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 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.