Saturday again?

Time again for a weekly blog update? Occasionally I wonder if I'm going to become another one of those dinosaur bloggers who quietly fade to black (or that one post from six years ago that stays at the top of the page forever and ever. They always begin with: "Wow, so I haven't blogged in a while." And that's how it ends.) Most of the outdoor and cycling bloggers I used to follow back in the day now only update their sites infrequently if at all. I used to write in this space nearly every day; now it's closer to once a week. The blog is a dying medium, and I mourn that fact as much as anyone (As much as I use social media sites, they're all really just blogs with fewer choices in worse formats. I genuinely despise Instagram.) Still, it's admittedly become more difficult to maintain momentum, perhaps because of waning interest from readers, and departures of friends. Why must I love only outmoded communication mediums? (Oh, newspapers. I will stay loyal forever.)

I am finally getting to a point where I'm mostly done and satisfied with my latest book project (I have not yet written the final chapter. I like to wait until I've cut through all the previous chapters so I can try to wrap up the loose ends.) As usual, I'm unsure what I should do with this book. Should I move toward publishing? Should I pitch the manuscript to publishers? From a financial standpoint, I actually think self-publishing is the way to go. Traditional publishing advances have become almost laughably small, and the digital marketplace works best with fewer middlemen. Over the past few years, my books have brought in a small but steady income that multiplies with each book I release, because the older books' sales have stayed consistent. If I just had like ten or twelve of these out, rather than four, I might no longer need to work on spec or on contracts for newspapers. (Just kidding, newspapers. I love you, newspapers.) At the same time, I'd like to branch out to a different and possibly wider readership, and I think this project has that potential. But query letters — for anything — can seem like such a waste of time. Time that could be spent writing. (I should have finished so many more books by now. But I really do agonize over these projects. I'm not quite capable of just cranking them out.)

On the Jill Outside front: My resolve to ride Snoots throughout the month of February prompted me to discover a few new backyard trails. I routinely ride my road bike during the week, but didn't want to slog out my usual pavement routes on the fat bike. Instead I headed to Fremont Older, which is a small open space preserve only 2.5 miles from my building. Despite its proximity to home, I usually just pass by here en route to other places, and in four years I'd never even visited the southern half of the park. As it turns out this was an unforgivable oversight — Fremont Older offers a tight little network of swoopy singletrack, rolling hills, and lovely overlooks. There are also some quad-busting climbs. The access trail gains 550 feet in one mile, and I plan to return at least once a week to ride hill repeats on that segment. After all, the purpose of riding Snoots in California is to build better big-bike strength. Churning through loose gravel up steep hills is the best I can do to mimic difficult snow conditions in Alaska. However, it's tough to pass up everything else Fremont Older has to offer — contouring grassy hillsides and gawking at the Santa Clara Valley bathed in evening light.

Recently, discovered that I'm higher on the White Mountains 100 wait list than I expected to be. I'm second on the list and there are twelve runners, which means that if I show up in Fairbanks in late March, I have a reasonable (but not certain) chance of landing a spot in the race. I'm almost embarrassed to admit how excited I became upon learning this. If I had to make Vegas odds, I'd place the chance of honing in on a no-show at about 20 percent. And it involves planning travel to Fairbanks (although this trip would be fairly easy to make as an extra leg between Nome and Anchorage.) So ... it's a long shot. Still, my reaction was, "Oh, I need to start training!" And suddenly, I had invented a valid excuse to embark on weekend long runs. Yay!

Between Sunday and Friday I managed 40 miles this week, starting with a great 18-mile loop along redwood-shaded singletrack above Woodside with Beat and Steve. Beat and I embarked on another superb run together on Thursday — 10 miles to the 2,800-foot summit of Black Mountain and back amid 40 mph gusts. A Pineapple Express storm was barreling toward the Bay Area, and we were plowing directly into a wall of wind. I ran a fairly easy pace and managed to keep up with Beat until the final steep pitch, and logged my fastest time yet (1:56 — first under two hours) for the round trip.

On Friday the storm rained down with a vengeance and I ran seven miles in precipitation falling at at rate of 0.5 inches per hour. I was so drenched that my baggy running shorts rode up above my underwear line and would not go back down, and I had to wring out some things before I could walk back into the building. I can't say I want to go back to having this kind of weather be a part of my life most of the time (cough, Juneau) ... but I sure do miss it. And every Californian knows we need it.

Beat and I signed up for the Golden Gate 50K on Sunday, which is expected to see a combination of this heavy drenching rain and high winds (two inches of rain and 60 mph gusts are both in the forecast for the coastal mountains north of San Francisco.) I am also inexplicably excited about the prospect of a long muddy slog amid all this interesting weather. Being drenched in 55 degree weather with that kind of windchill is sure to provide a tricky gear challenge. I might even need to pack a hat and gloves.

Some people train so they can race. I'm the kind of person who races so I can train. I realize that I could "train" as much as I want without needing an end goal. But I maintain that the end goal is the best part. It keeps a sort of narrative playing in the background — a promise of great adventure that lies just beyond the end of this 5.6-mile Tuesday loop that you really don't feel like doing this week. But if the promise of adventure is out there, you can feel yourself running toward it, relishing the sweet spring flavors in the air, feeling the soft mud give under your feet, and scheming an intriguing 50K route for Valentine's weekend. Because, training.

Even if the White Mountains 100 doesn't pan out, I'm already pretty stoked on February. 

Comments

  1. Anonymous3:40 AM

    long time reader, first time comment.my name is Steve. I have been reading your blog since almost the beginning and I find it a wonderful source of inspiration, knowledge and stoke.this is not the first time you have written about fading to black.please don't do it.Your style flows very nicely. Your race, training and adventure reports are just wonderful to read and I would hate to lose that. Your writing is taking me to places I will never see and I really enjoy your insights and info on these places. A true inspiration. So selfishly I say, please keep up the good work and I look forward to your next entry. Thanks again for sharing your adventure of life.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Regarding self-publishing, I think you're right on the money.
    DIY is the way to go much as it is in music these days. Used to be, in the 70's/80's, you got your band together, wrote songs, put a stage show together and hoped to get noticed by some label rep or in a "showcase". Then head off to the studio where a label would front the hideous costs of making a record/CD, and then throw you into further debt in a distribution deal.
    These days, you can buy all the equipment you need and do it in a small room in your house. There are no record stores, really.
    Same with print publishing. You can be your own everything (except perhaps printer) and thusly you control everything including the profits.
    Ultimately it comes down how niche you want your audience to be. And how good you are at the hype game. Sounds like fun though!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous6:49 AM

    I think it a fair assessment to say that blogs aren't as popular as they used to be for many. But those of us who read them would hate to see them go. Sadly, facebook has created a voyeuristic limited attention span for any type of reading and well commenting....that just requires work. And many people have gotten lazy.

    But like you say, you love newspapers. And that's how blogs are for your fans. Please don't stop writing. We love your adventures.

    If it makes it easier to self publish, I bet all your lurker readers would even prepay for the next installment of your book. A "kickstarter" so to speak.
    I can't wait for it to be published. I am so buying a copy on my kindle.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Jill! I still read your blog faithfully and am always stoked for new entries, especially when I compare Jill Outside to other blogs- none compare. Thanks for always providing inspiration!
    still,
    katie

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Jill! I still read your blog faithfully and am always stoked for new entries, especially when I compare Jill Outside to other blogs- none compare. Thanks for always providing inspiration!
    still,
    katie

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel like blogs are still big, but commenting has gone down now that most people read blogs on their phones (commenting is a pain in the ass on phones, at least for me). Please don't fade away! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Jill! I jave been reading uour blog for many many years now and have read all your books. You inspire me to bike and get outside. Dont stop blogging even if your posts are only once a week! Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hope that you do keep this blog going. I rarely comment but I've been reading it for many years. I enjoy your lyrical descriptions of your adventures. Due to your blog, I know about what books you've published (and I buy them!). I do hope that you keep it going.

    Long ago, you answered an email from me and helped me to decide to get a fat bike. I'm now on my second fat bike, and I'm a die hard snow rider. Thanks!

    I'm looking forward to hearing about your upcoming Alaska adventures!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh please keep going, I get a real buzz from reading your blog. Both that it is inspiring and terrifying at the same time. You do push a lot of us on to just looking around the corner to see what beautiful landscapes my lie there. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Emily8:46 PM

    I am also a longtime reader of your blog, and cannot tell you how much I love it. I love hearing about the amazing adventures you have, and your writing is always beautiful. I hope you keep blogging for a long long time... I love the adventures!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. To echo what everyone else has said, I really enjoy your blog - writing, photos, inspiration, you've got the works. Also, once a week is a totally respectable posting schedule, I think!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Keith8:30 AM

    Jill, another first time commenter, really enjoy your blog. Sitting at my desk under florescent lights from sun up to sun down I am quite envious of what you get to/ can do. This blog lets me daydream, helps me get out for a midday run and motivates me to sign up for another race. Your work is much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Please keep blogging! I've been a long time reader and am always amazed at your pictures, descriptions, and the casual way you attack the incredible, absurd, and mind-blowing.

    ReplyDelete
  14. My blog is pretty much in a coma but I will probably blog about White Mountains if I am able to do it. I hope we can both do it since I haven't seen you in awhile.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I hope you do keep blogging and writing, I have recently discovered your site and books and I enjoy them greatly; the continual cycle of training and work can leave us fatigued and weary, a rest or just take it easy for a while, some times it takes a step back to take a step forward.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I totally get the "race so I can train" thing. And if you gave up on the blog, where would you hold your pictures and memories until you get around to putting them into a new book for us to buy? :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Jill,
    Now that you don't need any advice on your love life or career path, I don't comment as often (jk, kinda). But I still enjoy your blog as much as ever! It is thoroughly ingrained in my web browsing habits (7+ years). Thank you for blogging with such consistency and quality. Please don't stop. I hope we grow old together (virtually speaking of course).

    ReplyDelete
  18. I too am a long-time reader who rarely comments, but I'm here every day to see whether you've posted (and buy your books). So please don't leave us! You have inspired me to get outside no matter what the weather. And if you need someone to proofread your new project, I am an editor of 20+ years :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:42 PM

      Hello Jill, I look forward to reading your blog if only once a week. Your adventures fuel me. I am amazed at your sense of adventure and truly enjoy your writing style and those photos . . . wow! the photos. Please never stop blogging. You inspire us.

      Delete
  19. Thanks everyone. I promise I wasn't trolling for comments in the first paragraph. It's just that I do feel like my blog enthusiasm and thus quality has declined in the past few months, and thought I should bring it up with a somewhat forced "weekly update" post rather than lapse into radio silence. It wasn't meant to be a prelude to a goodbye, as much as a lament on the decline of blog authorship in general. (But look, I got Danni to revive her blog from its coma. Yay!)

    AucillaSinks — it is strange to think back on how much things change in seven+ years. I do enjoy your comments, and take the advice to heart. Thanks for sticking around!

    I do appreciate hearing from all of you. The dialogue is one of the things I miss about the golden age of blogging. Thanks again. :)

    Tonya — please send me an e-mail at jillhomer (at) gmail regarding your proofreading rates and availability. I'd be interested in working with you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jill - I am late to the party, but I do still come and read your blog. I like to check in from time to time to see what you are up to as you seem to live the life many of us aspire to. I totally get the "race to train" idea. I have frequently answered the "Why would you want to do that?" question with "If I didn't have a race ahead of me that scares me a little bit, I'd never get off the couch".
    Blog on (mine would probably also would be on life support, but for the need to share photos of my toddler with distant family).

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm not a waning reader by any means. I have thought this about my blog as well, but somehow I keep doing it (and one on my author website). I guess as long as my mom reads it, it's all right to keep doing it. Regarding publishing, I went the trad route, I guess I need affirmation. I won't make any money, though. It is definitely something to consider for the future.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think it's great that you found success in traditional publishing, and am looking forward to reading your books when they are released. I appreciate your efforts to keep your blog updated as well. It also is one of my favorites.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Please don't stop blogging. Even what you perceive as failures are inspirational to me.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Thyroiditis

Another crash

My night on the PCT