Sunday, November 23, 2014

Expert Advice: Writing about doing something awesome

Every now and then I think about the Ironman I did THREE AND A HALF YEARS AGO (can you believe it’s been so long??) and I inevitably get sucked back into reading my blog posts from that time. (The entirety of the race month, June 2011, is of course a particular favorite.) I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of reading about it. And I’m still not sure if I was more using writing to keep myself motivated to train or rather just training just so I’d have something cool to write about.

But the two fed into each other so beautifully that it’s put me in the mood to give you some Expert Advice on this one and only thing that I’m an Expert on:

Expert advice for doing something awesome: If you write about what you’re doing with a positive spin—or at least reframe a negative development into a hilarious anecdote or a lesson learned—you can use your writing to shape your reality. I found that the feelings that I wrote for myself became true, even if they sometimes started out a bit, um, loosely based on the truth. Lots of times my training was discouraging or mundane, and I just plain refused to write it up that way because I wanted to challenge myself with my blog, too, and my main goal there was to be entertaining. I learned as I went along that memory can be selective, and the parts you commit to writing are the parts your brain clings to. On top of that, the plans and intentions I wrote for myself also came true, so much so that it was occasionally downright eerie (like in the case of my pre-race “Fantasy Race Report,” which—I just checked—ended up being about 90 percent accurate).

Expert advice for writing: If you like to write, and you happen to be doing something really cool in your life, that material is G-O-L-D. Do not waste it! Write that puppy up, whether you intend to share it with the world or not. It is such a gift to write something that wants to be written—and I speak as someone who desperately wants to write regularly but has almost nothing of particular interest to write about anymore (which is just about the saddest thing I ever heard; note to self—fix it). As a bonus, afterward you will have the best souvenir ever.


  1. Just yesterday I was thinking about how you did an Ironman and how cool and amazing that is!

  2. Read your report -- had a good chuckle at "2,000 triathletes at front of race die in asteroid impact."

    My mother, bless her heart, asked me if I was going to try to win my second marathon, and didn't understand why I laughed and laughed.