Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Struggling to write

As I said in the last post, I am just back from a week hillwalking in the Highlands.  I've been spending some time writing up the week's walks on my other blog - Cairn in the Mist - where I record my walks and more.
Looking to Skye

The other thing going on is the articles that I am writing for TGO magazine - a UK backpacking and hillwalking magazine.  The series is called Hillfit and I am trying to apply the sort of paleo / evolutionary fitness stuff that we talk about here to a more mainstream audience.  It is quite a struggle to translate these ideas into something that actually reads well as a stand alone introductory article.  I know that there is something overarching, a meta narrative (effectively the primal blueprint), but I am not sure that this is coming across in the articles.

The first one was an introduction to the philosophy.  The second - yet to be published  - was on interval training, mentioning Gibala's research and explaning how to keep going uphill without getting out of breath you need to build a body that burns fat more efficiently.

The next one it about the benefits of strength - when you are stonger you can do the same things with less effort and so your Cardiovascular system doesn't need to work as hard to supply the oxygen to the muscles.

What is a real struggle is writing to a strict word count.  I have 500 words for a theme and then 150 to descibe the movement of the month - an exercise, mobility piece or stretch.  It is a real skill to get ideas across in a limited amout of words yet still to retain a "voice", a personal style.  At the moment I feel like I have lost the voice and I am coming across as journalistic and factual.  As I edit down to the word limit I find myself stripping off all the adjectives that add life and personality.

Och well.  Shouldn't complain  - it is actually a real privelege to be getting paid to write about fascinating things.


Asclepius said...

Remember K.I.S.S!

There are plenty of avenues ripe for exploration. The whole question of 'metabolic flexibilty' (see the post on Gnolls for a great article on this), footwear and minimalist alternatives, strength training, posture (and undoing the problems caused by sitting). The psychological benefits of outdoor activity (and other themes of mind-health). You have all the stuff here on your blog!

Might be worth writing a 'free for all' piece and then retrospectively dividing it up. You can then edit the parts in to stand alone pieces.

Chris said...

Cheers. I will be looking at all that stuff in future months. I have a lot of material to cover: gait, pace, posture, sitiing, etc What is hard is to do it in a style that I can be proud of

Chris G said...

Welcome back Chris.

It is a pity about the word count. Ideally I would think 1400-1500 words would be required to cover the subjects in a way that gets your point across.

Have you thought of pointing TGO readers towards some of the articles posted here? Maybe on another specific Hillfit blog eg "Readers wishing to know more can find more info at" and you could post the research, links and exercise demos etc. I know its even more stuff to do on top of your working week and hobbies, training etc but at least its a way of providing more depth.

I agree with Asclepius, there is lots to explore in these articles, how about a hillfit daily dozen (mobility/balance etc), a Hillfit packed lunch for a day out, walking poles and their pros and cons eg I think there is a good case for them actually reducing your sense of balance rather than helping it. Anyway dont be too self critical Chris,it is a change to see ideas such as yours in a mainstream publication.

Chris said...

Cheers Chris - as I said I think it is the style tha I am struggling with, trying to write in a way that is accessible but also individual. I would like to be more radical and more paleo but that may come.

I agree about poles - I am no fan. I think they mess up your gait and disturb the proprioceptive feedback.