One of my favorite features when you get a movie on DVD is watching the movie with voice overs from the directors, writers, actors etc. I feel that this is such a unique opportunity to learn how an artist puts together their work. As I was writing Adventures in Marathoning; The 2013 Ground Hog Day Marathon I had the idea that I also could do something unique like this; kind of a review of how and why I wrote what I did. Here it is!
When I started writing Dad’s Point of View I had no idea where it would lead me. Little did I expect that it would lead me to here and today. I think I could say the same thing for marathon running. Now as I near 40 two of the things that I believe most define me other than my roles as a father and husband are my web logging (blogging) of Dad’s Point of View and my running. I would also say that those 4 things; being a father, a husband, a writer and a runner have allowed me more personal growth and well being than any other 4 things I have ever been a part of in my entire life. That is the backdrop for my writing.
The original idea behind Dad’s Point of View was that at the very least I would have a kind of running account of the growing up of our son and family. My original and still intention was to do this for the first 13 years of his life. After that I have always suspected he would want his privacy back (probably long before that!) and also I would feel the need to also protect his privacy. For the first year I wrote diligently every day thinking I would be able to carry that mostly on for the duration but as I realize now as he ages there is less free time for everything for mom and dad. That original year (final copies at least) is lost to time as my service provider quit operating out of the blue and the original Dad’s Point of View database is I do not know where? Lesson learned on my part.
One of the lessons that marathoning has taught me is not to give up. Sometimes merely continuing to put one foot in front of the other is enough to finish the race. To be successful you merely need to start a challenge and then complete it. Often times there are difficulties but continuing on through, no matter how long it takes is what allows for completion. Losing our database was heartbreaking and difficult but despite having little technical education I started up again with another provider and with only little delay we were back up and running.
As opposite to that first year as can be our recent publishing history has been inconsistent, hence the Dad’s Point of View by-line “publishing randomly Monday to Sunday” a tiny inside joke about just when our next post might appear? In one of those classic twists of dramatic irony I never quite clue in when veteran parents offer advice, as in when I was told it only gets busier I blew it off in the same way I did when we were told to stock up on sleep when Jr was still a preborn. Even as I write this paragraph I have had to stop three times now as Jr has asked me to come to the next room to share a hug, come to visit me to climb on me and once more as he came to collect some loose change that sat at the corner of my desk. Right now as I attempt to concentrate he is talking loudly to me from the next room updating me on the rainy weather outside. He just came back one more time half running with safety scissors! to climb on my chair and tell me that he had cut the straw that he was using to drink his apple juice. That is my work environment. I couldn’t be luckier even if it makes things just a little bit trickier.
Again, he just came back to share my office chair. He is now behind me bouncing, grabbing at my shoulders and pushing on my back, as he screams “woo hoo, ee hee,” while he counts his new found wealth half in Spanish and half in English. Then he randomly kissed my cheek and climbed down. He is off again and I need to check on dinner!
You might be able to see now why writing Adventures in Marathoning; The 2013 Ground Hog Day Marathon parts 1 and 2 at nearly 7,000 words was a massive project for me to complete in one week. There is no going off to a quiet office space where I can work for a couple of hours or more. The reality is there is a busy three plus year always needing attention and then there is everything else.
Much in the same way that writing and publishing Dad’s Point of View might be more of a challenge than first views might appear so too is the marathoning. For the same reasons writing is a challenge training also has its complications. The fact is Jr is the priority and his time comes first. Also as my bride has traveled extensively for work over the past couple of years, free time when Jr is actually in the care of other responsible adults is rare. I can only train when he is in competent care. When my bride is travelling that basically means the mornings when he goes to his preschool. Some days this time is sucked up with tasks further up on the priority ladder. It is also time I could use to write. Really though when it is just the two of us it is my only free time and if I run regularly it gives me the motivation to be disciplined with everything else. If I make running a priority not only is my mental and physical health in a better place but I am much more efficient with everything else. It is a lifestyle circle that makes sense. It is not just the running benefits that are important but it is everything else that the running lines up in my life as well. Even if a little is not the amount I would like to get in to properly prepare myself to compete in marathons it is much better than zero, which is closer to what I become without the discipline that running affords me.
Lately the one thing that has taken to the back burner has been my writing but I keep publishing and producing as I can, adding to my portfolio. My life’s work will include something more with each piece I write, maybe it is a Dad’s Point of View article or maybe it is a poem for my wife or even a recipe. Each piece is a part of the legacy. That keeps me going. When it is all said and done I can say, “I did this, this and this,” instead of “????????”
There is one other thing that holds me back when writing something like “Adventures in Marathoning…
I am not particular about writing about myself. If there was once a time where I wanted to be and was THE GUY those times are mostly past for me. I will be and still can be and really have no problem playing that roll but my honest preference now is to take a back seat, being dad and husband before anything else. These are the most important roles I will ever play in this life and I am lucky and privileged to have gotten this part in the play. I would prefer to honor my good fortune by writing about dad, husband and family things than about my own adventures no matter how fun they may be. Sometimes it is a little tuff to put words to paper when you are always wondering, “Is this what I really should be doing?”
Still those adventures are a part of the tapestry of my life and recording them for posterity is important to completing the scene. Running marathons is also not something everyone has the opportunity to do and in documenting my perspective I feel that I can give the readers a little bit of an inside track on what it is like to experience such events. One of the most important things I have learned in life is that it is not the accolades or the number of accomplishments that you achieve but it is learning to appreciate the opportunity to achieve and accomplish that is important. It is not the trophy that makes the experience it is the journey and wisdom learned along the way. This really came to fruition for me when I ran what I will always consider my unofficial tenth marathon in New York City’s Central Park this fall “Anyways.” It was a virtuous experience done because I put in the work and the time and had the discipline and diligence to get it done. That will always be one of the most rewarding days of my life. My memories and triumph will be my medal of memory. That day taught me a lot.
When I write an article the size of Adventures in Marathoning it isn’t just the words to type that need be accomplished. This is a one man show and there is more to it than just writing my thoughts down. With limited time and resources sometimes the final product may suffer but the other option would be to not put anything out at all and that would be a folly of complete failure. It is better to have tried and not been perfect than to never have tried at all. I have two New Year’s resolutions this year;
- Drink more water
- Don’t be afraid
Fear of failure is the Achilles heel of many a would be success story. I would rather try and finish last than watch life pass me by. One of the harder things it seems that non-runners don’t get about what we do is that it is not where we finish or how fast or what status a race has to us it is the virtue of competing and doing what is hard that matters most. Sure we all keep track of things in our own way and have delusions of grandeur but it is important to remember just how difficult things of this nature are and that is what makes it worthwhile. Blogging is much the same way, yes there will be a low wattage light bulb at the end of the tunnel… eventually but for now the important thing is to stay challenged and to compete to learn and improve.
Like I said this is a one man show. That means I am the business lead, information technologies and support group, author, creative lead, editor, fact checker, photographer, biographer, advocate, advertising department, publisher, producer, human resources, complaints reconciliation and general Grand Pooh-Bah for every single thing Dad’s Point of View does. What generally suffers when I am pressed for time are not just the number of pieces that I can output but also the quality of those pieces and at times even their final editing. Here is how the process happens.
The author (me) has an idea. That idea get’s written in my notebook with the intent of turning it into an article at the first possible moment. As soon as I start putting thought to paper (which is now really using technology to twist brain patterns into data) Jr appears and does his best to make things challenging. If I work diligently after as few as 100 starts and stops I will have a piece that is ready to start the publishing process. It will be then proof read for grammar and spelling errors as well as for content quality (all also by me). To perfect a piece depending on how diligently I apply myself to it this might take 3-10 proof reads but lately I have time for one. Knowing that I will be sacrificing some quality I try to prioritize and in the least try to make sure that everything is readable, logically sound and all major spelling and grammar mistakes have been corrected. Then the article will be submitted to the publishing department (me). It will be transcribed for and then formatted for the Dad’s Point of View Publishing tool. Once this is done before publishing it will again need to be edited for content and correctness. This can take some time as it requires a page change every time a correction is made and the editor (me again!) must wait for changes to be inputted, uploaded and downloaded. This makes the quality of the first edit that much more important. For something the size that was Adventures in Marathoning; The 2013 Ground Hog Day Marathon this step will take at least an hour before the piece is near ready to be published. Of course the more that I write and publish the faster I become at all of this which makes consistency or lack thereof that much more important.
If there is artwork or photography to be added to an article this is the next step. The art department (me) will sort through relevant photographs and pick out the ones best suited to a piece. Next those pictures need to be uploaded to my portable publishing center (my laptop) where they will be edited for appearance and data size. After that they need to be catalogued before uploading to the Dad’s Point of View publishing tool (Word Press-thank-you!). There they need to be re -catalogued before being inserted into the appropriate point in a post where again they must be checked for position and content. Finally if all appears correct the article can be posted to the World Wide Web as a Dad’s Point of View Post. I would like to review each article a couple of more times before posting in this way but time restricts me from generally achieving more than one maybe two edits.
When an article has finally been published it will be proofread one more time in its published format. Sometimes in the different font or screen volume a new error might be picked up and it too will need to be corrected.
Once published a memo goes from publishing and production to advertising (me to me). Via social media we notify the public that a new post has been published. Hopefully soon after you are enjoying another “great” Dad’s Point of View posting.
Soon the whole process is begun anew before sleep comes to carry us away and pleasant dreams are had by all.
Peace and love all.
Daddio and company!
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