The Life We’ve Chosen

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I’m gonna take a tiny break from our mini-series about Villains to share a blog post from my friend Seth Godin.

Why? Because I think Seth has described in a few short lines the Writer’s Life (or any artist’s life) in a way that nails it like nothing I’ve ever seen. Seth’s blog, by the way, is my go-to. It’s the first one I read every morning. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Seth Godin. Nobody better.



The usual marathons, the popular ones, are done in a group.

They have a start time.

A finish line.

A way to qualify.

A route.

A crowd.

And a date announced a year in advance.

Mostly, they have excitement, energy and peer pressure.

The other kind of marathon is one that anyone can run, any day of the year. Put on your sneakers, run out the door and come back 26 miles later. These are rare.

It’s worth noting that much of what we do in creating a project, launching a business or developing a career is a lot closer to the second kind of marathon.

No wonder it’s so difficult.


This is our life, yours and mine. I would add only two thoughts:

One, the long-form writer’s life (whether she’s writing fiction, nonfiction, TV, movies, whatever) is not just one marathon … and not just a marathon without spectators or Gatorade along the roadside or a sponsor or a ribbon and a medal at the end.

It’s one marathon after another.

Finish one, start another.

It’s marathoning as a way of life. As life itself.

And two, for me anyway, I wouldn’t want to live any other way.

I thank heaven every day that I don’t have to go to a job or report to a boss or have anyone or anything telling me what I can and cannot do.

I love the marathoning life.

I love to start on one overwhelming (to me) killer project and see it through, no matter what it takes, to the end.

I love finishing one and starting the next.

Oh, there’s a third thing.

An interviewer asked me the other day if I ever got lonely writing. I answered immediately, “No.” (In other words, I don’t mind at all that there are no spectactors lining the race course, or lists of finishers in the newspaper, etc.)

I’m never lonely writing because I’m with my characters.

Who better to run a race with? Not against them but alongside them.

The solo marathon life is the life for me.

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