All of our fantastic and dedicated bloggers here at Run Oregon are volunteers. We are not professional runners, nor are we professional writers. We just love to be active and are motivated enough to actually feel like writing about it in our free time – crazy right? If you have followed us for any time, you probably have noticed we all have our own style. And beyond that, we also have our different ways of getting “in the zone” for blogging. We have pulled the curtain back a little to let you in on how we do it here at Run Oregon. Also, stay tuned for a jam-packed day tomorrow where you learn a ton about our great Run Oregon bloggers!
Annette: How do I blog? First, I make a quick trip to Starbucks. Once I have my favorite drink, a Chai Tea latte, in hand I am ready to head home. I power up my PC with its big ol’ screen – perfect for blogging – in my “home office.” Before starting my article, I log in to Sirius XM and choose my favorite station: BPM, an electronic dance music station. For me, this is perfect background music for blogging. I mean, who doesn’t like a little dancing in the office chair while typing? Then I get my blog on. Typically, I spend way too much time on any one article because, as a former middle school English teacher, I have a fear of publishing with spelling and grammar errors. So once I’ve gone through a good 5-10 edits (maybe more on a really crazy day), I finally let my article go and hope that it is well-read and error free!
Brian: Life is pretty busy for me, and writing is a fun way to unwind. Whether working on a recap, or the latest in the Fast Guy series, stringing some words together in the hopes that someone may find it useful or entertaining is fulfilling. Uninterrupted time is always nice, but not necessarily likely in a house with three little girls and a wife also needing my attention. Some pieces can even take multiple days to complete. The most comfortable place to be is on my love seat in the living room, with some dance music playing to keep me happy. This generally happens in the evenings after everyone has settled down, or on my days off when I am home alone. The hard part can be focusing, as I have the piece I am currently working on in the forefront of my mind, but with the double distractions of Facebook and the newest must-read car articles, it sometimes takes a little longer than it probably should. As this is a leisure activity, that can’t be a bad thing, right?
Marilyn: It’s what I call “B&B” time. It’s that time of day when I get myself in the mood for some Beer and Blogging. usually after work/workout on weekdays, or late afternoon on the weekends.
My workstation is a corner of my studio condo. There’s a simple Ikea desk, a rolling chair, and a floor lamp. The chair usually has one of my many jackets thrown over the back (this time it’s a fuchsia New Balance running jacket), and sometimes parts of a costume that I wore at the last race (today it’s my snow princess tank top from the Winter Wonderland of Lights). My desk always has stuff on it. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see a roll of kinesio tape (pink RockTape), various beauty products that I’m testing for my blog, some nail polish (several colors, most of them with glitter), my Garmin, my dSLR, leftover race paraphernalia (Vancouver USA Marathon postcards, and my bib and medal from the Holiday Half).
Before I get to blogging, I have to get myself into the blogging mindset. I’m somewhat easily distracted, so I try to eliminate as many things as possible that might get me off track. First, I throw on some comfy workout shorts or leggings, a tank top or hoodie, and put my hair up in a ponytail. It’s comfy and not fussy (meaning, I won’t be picking at my split ends, or thinking about how my skinny jeans don’t fit). Then, I pour myself a pint of beer (probably either in a souvenir race pint glass, such as the one pictured which is from Gorgeous Relay, or in a souvenir beer festival pint glass). I make sure to wait to blog until after I’ve eaten a nice big meal so I don’t wander into the kitchen, spend half an hour trying to decide what to eat. I open the fridge and stare, close it, open the cupboards and stare, close them, open the freezer and stare, close it…
Then I turn on some music (one of my Pandora or Spotify playlists), make sure it’s not too loud, and paint my nails. Because when they’re drying, I can’t really do anything else, except type and drink beer, so at this point, I’m ready to do some blogging!
Joe: Most of my best blogging ideas come on the run itself, sometimes on training runs, but most often during the races I’m planning to recap. It’s hard for me to come up with a good recap without some kind of “hook” that raises it above the mundane. And whenever possible, I like to include some humor. I want a post to amuse me at least, and ideally the Run Oregon readers too. So when I come up with a humorous observation or anecdote mid-run, I file it away in some recess of my oxygen-deprived brain and hope it doesn’t disappear into the ether before I can write it down post-race. A perfect example was my report on A Very Poplar Run. With a race named like that, the recap practically wrote itself. All I had to do was remember all the tree-related puns that pop(lar)ed into my head during the race. As soon as I crossed the finish line, before I even hit the post-race refreshments, my first priority was to make a bee-line to my car, grab my pen and notebook, and scribble down all the puns that seemed so hilarious at the time. Back home with my laptop, I committed my notes to WordPress, and hoped the jokes were no less than 75% as funny as they seemed while running. That’s how I blog!
Tung: It’s not hard for me to get in the mood to write blog posts for Run Oregon, because it’s an outlet to go on and on about running where I don’t have to worry about boring non-runners with yet another thought about, say, the relative benefit of threshold runs versus interval repetitions. As for when and where I do my writing, I’m fortunate to have a lot of flexibility in my job duty schedule, so it’s generally whenever inspiration strikes. Except that inspiration tends to strike in the least opportune moments, like during a long run, or just as I’m falling asleep.
Matt: Being the primary administrator on the blog the past few years has meant that my time spent on Run Oregon goes well beyond writing posts. I am answering emails, talking to race directors, scheduling posts, and updating the myriad of logging tools we have all while trying to juggle a full-time job, family, and life. It’s quite the undertaking – but I love it.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still contribute other posts to the site as well. Due to our small-ish house, I am set up in our dining room table most evenings, with Rdio on, and a glass of local cider or beer close by. The kids are in bed (or periodically coming out with a silly excuse as to why they “can’t sleep”. Even then I am continually multitasking with Facebook, WordPress, Gmail, and Google Calendar all open and moving back and forth until I get everything taken care of. Somehow I get it down and somehow I stay sane (for the time being)!
Kelly: I have a two year old and I’m pregnant. I also work full time, am on the ORRC board, RD for the Hagg Lake Ultras, and am managing editor for The Oregon Distance Runner magazine. So I blog when I can find the time, and just get as much done as I can. Fortunately, I have all these other bloggers picking up the slack …
Jessica: I love to race. I love to write. I love to share in the simple joy of running. How do I do it? Well, I just write with passion and heart. If it comes out of my mouth, it goes through my fingers, to the keyboard, and onto the screen of my (yes, you guessed it) simple and elegant MacBook Air. I do most of my writing on the weekends, or during my lunch break at work. I like to write in silence, or listening to Active Child. Maybe have some water, in my Apple water bottle, with a dollop of lemon (that is pretty complicated sounding; where is the simplicity, Jessica?) I’m simple, running is simple, writing is simple … speaking and writing from the heart is simple.
Robin: If there is a pattern to my creative outlet, it isn’t soothing music to get the mental gears going or even a steamy cup of joe. Nope. Most of the time I sneak some computer time in when the kids (and cats) are napping. Though this will probably mean the cats had to be woken up and relocated, as my laptop is a favorite nap spot for them. Next, insert a fun and relevant photo that ties my subject together (preferably one I have taken myself) and write a fun and hopefully entertaining and informative piece!
I like the solitude and need quiet for my writing. If I can skate through with few disruptions in my writing process, I am able to stay “in my head” in a meditative process (similar to the meditative state I find while running) and keep “my voice” consistent in the story I hope to tell. Otherwise, the more interruptions that come up, the more disjointed I feel in my thoughts and suspect will also be reflected in my writing. I’m not as “connected” with my piece. Maybe this is why I run most of the time without music? I “need” the quiet?