Writing Where You Can See

Hello! How are you – won’t you tell me your name?

It’s springtime in Colorado, though for someone used to the growling weather in New England, it’s felt like spring for an awfully long time. The clouds roll in and high above us linger. Here, again unlike the east, the clouds seem so far away and, for all their attempts, appear thin. I swear I can feel the sun through them.

IMG_5404

Even the dark days seem bright.

Two weekends ago, driving back from a weekend in Fruita, we drove through sun, rain, snow, and rain again. Now that felt like home.

Do you remember (it feels so long ago) when I wrote down my resolutions post Wanderlust Fest? Once of them was to write where other people can see.

I’ve always been afraid of showing people what I write. But there’s this wonderful thing that happens when I’m busy or distracted. I write, I write well, I edit, and I publish without a moment’s thought to my inner critic because my coworkers have already gone over it to say, “Yes, yes. Change this, not that. Looks good. Hit send.”

In the course of these last five months, I’ve written a lot. I’ve conducted more interviews than I can probably count. Edited more articles than I can recall. And hit the publish button over and over again.

Here are just a few pieces I’m really proud of.

Interview with Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World.

Interview with Sarah Bowen Shea of Another Mother Runner.

What (and How) to Pack for the Backcountry.

Interview with Tim Robinson of Bentonville (and Walmart).

That last one?

That last one was actually pretty nuts. It was the first time I’d interviewed anyone since college, for one. For two, Tim Robinson was elected to the Bentonville, Arkansas city council. For three, he’s also a director for Walmart. He and I covered so much ground in that interview, me from my tiny desk after hours, him from his car overlooking the city. Far too much didn’t make it to the final piece.

We talked about bikes, you see. But what I was really fascinated was the look into Walmart that didn’t show an evil corporation, but instead showed the passionate, civic-minded people who really are trying.

I still hate Walmart. But.

I think that’s an important thing. Incredible things can be accomplished by people who try. 

On writing.

I’m not used to to talking about writing (or reading).

It seems I have a penchant for surrounding myself not with writers and readers, but biologists, programmers, and artists. They find poetry in the symmetry of shapes or the patterns of cellular structures… not the rhythms of syllables, the proper placement of punctuation, the languid arc of a captivating narrative. Even my friends who are writers, we never talk about writing. We talk philosophy, trading observations, puzzling over cracks in reason and in faith. (It seems we don’t even talk about the books we read. A simple, I enjoyed it, I didn’t, and why seems to suffice.)

As we speak, I’m working toward making writing a large part of my career. Making a business of it. Which means I’m being asked questions I never would have otherwise considered. “How do you deal with writer’s block? What is your writing process?”

With what? My what?

To help me answer these questions in some future interview or passing conversation, I’m going to write about them here. Sorry to interrupt the Slackerisms with something about hard work and ink-stained fingers, but not sorry. I’ll hide it all behind a cut, though I invite you to read on. (And let me know what you think of these questions in the comments – on your thoughts, your process, or whatever.)

Continue reading “On writing.”

Practice makes practice

I thought MySpace angles were supposed to be slimming.
Does this MySpace angle make my strings look fat?

The week before I set up this blog, a challenge was issued. Write a blog post every day.

I protested half-heartedly. “Every day? That’s ridiculous. I can’t come up with good content every day… And then to do a good job editing…!”

“It doesn’t have to be good writing!” was the retort.

Now, I’m keeping a blog. This blog. I don’t write in it every day… Because some days I chicken out. Some days I’m distracted or busy or I completely forget. But I’m remembering more often already. And growing more comfortable with the idea that I’m chatting away to myself where you can hear.

This is all good practice, and I realized that practice really takes practice. I wrote about it over here not to long ago, but I’m writing again to remind myself.

I’m impatient when it comes to matters of my being. I expect myself to do well the first time. To succeed immediately and move on to the next task. Sometimes, this approach is awesome. I get shit done. But, there’s something to be said for the slower approach. Imagine taking a bite of your favorite food (mine’s steak); do you close your eyes and savor the sensations? From your tongue and teeth to your nose… the fork heavy against your fingers…

Practice can be like that. It’s a way to be aware of the sensations… The peculiar way I hold my breath as a write, as if afraid of blowing the words off the screen on an exhale… How my voice seems to change if I write rough drafts on a computer versus paper, or even between types of pens.

It’s a really cool process, and reading other peoples’ resolutions only reminds me of my list of 25 things to do before I turn 26. I wish “practice” was on it.

Maybe that can be my New Years Resolution – to practice practice and to savor every bite.

What about you – what are you practicing right now/this week/this year?