Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Real Triathletes Don't Wear Socks

I was a rower in college. It is hard to find a group of people who *think* they are tougher than rowers. And who go out of their way to prove it.

That mindset makes normally sane people do crazy things.

Case and point: During spring break in college, as a favor, I coxed* a boat of burly guys. When they lifted the crew scull out of the water and up over their heads, a heavy wooden seat fell out of the boat, clunked me on the head, and dropped into the slimy lake water. My first reaction (of course) was to jump into the water and dive down to rescue the seat.

I was bleeding from my head. See? Dumbass. Stuff.

Every sport seems to have that crazy kind of badge of honor. Right now, I'm training for a sprint triathlon, and a trainer told me that "real triathletes don't wear socks." We all laughed, because we understood it. It's that weird, in-the-know thing for that particular sport. Of course real triathletes don't wear socks. Have you ever gotten out of the water, sprinted to your sneakers and bike, and stopped to try to put socks on your sandy, wet feet? It would kill your transition. :)

Writers are no different.

We all have those ways to explain to the outside world (or to ourselves) how tough writing is, and how hardcore we actually are, as writers. 

Real writers write 50k in November. (Oh, we're off to a controversial start!)
Real writers kill their darlings. (Painful!)
Real writers wallpaper their office with their rejection letters. (Beautiful decor.)
Real writers measure how long it takes to write a book in years, not days. (Sigh.)
Real writers aren't afraid to put their work out there. (Bigger sigh.)

Real writers meet blog friends irl, no matter how introverted they might pretend to be. :)
Kristen, Sarah, Madison, Matt, and Kelly
Anna, her better half Ray (my 8-yr-old's new best friend) and Chelsey
Real writers insist on taking pictures outside for better lighting. :)

And, real writers poke giant lizards in the eye.
Kristen and Matt
Real writers have an endless number of weird faces to fall back on for fan photos.

Anna. 'Nuff said.

Real writers know how to have a good time. :)
Me, Anna, Kristen, Madi, Matt, Sarah, and Chelsey
Matt, Anna (looking remarkably serious), Chelsey, and Madison
I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet Matt and some of his family (loved talking with Kelly and their daughter Madison who are all kinds of awesome), as well as some local writers--Kristen, Chelsey, Sarah and Anna.

Aren't those great pics? Don't you feel like you were there?

Anyway--what's your writing badge of honor? What's your equivalent to not wearing socks?

*Coxswains are people whose job is to yell. They yell all sorts of motivating stuff at rowers to make them row until they puke and their hands bleed. And coxswains steer the boat. I never learned how to steer. It was a bit of a bummer for everyone involved.


  1. <3<3 this post, Heather!!! I guess I must be a real writer, because have definitely wallpapered my room with rejections. Also, omg, I'd make the worst tri-athlete. I HAVE TO WEAR SOCKS. And sand in my shoes? Not gonna happen.

    However, I can dance my l'il heart out with a shoulder injury and blisters on my feet. :)

  2. Haha, I should be embarrassed by that photo of me, but let's be honest: I make weird faces all the time. And seriously Heather, if you can wear sneakers without socks then you are one tough cookie!

  3. Great pictures and looks like a lot of fun! :)

    Real writers realize you don't have to follow the rules after years of struggling to follow them.

  4. Oh, wow! Were you at the writer's meeting in Boston! I'm so envious!!

    As for the "real writers" rules, the only thing that bothers me is how many people whole-heartedly believe in them.

  5. So, real triathletes would rather run with trapped sand constantly rubbing away at their skin?

    Hmmm. Perhaps I'm not cut out for being a triathlete.

  6. Marisa--We have to go dancing some time! That would be SO MUCH FUN!

    Anna--I love your weird faces. I don't think they detract at all from your beauty. :) And, it's very possible that the title of this post should be "Real Triathletes Wear Blisters." Or maybe that's another post. :)

    Laura--I love your badge of writerly wisdom. I agree. Learn the rules, and then know when to break 'em. :)

    Dianne--It wasn't an official get together--Matt was coming into town, and some of his biggest fans got the pleasure of meeting him. :) And, yes--I hope that everyone knows that there are no real rules about how to be a writer! (Except, maybe one rule about mutual respect...)

    Tom--I'm going to think of it as natural exfoliation. I think that will make it feel better. :)

  7. Your photos are way better than mine! I may have to steal some of these.

    It was so awesome to meet you. Thanks so much for coming.

  8. real writers keep writing. Oh not all the time of course. I mean there's struff out there to see and do and cookies to eat and races to run and homes to decorate and LOTS of books to read and dates... people do still date, don't they? But in between everything else? Writers write.

  9. Matt--I loved meeting you guys! Thanks for being the reason we got together! Steal away. :)

    Pen and Ink--I love your comment. Love. It. So true. It might be the one true thing about real writers. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  10. fun post! thanks for the reminder - i played rugby in college, and we had a similar tradition of stupidity, like trying to get back into a game after a concussion.

    now, if i can only use that tenacity to overcome my fear of submitting my manuscript...

  11. I AM a real writer because I poked a lizard in the eye--with all of you guys watching.
    Loved the "better lighting" comment :)

    I got your info about the meeting(s) and I am so grateful to know about it. I will follow up on that asap.

    Also--regarding the socks--I think it's important to mention that real triathletes not only don't wear socks, but they bike several miles without them, then they RUN more miles without them. Right? You don't put them on after the biking, do you?

  12. Gina--Rugby players are so hardcore. That is a beast of a sport! And I so wish that real writers did not have to sub... :)

    Kristen--You ARE a real writer. The poke proves it. :) Yes, evidently real triathletes bike and run many miles, all without socks.

  13. I've seen that post as a video. Very inspiring and realistic take on the writing process. All we can do is keep writing and sometimes we're harder on ourselves than we need to be and sometimes we need to be harder!

  14. Cheap prom dresses--I definitely thought you were spam, by your name and link. But if you are spam, then I want more! Thanks for the intuitive and kind blog comments. Thanks for stopping by. :)