As an example:
"That's why I've never recommended running to others. If someone has an interest in long-distance running, he'll start running on his own. If he's not interested in it, no amount of persuasion will make any difference. Marathon running is not a sport for everyone, just as being a novelist isn't a job for everyone. Nobody ever recommended or even suggested that I be a novelist--in fact, some tried to stop me. I simply had the idea to be one, and that's what I did. People become runners because they're meant to." (Haruki Murakami, "The Running Novelist," The New Yorker, 6/9/08)
His essay made me think of the concept of mastery that I talked about last month. So much of moving forward and growing in skill level for whatever path we choose has to do with the showing up and practicing every day, even when it feels like a slog through a bunch of muck. As Murakami says, "The main thing was not the speed or the distance so much as running every day, without fail."
I'm not posting the link to the abstract on the New Yorker's site, because I don't think it does justice to the article. Go out and buy it, or go stand in a book store and read it for free. If you are interested in either writing or long-distance running, I recommend it.
Incidentally, there is also a movie review by Anthony Lane in the same issue of "Sex and the City" that had me practically crying with laughter. I have no intention of being bored silly by the movie, but the review was worth the price of the magazine. (However, you can also read it for free here.)
A final quote from Murakami's essay that I think might become my new motto:
"I felt that, even though I was past thirty, I and my body still had some possibilities left. The more I ran, the more my potential was revealed."