Writing Boot Camp

Written by: Dr. Michael Mulick, DO

This is a post that I forced myself to write at the end of a long day.  It was inspired by one of my heroes, David Goggins who says “Do things you hate to do.  Be uncomfortable every f**** day of your life.”

I want to write.  But I don’t know what–maybe a blog, a book, or a few articles.  Maybe all of it.  I’m not really sure.  But I’m jumping in.  I got hit hard with the biggest wakeup call a guy could ever ask for and I was inspired to take action after my wife gave birth to our son.  We had some close calls and it became very obvious to me that life is very short and fragile.  It can all be over in a second.  I’m not a pessimist and not trying to scare anybody.  Most likely and hopefully we all live long and healthy lives.  But…there is a small chance that you or I or that coworker that you might not get along with may not be here tomorrow.  I think I just became numb to these truths.

Writing boot camp doesn’t look like this but it sometimes feels like this.

I took a good look at my life and realized I was making some major mistakes.  Life has been wonderful but I know that I am missing something.  I think maybe it’s something to do with my job and my purpose in life.  I started meditating and practicing gratitude on a daily basis.  I did a TED talk binge.  I made videos for YouTube.  I started playing my guitar again.  Sometimes I even do push ups in the morning for no other reason except that I heard it was a good way to start the day.

I really went on a journey.  I spent time learning about myself with the help of a website called Live Your Legend, that was started by the late Scott Dinsmore.  I absolutely loved Scott’s TED talk.  He was so passionate and I really felt like my life was made better by listening to his words.  I was very sorry to hear he was killed while climbing Kilimanjaro.  His wife Chelsea continues to run their dream business and I occasionally stop by and see what’s new.  Recently I discovered their 7 day writing challenge and I wanted to try it.  So this is day 1: Start a Blog.  I’ve already done that–years ago.  And sadly, this blog sat in silence for about 4 years.  I often wished I would make the blog into something really big and exciting–but I haven’t.  I decided I don’t care anymore–I’m going to write anyway.

I have had some help.  I attended the best conference of my life–Harvard’s Writing, Publishing, and Social Media for Healthcare Professionals.  I will try to write about it to share with those who might wonder what a conference like that was like.  I have kept in touch with a few authors and book coaches who are now helping me with my writing.  I started writing every day after this conference.  But I still do not blog much.  Am I afraid?  Is anybody else afraid of putting their thoughts, imperfections, and worries out there?

All this self exploration, the TED talk binge, the Harvard Writing Conference, and the meditating led me to ask of myself “what do I really want to do with my life?”  I think we all just want to be happy.  And we all find very intricate ways trying to do things that we think will make us happier.  Often I wonder which are the right things and which are wrong.  Sometimes I desire status and image but at the same time realize that just meditating and being present is enough to make me happy.  Why do I want more?

What else makes me happy?  Writing.  Not receiving accolades for writing.  But just the act of writing.  Writing is one of those things that makes people happy and it’s been proven.  Writing has made me happier.  But I sometimes fall into a trap of desiring success.  It’s not all about just success as an end goal.  It’s about the journey.  So this is the beginning of my writing journey.

As part of my journey I have been reading a lot of other people’s books.  One of the books that I am loving right now is Jessie Itzler’s Living With a Seal.  Jesse is a famous entrepreneur and the Seal who remains nameless in his book is David Goggins.  I have been a huge fan of David Goggins for a few years now.  For anybody who doesn’t know David Goggins, he is an ex-Navy Seal, one of the best ultra-endurance athletes, and one of the toughest humans on earth.  I was completely overtaken by motivation and positive energy by this podcast where Rich Roll interviews David Goggins.  I should point out that Rich Roll, an ex-attorney, recovering alcoholic, and super fit plant-based endurance athlete is also one of my heroes.

Now, what does David Goggins have to do with me trying to write?  I just feel like his mantra of “do something every day that you don’t want to do” is the type of thing that gets me doing things.  And I keep finding reasons to not write.  So when I started reading the first chapter of Jesse’s book, I decided I was going to put myself through things I do not want to do.  Maybe I need to rephrase that–I do want to do some things but I have a hard time doing the unpleasant parts.  I am going to seek out things that are uncomfortable.  On the top of my list was to write a blog post today.  And I will have some time off work next month.  That’s perfect for doing some writing!

So this is the beginning of my self-imposed writing boot camp.  In the month of July, I plan to write 1700 words every day and I should have more than 50,000 words by the end of the month.  That’s basically the length of a small book.  Does anybody know about the writing challenge every November?  It’s called National Novel Writing Month.

So how did it go today?  I got myself up at 0445, went to the pool and swam 2500 meters before work.  After I got home from work, I put my kids to bed, and rode my bike for 1 hour.  I tried to bench some weights and it was pathetic.  But as promised I wrote a blog post.  So no matter how bad it is and no matter how badly I didn’t want to write it and publish it.  Here it is.  One thousand one hundred seventy-eight words.

Thank you to Scott Dinsmore and David Goggins.  I feel so empowered and excited when I read your words.

What do you think?  Tired of having your blog sit in silence?  Do you feel motivated but lost?  Or motivated but at the same time can’t get something done?  You are not alone.  Tell me about it!


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