June 8, 2012

That’s One Tough Mudder

I have a friend who is participating in the Tough Mudder on Saturday in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It advertises itself as “probably the toughest event on the planet.” All you have to do is watch the video on the website and you feel like running with the bulls.

Here’s what the website says:

Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $3 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

As I was running my measly 1.5 miles today (working my way back up to 3), the thought crossed my mind that training for and attending events like these are like writers going to the best and most challenging writing conferences.

Bear with me here (and quit rolling your eyes).

I’ve written before about how running is like writing. 

Writing conferences are competitive. You compete to get in, and also you compete for scholarships. You also feel a little competitive while you’re there because there are all these great writers doing all this great stuff. Just like the Tough Mudder.

You train. Oh, how you train. You write every day ~ or feel guity if you’re not. You read like your life depended on it. You obsess. You read your workshop manuscripts. You lose 10 pounds. You practice your presentation reading. You research the other participants. Just like you’d do hardcore training for Tough Mudder competitions.

But more than that, writing conferences are about being with others of your kind, of rubbing antennae with the other strange bugs. About finding your tribe. And what else the Tough Mudder but people coming together to find other people like themselves. Sure, they’re competitive too, but I bet more than anything they think of the others there as their kind and those who don’t compete as the nameless mob. Much like writers do at writing conferences.

So, as I sit here thinking about how crazy this friend of mine must be for wanting to do the Tough Mudder, I have to remember that many people think I’m just as crazy to want to write a novel. But crazy is good, I think. It means you’re passionate about something and you’re throwing your heart and soul into it. It means you’re living your life ~ with emphasis on both the living and on your life.

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