Living Big and Writing the Same Way
Last year at this time, if you read this blog, you knew all about Tough Mudder, because I ran it. For those who don’t know, Tough Mudder likes to bill itself as probably the toughest event on the planet. The people who run Tough Mudder have obviously never rooted for the Jets on a nationally telecast football game, but it’s still pretty tough.
Tough Mudder is an eight-to-twelve mile cross-country run with some obstacles built in. You know, little things like a dumpster filled to chest level with ice water, and a matrix of wires you run through–some of which are live. If you live in a place with mountains, you run up and down a ski area. Otherwise, you run through a huge amount of mud.
Unless something horrible happened, I completed this year’s Tough Mudder over the weekend. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. (Literally, you get a t-shirt and the best-tasting beer you’ve ever had when you cross the finish line.) If Ernest Hemingway were to run an extreme event, this might be it. Then again, he might just shoot someone and decide it was enough.
The point of this post isn’t to convince you to run Tough Mudder. It’s to convince you that as a writer, it’s part of the job requirement to suck the marrow out of your life. Experience it for all you’re worth, both good and bad. Then take those experiences and write about them.
As someone who has been excessively risk-averse through most of my adult life, I believe my writing has only blossomed since I stopped being so worried about what might happen. In taking more chances in life, I’ve also starting taking more chances in my writing. We’re not talking about running around with a metal pole in a thunderstorm. Or going to Texas wearing a t-shirt that says “Texas is for Sissies.”
We’re talking about being bold and challenging yourself, doing something uncomfortable, just so you can see how it turned out. Maybe it’s writing a different genre, a different point of view, or writing about something that’s close to your own areas of vulnerability.
It’s about living big and writing the same way.
In less than a month, it’s going to be time for the dreaded New Year’s Resolutions. That gives you a few weeks to really think about your writing life, and consider what you might challenge yourself to do in 2013 that will push you to the next level.
Get thinking, because there will be a test.