Miscelleneous Miscellany Monday: My Writing Process, People Are Awesome, How Real Men Bake
1. I wanted to start things off this week with a pretty cool email I received a while back:
Tony – You are a busy guy and I respect that, but I decided to shoot you at least one e-mail ’cause you inspire me as a trainer, writer, and a person in general.
I wanted to ask you: How do you write? This is such a difficult and broad question for you, but could you tell me a bit about your writing process. What I’m inspired by is that a) you have a lot of material, b) you have lots of funny stuff in your articles. How could I improve my articles in those areas? More fun and more material.
First off, THANK YOU for such kind words. I’ve stated it before, and I bears repeating….it’s somewhat surreal for me at times that my writing reaches so many people and that there are a handful out there who don’t think I suck. I sincerely appreciate the support, and it’s my hope that I only get better.
With all the sappy stuff out of the way: This is a topic I’ve elaborated on in the past, but as far my own writing process is concerned here are some basic truths:
- I don’t really consider myself a “writer” in every sense of the word. Sure, I spend a large portion of my free time writing and I do get paid to write, but it’s still something I have yet to accept. Vonnegut was a writer. Hemingway was a writer. Me? Not so much. I’m just some dude who lifts heavy things, tells other people to lift heavy things, and has an uncanny ability to throw two coherent sentences together in a somewhat amusing, entertaining, and intelligent fashion. Poop!
- It’s definitely NOT easy for me. While I’ve gotten a lot better over the years, and have seen a definite growth in my writing style, it’s no cake walk for me. For some, writing is a seamless activity – like writing a check or clipping their finger nails – and the prose they write comes across as easy and fluid. For me, however, writing is about as easy as giving an elephant a bath. I fuss over every word and sentence, and sometimes it takes me hours just to write one page. That is, of course, assuming I can think of anything to write in the first place.
- I just try to be myself. Being myself completely changes the dynamic of the writing process for me. Being myself allows me to write in a way that comes across as if I were sitting across the table from someone just shooting the breeze. Because of this, I think my writing resonates with a lot people and I’m able to get my message across more effectively. I think where a lot of “writers” fail is that they try too hard to be someone (or something) they’re not, and their writing comes across as such – stiff and robotic.
- Invest in yourself. It wasn’t until maybe two years ago that I came to the realization that writing was a viable source of income for me, and something that I really enjoyed doing. To that end, I signed up for a Creative Non-Fiction writing class this past winter which allowed me to explore the writing process with other writers. And can I just say how relieved I was to know that there were others out there who struggled just as much as me.
- As well, I began to purchase books on writing. On Writing Well is a book that helped me a lot, as did It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences. But the grand-daddy of them all, the book that really knocked my socks off, kicked me in the mouth, and really opened up my eyes was Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Get it, and thank me later.
- In the end, you just need to write. The only way you’re going to get better at writing is by, well, writing. Poop jokes optional.
2. Just wanted to give a shout-out (WHOOT WHOOT) to two of my online distance coaching clients, Conor and Brandon.
Conor: Joined the 300 bench press club this past weekend. Crushed it in fact.
Brandon: set a new squat PR (375 lbs) this past weekend in his powerlifting meet.
To both gentlemen, I offer you a WHOOT WHOOT and a “This is Sparta kick……….”
3. A sign that people are awesome: I came home Friday to a frantic girlfriend. I walk in the door and she immediately says, “something bad happened.” At first I thought maybe she heard they were making another Sex in the City movie. They’re not…..WHEW.
Anyways, she explained that she somehow lost the rent check and had no idea where it went. Between the time she left the apartment to run some errands and when she reached in her pocket to deliver the check, it disappeared.
We thought maybe she dropped it on the sidewalk or accidentally put it in the mailbox along with the other mail. Either way, on my way out to walk to the bank to cancel the check, I see an envelop with my name (and address) on the cover in the entrance way to our building. In it was the rent check with a note that said “found this on the sidewalk on Beacon St. Be well – Sue”
Whoever Sue is……THANK YOU!!!
4. For those looking for something to pass the time during your long commutes to and from work (or you just need to quench your nerd fix for the day), check out On Target’s Movement Lectures, which a partnership between Gray Cook, Lee Burton (the founders of the Functional Movement Screen), and Laree Draper.
As of right now, they’re offering 44 audio lectures (with typeset transcripts) from some of the brightest minds in the industry, and the list is going to be growing monthly. I’ve already listened to a handful, and have had my mind thoroughly blown.
5. Look for a new t-nation.com article from me shortly. I just submitted one late last week, and while I can’t say I’ll be Ben Bruno’esque with my writing frequency (the guy is a freakin machine), I will say that with the facility a bit quieter for the next few months, I should have the opportunity to get a lot more writing done in the foreseeable future.
6. It’s no secret I’m a heavy advocate for eating whole, REAL, foods. The less processed the better if you ask me. Still, there are numerous people (and nutritionist for that matter) who, despite knowing better, like to push off things like 100 calorie snack packs as viable “healthy” options.
Taking it a step further, when it comes to Western medicine, while not always the case, you’re more apt to find doctors pushing the latest pills rather than educating their patients.
For those still not convinced that food can be a powerful healer, check out THIS latest post over on Mike Reinold’s blog titled Food as Medicine. Awesome stuff.
7. And lastly, this was a picture my brother-in-law sent me that made me split out my omelet this morning.