end, the elusive finish line appears.

I only tell you about this race because it seems so much like what a writer endures to get, and stay, published. Okay, not to the physical extreme but let me point out a few of the similarities.

1.       The preparation and training to run the writer’s marathon demonstrates the deep commitment needed to complete the publishing race. Reading ‘how-to’ books and attending conferences are just two ways a writer can prepare and train for the race before them.

2.      A writer must also have a great support crew. It’s not just fellow writers who help and understand us who are needed but also family and friends who will encourage us through conversations, cheering, and accompanying us when the need arises.

3.      A writer must stay focused and determined. That little white line will keep us on the right track, keep our eyes on the goal. Many people say they want to write a book. Only the focused and determined will make it to publication.

Chafing? You bet. Every time a rejection letter arrives. Fatigue? Without a doubt. Anyone who receives enough rejection letters after all the days, weeks, months of working on a manuscript will fight fatigue during the uphill battle, maybe enough to drop you to your knees. Stay there just long enough to say another prayer. Then press on toward the goal. Your support group will be standing on the other side of the tape, cheering you on to the finish line.

If you have a story to tell, write it. Marathons are difficult but not impossible. Preparation is key to finishing. Fight the good fight and finish the course. You’ll get so much more than a belt buckle for your efforts in the writer’s ultra marathon. There’s an incredible satisfaction when you reach your goal.

JANELLE MOWERY lives in Texas with her husband and two sons, though a portion of her heart still resides in her birth state of Minnesota. Janelle began writing inspirational stories in 2001 and has since written several historical novels as well as a mystery series. Her first published novel, 'Where the Truth Lies', released in 2008. This was followed in 2010 by 'The Christmas Chain', part of a Christmas anthology titled, 'A Woodland Christmas'. Her second novel, 'Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho', released October 2010 and received four stars from the Romantic Times review. Janelle's Colorado trilogy releases in 2011. The first of this series, 'When All My Dreams Come True', also received four stars from the Romantic Times review. 'Where the Heart Is', part of another Christmas anthology titled, 'Christmas at Barncastle Inn', will release in September 2011. When she isn't writing, her interests include reading, enjoying nature, and visiting historical sites.

To learn more about Janelle and her books,