Sunday, October 19, 2014

Writing, Hosting, and Living….

Birthday Hike on Mt Zircon, October 12, 2014.
Click on photo to enlarge. 
Part of hosting "Foreigns," a.k.a., exchange students, forces me out of my day-to-day. For the past two years I've been pretty much been wading through the same routine every day: writing from 6:30am to noon, lunch, email, a hike or workout, reruns of The West Wing, more email, and bed. In time, that routine bogged me down. Not only did my writing feel bland, but life felt unbalanced. Add two teenagers to the mix ("Rich, I know you don't want us to fall in love while we're here, but is it OK to make-out with a girl?"), and life changes dramatically.

Lea Maurer

I'm finishing another Writing on the Bus companion book. The Swim Team Notebook is coauthored with Lea Maurer of Stanford University. What a privilege to work with Lea. She's down-to-earth, self deprecating, playful, and smart. An Olympic gold and bronze medalist--and a 1998 World Champion--Lea coached Stanford's swim team from 2005 - 2012; now, she's taking time off to raise her two boys. Currently, she volunteers with the men's water polo team at Stanford helping with stroke technique and conditioning.

Writing these team notebooks demands a level of organization and discipline; working with a variety of coauthors has been challenging in good ways. These extraordinary coaches are out of their elements as writers, but they love the idea of the team notebooks. Beyond their coaching expertise, these top professionals bring organizational skills, unique ideas, and a level of discipline and organization that effective writers have. My job has been to make the book project doable for each and to lead them through the book in small, manageable steps. It's been a lot like teaching.

For me, the writer, the team notebook projects don't push my writing skills or satisfy the writer I hope to be. I enjoy the projects and my coauthors, but I don't feel stretched.  Now, with two teenagers in the house for 8 more months replete with their laundry, dinners, school lunches, homework, love lives, sports, Blog, the time they need and deserve, the writer I am has to find balance. Does this mean I am right back to where I started without foreign teenagers? 

This balance needs to include a writing project that inspires. And that's where I sit today… thinking through the possibilities.