When I was a kid, I had dreams of writing an epic novel. It was mostly modeled after other beloved books I have read, but I did begin a story. One of my teachers in middle school took note, and she nominated my best friend and me to attend a young writer’s conference. I don’t remember much of the event, but I do remember where it was: Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. It was my first time on the historic campus, even though I lived in the next city.
I was a decent enough writer that in college, my English 101 professor awarded me the only A in his class that semester. I learned later that he used my research paper as one of 5 or so examples of the best work over his years of teaching. That’s a high honor in my book! He now lives on the Outer Banks, where my family vacations once a year, and I reached out to him during our last visit. Never in my college career did I imagine meeting up with one of my professors for a drink one day, but that’s what happened! We caught up over a nice glass of wine.
I’m by no means an expert writer. I’m simply a blogger. Anne the Vegan is not my first blog. It is the one I’ve kept going with the most success, however. I just realized one day that I had so much to say! I wanted a place to share about running, living vegan, new recipes, and overall wellness. This journey has led to being published in a real print format publication! And I’m now also the assistant editor of the same journal: Miles and Minutes, the quarterly magazine for the Richmond Road Runners Club. I’m having lots of fun learning from my editor and helping to shape new issues.
Writing is a process, but creating content on a regular basis has made this easier. Even if it’s not necessarily true that practice makes perfect, repetition does lend itself to a more efficient, less intimidating process. It has also helped me to provide some tactics to my own daughters as they work to meet multiple writing deadlines all at once when completing their own schoolwork.
I have a few ongoing series of topics that I like to cover. You might be familiar with my grocery tour series for vegans, vegan restaurant reviews, and race recaps. Those posts now have a kind of formula and are typically easy to produce. Sharing original vegan recipes are also regular posts. During marathon training season, I may produce articles related to topics my coaching group needs to teach our runners! These typically require a bit more work and research. Others, especially recently, are simply commentary on current events that I just can’t keep silent about.
Sometimes I have fleeting thoughts that need to rest somewhere. I can be doing the most mundane things, like grocery shopping, or exhausting, like going for a run, or trying to solve all the world’s problems during the witching hour in the middle of the night when insomnia strikes, and I’ll think of something seemingly profound. I love the notes app on my phone for this. I promise myself that I’ll remember that really profound statement that came to me out of nowhere, only to realize later that it has simply vanished from my brain. I used to carry notebooks with me. But now, these fleeting thoughts find a place on my phone. It’s a relief to have a place to keep these thoughts safe. My mind can be free to create new thoughts rather than ruminating; thoughts that often become the jump start of a new article or blog post.
Typically I begin the writing process with what I refer to as “word vomit.” I simply drop a bunch of thoughts on the screen. They may or may not be in paragraph form. Once all the thoughts are there, I may leave them for a bit and do something else. Then the editing begins. Sometimes it’s simply choosing better words to express my thoughts. Sometimes it’s taking pieces out to make my thoughts more concise. Sometimes it’s adding research to support my opinions.
Sometimes I look back on my past work and become hypercritical. It’s like any art. In the process, it looks great; upon completion, it may seem like some of your best work. But given time and distance from it, you look back and think… wow. This is really garbage. But is it really terrible? Or have I just grown? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Anyway, I hope that my blog has been a valuable source of information and a place to feel like we are not alone in this world. I sincerely appreciate the support from my readers. And I equally appreciate your patience as I have used this medium as an outlet for my own personal traumas and disgruntled feelings. You may have come here for the vegan and running content. If you have stayed despite my ramblings about current events, I thank you. And maybe one day, I’ll write something worthy of a major publication. That’s my goal!
Thanks for reading and for your support!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.