Thursday, September 13, 2012

"World Famous" indeed!

A long time ago I looked into possibly making a living writing articles for magazines. Once I realized that almost nobody actually made a living writing articles for magazines, I chose to stick with my day job.

But I still liked the idea of getting printed in a glossy magazine - there'd be no fortune, but the fame and glory would be great.

Just after the Brazen Dirty Dozen event, Mr Brazen subtly poked me about possibly putting something together for Ultrarunning Magazine. Ultrarunning Magazine is unique in that the majority of its pages are filled with stories, pictures, and results provided by reasonably average people about some ultra race or other. I love the magazine and enjoy reading the articles about races - I especially love it when there is an article about a race I have some sort of connection to, whether running it, working at it, or knowing people who ran it.

And of course, the hugest thrill is seeing my name in print for finishing an ultra. (This does not happen very often though.)

The prospect of actually getting an article published easily dwarfed that huge thrill though.

So I sat down and tried to write something up. It generally takes me one to two hours to write up these race reports,* and I figured this would be about the same.

It wasn't.

It took me more than twice as long - I was more than a bit worried that my attempts at humor would go horribly wrong, that I would get some key fact wrong, or would violate so many basic grammar rules that I would get a return email with a link to some book on remedial writing.

But what REALLY took a long time was picking out the pictures - that was surprisingly hard. Do I play favorites and only send pictures of Mrs Notthat? Only pictures of and from people I know? Making it more challenging was that there were so many pictures to choose from. In the end I chose ten pictures (three were printed) that I thought showed off the various bits of the course the best, and made sure to include some with the Dirty Dozen winners.

Then I sent it all off and waited to hear. It took a bit (I was like a kid waiting for his propeller hat to arrive after he'd saved up a bunch of boxtops), but I finally got an email confirming they had received my email, followed a few days later by an email confirming the story would actually be published! I was thrilled, but still a bit hesitant to get too excited - I chose to wait until I had an issue in my hands before letting it go to my head.

And then it happened; while at work one day, I started getting emails from people congratulating me - the issue had hit the streets and the article was indeed in it!

When I got home, I unwrapped my copy (I love that they deliver their magazine in a plain white envelope - I don't need the neighbors knowing what I'm REALLY up to on those early Saturday mornings), opened it to The Article, and watched in horror as Mrs Notthat splashed pasta sauce on it. (Yes, the magazine was on the kitchen table at the time, and yes, Mrs Notthat was trying to eat dinner,  but I was just sure she wanted to read the article right away.)

A good question would be "So, how much of the article did they actually keep?" The answer would be 99% of it. They edited out one and a half sentences, changed a word or two, got rid of a few parenthesis (I tend to use a lot of them), and gave it a much better title than I had come up with. The magazine has a page with writing guidelines, and I followed them reasonably well, including how to refer to 5K and 10K distances (5 km and 10 km, respectively). Which they changed to 5K and 10K.

I'm hoping to get more chances to submit articles - now that I've been through the process and am a grizzled veteran, I had one of those thoughtful portraits taken that grace the inside of a book jacket.

I promised I would not let this go to my head.

Good thing I'm used to dealing with uphill struggles.

That's it - move along…

*The writing takes an hour or two. Sorting through the pictures (including putting a bunch up on Facebook with snarky comments as well) takes two to three hours sometimes. So the whole process takes maybe four to five hours. Including potty breaks.


Ivette said...

Congratulations on being published! I'm just now reading the article for the first time here. Those AC/DC covers were interesting. And the tri-tip was amazing. Glad you mentioned it. It's those added touches that make Brazen stand out in my mind.
Do you mind if I post your picture of the article on my facebook page?


Brazen Rabbit said...

Congrats again Allen! We all appreciate the time you put into your blog/reports and getting published is LONG overdue. Your writing has such great character!

Beth said...

Woo Hoo!!
Congrats Allen!!

mary ann said...

Fabulous, great job! You keep coming up with REAL news on your blog. You might consider a book...

DAK said...

You're doing well if they keep 75% of any submission. So, well done Professor That!

truc said...

Way to go Allen. Your writing and photo coverage lets me enjoy the races without having to actually run them. Keep up the good work.

notthatlucas said...

But Truc - we want you out there with us!