Running Fiesta

Writing and running in Austin, TX.

That Time I Went to A Writing Workshop

If you were judging by the activity on this blog, you would probably assume I haven’t written a word in 6 months.

And you would be wrong! Ha!

I’ve written, like, FOUR things, at least.

First, there were a couple shoe reviews I did for Rogue (here and here). But then I found out that people didn’t think they were very good, and my fragile writer’s ego went on strike (cried in a corner, whatever).

So then I thought about coming back to blogging…until a few people made jokes about my possible tendency to overshare.  That corner was looking better and better.

And THEN I got an email congratulating me on my enrollment in the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Workshop. Needless to say, I had  completely forgotten about ending up on the wait list for the previous workshop about, oh…9 months ago.

Austin's so intellectual, even our dogs read.

Austin’s so intellectual, even our dogs read.

Well, I thought, surely no one I actually know would be nerdy enough to take classes at the public library. (Except my mother, but she lives in another city.)

A room full of complete strangers? Who I would likely never have to see again? Well…why not? In fact, I could pretend I’d never been any sort of writer other than the technical variety. I seriously doubted anyone would go look up my out-of-date API documentation.

(Note to the wise: You will find a LOT of technical writers lurking in free creative writing workshops.)

That was it. I had a plan. I would go to this workshop, learn how to write all the stuff that had always scared me – respectable stuff like poetry, prose, characters other than myself… – and pretend I’d never heard of “blogging” about “running”.

You can probably guess where this is going.

Below is the piece I ended up publishing in our end-of-class chapbook. It was based on the very first exercise we did on the very first day: write your own job description.

No promises that this means anything about the revival of the blog, but I hope you all can join me in appreciating the irony of my very first published-on-actual-paper piece of work.

How to Make a Living as a Neurotic Runner

by Chris MacLeod

Immediate Opening: Running Coach/Retail Sales Associate in Austin, TX.

Do you have a strong desire to help naturally slow land animals become slightly faster naturally slow land animals? Are you willing to “follow your passion” (make no money whatsoever)? Austin’s largest and most dynamic running community is seeking an equally dynamic individual to fill an immediate opening for a running coach/retail sales associate!


The right candidate will complete the following tasks on a regular basis:

  • Run 60 miles a week, and love it.
  • Lift 50 pounds unassisted. Of shoeboxes. (High tolerance of paper-cuts a plus.)
  • Engage in daily battles with ancient software that mocks you openly.
  • Explain that just because a shoe doesn’t come in your favorite color, that doesn’t mean we don’t value you as a customer.
  • Refrain from smacking 22-year-old coworkers who can’t imagine being old…like 27.
  • Act as a part-time therapist, with no professional training.
  • Obsess. O-B-S-S-E-S-S? O-B-B-S-E-S-S? (Fold the shirts. Over and over and over.)

Preferred Qualifications

Extra consideration will be given to candidates with the following additional qualities/skills:

  • Ability to live in a constant state of anxiety, yet hide it extremely well.
  • Tendency to overshare.
  • Deep-seated fear of children/willingness to risk bodily injury to protect integrity of product displays.
  • Expert ability to avoid your mother’s phone calls. Or your friend’s. Or anyone else who might try to call when on the clock.
  • Ability to accept that you’ll never lose that last 10 pounds.
  • Willingness to embrace the ridiculous, especially in yourself.

Author Bio: After earning degrees in English and Spanish Literature from the University of Texas, Chris spent eight years as a technical writer in the world of computing software. Following her “third-life crisis”, she switched directions entirely and is now the assistant retail manager and marketing director for Rogue Running in Cedar Park. Every so often, se posts random thoughts to her blog: She lives in Austin with her husband and his nemesis, a 9-year-old terrier mix named Sadie.


4 comments on “That Time I Went to A Writing Workshop

  1. Mike Attas
    May 25, 2014

    I needed this cheery post right now, while packing gear into a car that’s already full for a 3-day road trip. Thanks, Chris!

  2. Jackie Sturton
    May 25, 2014

    Great to see your excellent prose is in print. Your wry humour makes me smile.Thanks, Chris!

  3. amejohnston
    May 25, 2014

    Great post. Glad to see you blogging. I loved your piece in the chapbook. I look forward to reading more from you soon. Keep it up! 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Slowest Girl on the Floor | Running Fiesta

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This entry was posted on May 25, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , .
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