Though some readers may have the impression I only recently began writing, I’ve actually been at it for quite awhile. I started by writing about the niche topic of strength training all the way back in the 1990s. It was the one thing I knew the most about, so that’s the one on which I cut my teeth.
I wrote for two popular magazines. Anybody remember magazines? They were printed on this stuff called paper. We used to write on it. With pens and pencils. Ah never mind. The magazines I wrote for were called HARDGAINER andMILO, and I’m still proud of those articles. They contained some really great training instruction.
When HARDGAINER ceased publication in 2004, I stayed in touch with its intensely private publisher, Stuart McRobert, and hounded him for over a decade to grant me an interview. When he finally relented, we found enough material to author a book together in 2016. That book is called Inside the Mind of an Iron Icon, and writing it fulfilled one of my big life goals. I wish everyone would buy it and train with weights as it advises.
Strength training is the only thing I wrote about for a long time, but then my precious daughter, Ruby, died. My heart was broken and I needed an outlet, so I started grief blogging. My blog is called Roo-minations. Get it? Catchy, right?
I don’t even know where those words came from, but they’re some of my best. They reached a fair number of people too (27,000 and counting), and they gave me confidence that maybe I had something to say on some new topics.
Then I started writing essays. I just wrote about any subject that inspired me and sent my words off to see if anyone would publish them. To my surprise, a few websites did. I wrote about a conversation I had with a kid from Estonia I met on a bus in Honolulu. The kind folks at Elephant Journal thought that was an interesting exchange and published it. I wrote about how to be happy, even though I’m really grumpy. They liked that one too. I told people to say “I Love You” to people they love. They thought that was a good idea, and they published it.
I learned a whole lot from my daughter in just a few short years. I wrote an article on the lessons she taught me about how we can all be nicer to each other. They thought she was pretty smart, so they published that one, too. Over 7,500 people who agreed with them read it and made it one of my most successful. Thanks Roo for being so smart and making dad look good!
I wrote about homeless people and they published that. Not as many people read it, but they should. Even when some stuff wasn’t as widely read, I kept on writing because I love to write. Thought Catalog was gracious enough to run my ramblings on a strange dream I had about karma and a lost love and a disastrous job search and an all day search for my coffee creamer.
You get the idea. I found a voice, and I started using it to rant, to try to do some good, to make you laugh, and to make you cry. I love the feeling I get on those rare occasions when someone tells me my words had an effect. When I start taking writing too seriously, however, I remind myself that my most popular article to date is the humor piece I wrote about an Instagram influencer who lost her followers and then found her mojo again.
My latest writing venture is a children's picture book that's beautifully illustrated by Jacob Below. It’s called Will Little Roo Ever...?, and it’s about a little girl with developmental delays who’s struggling to catch up to her peers. It’s inspired by my daughter, but it’s not entirely her story. It’s my take on the emotional journey of every child and family who finds themselves in a similar situation. I hope the story empowers children and comforts parents.
Speaking of journeys, I hope you’ll join me on the journey of WHAT THE CHUCK?. I don’t know what words I’m going to tap out on my keyboard next, but I promise to keep tapping and hoping they move you.