Monday, August 4, 2008

To Write or Not: A Debate

I've been writing this blog for almost a year now, and in the past it has crossed my mind that perhaps I might want to tackle something a little larger in scale. I originally started a blog mainly for fun. I thought it would be a nice addition to my website, something I could update regularly and keep my friends and family in the loop of what was going on in my life. But then I started to find that plenty of people read this who do not know me at all; who don’t even know much about my sport even. And something keeps them interested. Either that or they lead really boring lives. So I began to think that perhaps there is a larger audience who could benefit from and appreciate hearing my story the way I know how to tell it. I’m not the 'opening up' type—never have been. People might get the impression that it’s easy for me to share and allow myself to be vulnerable when in fact the exact opposite is true. I am not like that AT ALL in person yet somehow I found a way to share my experience through words on a computer screen. At times it wasn’t easy but once I started I felt it was only fair to continue to be honest and give a complete as picture as possible. I have a horrible memory and if I were to go back and read the entries from this year, I want to be able to truly remember how it unfolded and the feelings associated with it all.

I am pretty confident that I did a good job with that task. However, when I think about writing something beyond my blog now, it doesn’t make as much sense. What I had envisioned was telling the story of an Olympian. Being able to take people through the journey, through the process both mentally and physically that I’ve been through to reach my goal. Because the goal wasn’t met, I just don’t think it has the same appeal. It’s not that I don’t have a story to tell, because at the end of the day I think we all have a compelling and interesting story, but in a realistic sense a story about someone who tried to make an Olympic team is just not as appealing to the masses as someone who actually did. I’m also not as jazzed to even try and tell that particular story because who actually feels like writing a love song immediately after they have had their heart broken?

But I am still wondering if perhaps I could come up with an engaging narrative that people would appreciate and find value in. Maybe it would be something totally different than what I thought I might write about. In the traditional sense, I am not a writer. I read plenty of blogs, articles, etc. on a daily basis that blow my way with words out of the water. That’s ok with me because I don’t need to be chosen for Oprah’s Book Club. I just want to see if perhaps I have a story to tell that people want to hear, in a way that hasn’t been told before…or at least in a better way. That is why I am coming to you all with an interest in your perspective. I know why most of my close friends and family read – they are forced to and are afraid of the repercussions if they fall too far behind and I surprise them with a pop quiz. But for the rest of you, I can only speculate. Plenty of people have told me that I should write something. But writing more than a couple of paragraphs is something I know nothing about. Where would I start? What would I say? Why should I say it?

So even though this can’t truly be an objective debate because you have already chosen to visit my blog, probably on more than one occasion, I wonder if you think there is a particular story you think I’d be adept at telling. Of course I can simply write for my own sake and there is nothing wrong with that, but I’m just trying to get a feel for what it is about me that other people find interesting. I figure there is no better audience to ask than you because you already know how I write and what I like to write about. Some of it is random, silly stuff and some of it is truly personal and close to my heart but I wonder if any of it has a place outside of this blog. And who knows, maybe the relevance comes later. I just finished Barack Obama’s books and I’m sure they’ve seen a significant spike in the past year.

If you have an opinion one way or the other, please don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments. I have also created a poll up in the right hand corner. I am not against constructive criticism. I specifically made the post “A Debate” because I have not come to the conclusion that I should expand my writing outside this domain and I am definitely not sure that right now is the time I could tell any story that is worth telling. Maybe I should re-visit this idea at a later time when I know that it will mean something to a wider audience. Or maybe I really could find direction for my words--a story that works because I am the one telling it. What say you?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brianna,

I believe that you should keep writing your blog even if you just write about how you are feeling that day.I personally enjoy reading your blogs because I feel like you are being real and open with people. It is normal to get discouraged when you don't reach your goals, but this time can be used to reflect and go back to the drawing board and see what you can do differently. I think your friends, family and supporters will be happy to take that journey with you, so don't leave them hanging.

p.s. maybe you could reread coach d's response to your love affair blog for some inspiration

First and foremost you must love the game b/c if you didn't and you were just in it for a gold medal, when oppositions come you'de quit.
But those who love the game are in it for the long haul

Anonymous said...

if you write a book, do it for yourself. your life isn't that terribly exciting that it would make good book material. people with lives more interesting than yours have published failures.

sure, you could write and publish a book, but the publishing costs would come out of your pocket. so really its your choice whether its worth you paying for a publisher.

it would be cheaper to just print out all of the pages from your blog and staple them together.

anonymousnupe said...

LOL, at "print out all the pages from your blog and staple them together." I was going to come at this from a similar angle, but on a more serious note. I was going to point out that Tony Kornheiser published a book that was comprised completely of columns that he had written for the Washington Post! So, there's that.

Also, a few other notes:

1. I think the story of an "almost Olympian" could be quite riveting, as well. And it's not one story that makes a book; it's all the different facets--your upbringing, your romances, your accordion and ballet lessons, the time you beat up the 8th grade bully, your "first time," your relationship with God, how it changed you when your homey was killed in a drive-by--it's all of the ancillary material that gets wrapped around the thread about your quest to become a gold medalist that will make the book a page turner.

2. I think you asked why we read you, right? For me it's because I'm a sports/track enthusiast with a daughter who runs. I try to find anything I can to inspire her (or for her to use to inspire herself). Your blog is pretty clean, except for some commenters who use profane language every now and then, so this is a safe place I can send her for inspiration, knowledge, and to sharpen her awareness of how very difficult it is out there. She needs to know--and to make a decision--how much sacrifice she'll make if this is truly her passion. I tell her, "So what Bri didn't make it to the Olympics! Look at how far she did make it!!" Taylor wants a track scholarship (and I want her to get one, graduate with honors, and then marry Stephen Curry...but that's just me), and I think you've provided a prime example of how to make that happen.

3. If I were you I would take one of those short courses offered in most metropolitan areas on how to organize and get started writing a book. Then, later, as you're into the writing, I'd take one on how to get published. Lots of times these courses are offered for free.

4. Oh, there's no point four. I've taken up enough of your space. Write on?! Oh, one more thing with regard to the survey: Who's to say you can't "Stick with the Blog" and still write the book, literary genius or not?

Christy said...

Okay, so I'm too lazy to read the previous posts, so I apologize upfront if I write something that has already been written. But here’s my opinion:

I think writing “your story” would be great. I think you could be an inspiration to others. I think you can provide a special inside to your journey and one that others will be attempting to travel. I also think it could be good for you. I know for myself writing can be very healing (and I don’t even do it for others to read). So you never know what you can discover during the process.

You already stated that don’t need to be part of “Oprah’s book club” – so then you’re at the right place where you just want to do it and see what happens. If you have great success, all the better.

That’s my two cents.

Dana said...

I must admit...I'm a little confused....are you saying you want an overall theme for your blog? Or to write a book?

As far as what interests me about you, I think it's just that I'm naturally drawn to people that express themselves honestly. People who aren't afraid to be who they are and make no apologies for whatever mistakes, blessings, wants, desires, etc. that show up in their life...and who are courageous enough to talk about it. I don't necessarily feel that you have to have a purpose or overall topic to talk about in order to write,,,just write from your heart. Maybe it has a different theme for you on different days! Who knows outside of Brianna??? =)

Erin Michell said...

i say keep blogging, why not? As your world and dreams evolve so will your blog because it is YOURS. IT should continue to be about whatever comes to mind, whatever you may feel, or whatever you feel compelled to share.

Brianna said...

I think my post is a little confusing...

For right now I will continue to blog, even though I know it doesn't have the same direction and focus as it did before. I will just reevaluate if I feel like I really don't have as much to say on a continuous basis. I was moreso asking about beyond the blog...

t.v. said...

"write Bri, write...." ;)

I'm going to show my true nature here and be rather selfish.
Blog... Just blog about everything and anything.
Write... Write a book about having a dream, and falling short. Write about the joys and pains of being a top class athlete. Write about the times that you felt like quitting but didn't. Write about the people that inspired and stood by you through it all. Write about your spiritual journey through. Just write... Pleaseeee *grinning*

That mind of yours is like a nuclear bomb waiting to explode. Let it... :) You have a way with words, that makes people want to read what you write. Only you can go for an oil change, blog about it and have people cracking up.

You're a natural, and I think that it doesn't matter what you write about, because people are going to read it.

Like you always say. This blog is about you... your life... your family and your friends...
So lady, tell us about your adventures.

Anonymous said...

see- you can't even write a clear blog post, much less a book.

YoungWTCoach said...

I don't have anything deep to say, actually stumbled on your blog via trackshark about a week ago, and it sparked my interest, not because I'm a loser with no life lol, but I'm a young high school track coach, ran track in high school and a little in college (nothing spectacular though), and I love track and its great to see others that do as well, and its great to see people who have accomplished a good bit opening up in a sense and allow the "everyday" person, so to speak, a chance to sample their lives...and on another note, in regards to telling your story, I don't know many, if any, people blogging or writing about NOT accomplishing their dreams and goals...theres plenty of literature out there on those kinds of people. I think your story will remain compelling to say the least because it discusses the life of someone who came so close, came so far, and just missed the mark...and honestly, although not many can relate to getting that close, most people can relate to not making it all the way, despite how hard they try. We run the race to win, but in track and field, theres only one winner. And dozens of losers, and hundreds and thousands who didn't even make the entries, and those are the masses of people that i think would be interested in your story...hopefully that made sense.

Brianna said...

hey anonymous...way to be constructive. still wondering why you bother.

and yes...it does make sense:)

YoungWTCoach said...

Well okay good...and I bother because its interesting and informative. Earlier today I skimmed thru a few of your earlier posts about long jump. I know nothing about long jump but have quite a few talented long jumpers on my squad. Reading your blog informed me of a little of the terminology used in the jumping realm...I'm positive your blog, writing etc, is benefiting way more people than you will be aware of. 95% of them won't leave a comment but they are reading.

Wayne said...

Although I'm not convinced your career is over, you've still got some 22'+ in you), I find your blogs interesting because they touch upon the psychological aspects of striving for something you want so badly.

As a former athlete who had dreams of Olympic Glory (good in H.S. and even ran in the Big Ten...many moons ago :-D, I still feel the ache of wanting to compete and wondering if there was something I could have done different to fulfill my dreams. And get this, I was no where near the elite level that you're at! It's a testament to your writing that I can STILL relate to you as you fly down the track or conversely, feel crushed when you didn't do as well as you'd like!

Great writing is about making connections with people...where it's possible that they can see a glimpse of themselves in you! Keep writing and keep striving!

Jewells said...

I say write what feels good to your fingertips. We've all enjoyed your words thus far and will continue to do so.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

unfortunatelly i appreciate reding period and what u share is valuable as all and i can learn
i was taught id u wnat to hide something from a person (reall nigga) put it n a book, thus why i read as i do and write as i do

Kiemie said...

Let it (whatever it is) happen organically. Blogging is now somwhat easy for you. I say continue. Take your readers on the ride with you as we are all nosy and you are forthcoming. lol. And if you do decide to branch off, where do you feel like going. Fiction? Character development was the death of me! A Carrie-Bradshaw-esque Column? Well, We'd need to see/hear more from the other areas of your life. You ready to divulge? Blogging has no boundaries or limitations. you are not confined to any particular form. And the possibilities are endless for good bloggers like yourself. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I find your dilemma very interesting. I'm in Houston and I saw your Polo fashion ad for the olympics. I remembered when you competed for Arizona and looked to see if you made the team. I truly understand how you feel in many aspects of life. I ran both hurdles and the relay at Texas A&M and was very fortunate to make it to the atlanta and sydney games. I was very blessed b/c i ran for panama and we did not have trials, I just needed to run the A standard time. I know how it feels to train for something you love knowing that your competitors are using performance inhancers which will keep you from ever being in the top five in the world. Track holds alot of ugly truths that people outside don't know about. I understand how hard it is to watch your friends you graduated with begin there careers and get establised, while you train for years missing work experience you need for the future. We are athletes that don't sign million dollar contracts, but we are more athletic than the ones that do. But we do it b/c we love the sport, competition, and we want to push our bodies naturally to see how good we can be. I have read some of your postings and I feel just as you were blessed to run and jump, you were blessed to write. If you choose to take on the task, I think your experience as a track athlete striving to be successful in a drug dominated sport would make an interesting story. You can tie it to relate to how other athletes have a hard time finding other avenues to be successful in after the sport is done. By no means am I saying you are done, you are still young, but just ideas you can write about. Take care and I wish you much success. CY

Anonymous said...

You want honest opinions so...

you need to mead more of a life before you cnsider writing a book! You re grasping for direction right now and writing about the recent past will just keep you stuck there.
Your story could be told by many thousands of us. I see nothing that makes you particularly unique.

Go out into the real world and struggle and be bored and make sacrifices (and as an athlete now in the real world i know that sacrifics for sport are nothing to compared to those one makes for children, elderly parents, a job). THEN when you have truly lived a full well rounded life maybe you can write about it.

Best of luck-the transition to the real world isn't easy but it can also be full of its own rewards.
I wouldn't trade my children and all that they have brought me for any trip to the Olympics. YES having them both would have been nice!!

Brianna said...

Umm...do you read?

Do you think people only write books after they have lived a complete life and experienced everything there is to experience? And please tell me how your story is like mine...because I'd like to know. I am not knocking your life with your children and your career, but obviously that is not my experience right now, nor what I would even be interested in writing about. But for many young athletes, for many people interested in the sacrifice and struggle in the world of athletics, then yes, I do know about that. RIGHT NOW. Listen, I have nothing against honest opinions but you didn't read my post closely it seems. I am not trying to write anything about the full life I have experienced...I write about my experiences. Just like what you read here.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brianna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi baby,

Hope you are doing well and enjoying apple pies and ice cold lattes. I know how much you love them apple pies.

"TV" above got it right. Write about your journey. Your feelings. Your thoughts. Hell, half of it is already written. Print each of your blogs and then make a chapter from some, ditch others, expand on most. Walla, you have your book right in front of you.

Title----"the journey of Brianna Glenn"

Subtitle---- "almost Olympian"

However, lets give credit where credit is due please! Who was the first one to tell you to write in your next gig? Me! Thank you!

I will expect a mention and a thank you in the preface of the book.

Hugs and kisses,
Medoblado

evs24 said...

Bri

If you want to keep writing your blogs, you should. Write about whatever comes to mind, your writing is intriguing and insightful in many aspects. I'm sure many of us readers connect with you in different ways.

For me it started when I read your blog "The Single Life." Initially I was a little grossed out by the shaving or lack thereof, but I was laughing the rest of the way. By the end of it, my "singleness" didn't seem as bad as yours, so thanks for making me feel better! I am also a huge T&F fan with my parents both being coaches and dragging me to meets since I was 5. I miss the aspect of competition in my life and it is nice to be able to read about yours even when there are trials and tribulations. Thanks for being real.

Keep writing!