Last updated: 02-Mar-16
Dane was the winner of RunUltra’s Best Blogger Award 2016 as voted by the public. A very worthy winner as Dane very much walks the walk as well as talking the talk. He has done this guest blog for us which looks at the art of blogging and the art of keeping that mojo high.
By Dane Rauschenberg
I recently wrote this about winning the RunUltra Best Blogger award.
“My blog is not filled with beautiful epic pictures of me running. I don’t have recipes or cutesy little clickbait listicles. I try to encourage others but never pander. Often, I am trying to make people think about issues that they don’t normally think about and I am rather opinionated. All of this doesn’t necessarily lend itself to “most read” or “best received.”
I was asked to expand upon this and a few other things which I am happy to do. When asked how do I build an audience, my answer to that is the same as to the questions about how one gets a book published, a movie made about one of their exploits, or breaking into the speaking world: there must be an easier way to do it than I have.
That is not a flippant answer. I am 100% convinced that I haven’t the foggiest idea how to write or appeal to the masses. I don’t have tens of thousands of twitter followers, virtually no one cares if I post on Instagram, and time after time I see applause lauded upon those who have not only not accomplished much, they often haven’t even finished the things upon which they receive the applause for. For me, I have just been persistent, perhaps annoying, and continued to bash my head against the walls until they fall down. Fortunately, now that I have a modicum of success it helps me along, but it is hardly guaranteed.
The way I feel I have built an audience is by simply writing from the heart. I see a story about something, I listen to all the reactions on it, and that is usually when my thought process begins. When Lance Armstrong won a trail race, it was the reaction to Lance winning the trail race (not him actually winning) that was what intrigued me. Why so many people didn’t care if he was racing or not was what made me think more than whether he should be allowed.
My writing is not for anyone in particular; in fact, it is mostly for me. It is for me to sort through thoughts and have opinions out there to look back at a year of ten years later. I have no problem changing my opinions if facts have presented themselves to me in a way I didn’t see before. Learning to adapt is the biggest part of being a runner.
There are a few other runners out there who share their feelings who I really admire. Not coincidentally, they are often not the most followed or retweeted. They don’t post ridiculously vague statements of encouragement. Instead, they try to make people think, and they are being honest with what it is like to be a runner. Namely, running is hard at least 90% of the time. The remainder of that 10% is a mixture of decent, good, and in a very small percentage, great.
Consistency is key. Not just in running but in life. Perhaps people won’t like what you have to say but if you are consistent in how you say it and how you view the world, you can at least know it is not because you are waffling on your views. With running, making sure your running is consistent helps you through those rough patches. I had my worst year of racing ever in 2014. Virtually nothing went right. I know I have to allow a certain amount of leeway for my racing considering I try to dabble in as many different styles and distances as possible. Throw in the work I do in the running world around an event (which is hardly ideal for racing) and allowances must be made for most races not being run even remotely close to peak. But 2014 was different. Virtually everything went bad. Yet because I knew I was consistent with my training and running, eventually things would turn around. Sure enough, the end of 2014 showed signs of life, 2015 was a pretty solid year and barring a broken hand the day after Christmas, 2016 is looking fairly good.
You must simply trust in your process in order to get out of a rut. And, if after a long time, the rut continues, perhaps it is time to change the process. Shock the system. But always keep in mind how fortunate you are to even be stuck in a rut. There are plenty of people for whom a rut would be fantastic. A rut would mean they had something good to look back on fondly. The next time things are not going well, the best thing to do is to remember that it is highly likely that the bad times are temporary.
For me, balancing writing and running is a breeze. I love writing. I love running. The tough part is making sure I can pay the bills while still doing both. I have been able to carve out a nice little niche that includes my writing, my speaking, my appearances and a variety of other tasks in which the totality of them means I can cobble enough to make rent. Could I monetize what I do in a better way? I am almost certain that I could. But by not filling my webpage with “ambassadorships” for every company out there, I can sleep well at night knowing that every opinion I espouse is my own, and is free to change.
It is not the best existence in the world, but right now I would be hard pressed to think of a better one. Well, if I had hit that 1.5 billion Powerball, that might be a different story.
For more from Dane click here.