Man, what a year. I don’t have to say anything else, because we all know what a shitshow 2020 has been. But I will say more, because I like writing things.
2020 has been a strange, heart-breaking, eye-opening year. It’s been a year marked with immense difficulties for nearly everyone.
And it’s also one where I’ve moved around a lot. It started in a dorm on 5th Avenue, fled back to Vermont, then onto to Connecticut, Los Angeles, and back to New York’s Greenwich Village.
Yet, no matter what was going on in the world, or where the hell I was in it (I even managed to leave the country, going to Toronto in March), this was also the year where I sat down day after day, stared at a blank page, and wrote.
All told, I think I’ve written more than a book’s worth of essays and articles in 2020. Some of which I’m eclectically proud of, others which will never see the light of day.
It’s the year I first started getting published, the year my writing skills improved to a professional tipping point: where I can get published and paid for my words.
Here’s a list of my favorite writing published writing pieces from this year. Some, of course, stand out. Some I invested great effort into, bleeding the words and emotions onto the page. Others I wrote on the subway in twelve minutes (and sometimes those became the most popular). Some have lead me to laugh, to cry, to wonder deeply about the world, to apply lessons from school, lessons from my apprenticeship, lessons from just observing this crazy year.
Nearly all of my fitness writing this year got publish on Roman Fitness Systems. Because I am now part owner, I’m obviously much more incentivized to publish there as opposed to here.
My personal website, and brand, I saved for personal essays, ponderings, and writings that I felt didn’t have a home anywhere else (and I couldn’t get other publications to accept). Call it my b-side album.
You may have noticed that I don’t post much fitness stuff on here anymore, despite the perhaps misleading name of my webiste. That’s because I have a stake is a few other websites, the biggest of which is Roman Fitness Systems.
I loved the Queen’s Gambit. I love chess. I found a way to make it about fitness so I could write about it.
If you only read one thing I wrote this year, this is the most important one. Among the writers I admire most, I’m often struck how they’re able to take a seemingly mundane, or even silly topic, and use it to make a serious, profound statement. In a world flooded with misinformation, I tried to use the often mishandled word broscience as a vehicle to explain how to uncover evidence, and ultimately, get the closest to the truth we can get to.
This was a follow up to the broscience article. It’s about how it’s not always practical to be “evidence-first” in a world with so much to study. It was selected as one of the PTDC’s top fitness articles of the week.
I didn’t go to bed for two weeks straight. And I lived to tell the tale.
Okay, yes, I watched a lot of TV and found a way to write about it.
5000 words about how to never get injured again.
Sine we were all stuck working out at home, someone had to write it.
That’s right, you read the title. Go check it out.
To be honest, I wrote this in about 12 minutes on the subway, but it was also selected among the best fitness articles, so I guess I have to include it.
Some typical fitness anatomy type stuff. I thought it had a few good jokes though.
Okay, now I’m just showing off how much I can split squat.
A lot of my essays I haven’t published, others I sent out prematurely. Either way, here are a few that I’m proud of sharing.
This is called a “PCJ Essay,” a term coined by my creative writing teacher and tremendous essayist, Cliff Thompson. It stands for personal/critical/journalistic. Basically, it’s taking a personal essay approach to topics common in criticism or journalism. I chose to comment on my favorite book (which I have so many more thoughts about now and am writing more about) The Catcher In The Rye.
Envy and jealously plague all of is. It’s a normal human emotion. But it can be managed. And, I think, we can all learn how to control our envy. After this difficult journey going through it in my hockey career, I’m grateful for how I’m able to approach all types of relationships differently.
My mentor John Romaniello wrote an essay called Roman’s Rules For Success, Happiness, And An Awesome Life, which I read when I was 14 years old and had a profound impact on me.
This is another foundational intellectual piece with concepts that have shaped my whole being.
Chess to me, is an expression of my interdisciplinary mind. Through chess, I learn how to write, how to train, how to think. It’s a medium for creating connections across different concepts and disciplines. And for that, I owe the game so much.
Add me on chess.com @dwrosales3. I hover between 1300-1500 elo rating.
A collection of mini essays from the first lockdown in the spring.
I wrote this for fun but if you love Neck Deep you should read it.
Look! I got Published In a Major Publication
There will be much more of this in 2021, but I’m super proud of getting published in Muscle and Strength.
General Awesomeness Content
Okay, this one is hilarious. And also, quite practical. I’ve found a way to not only have success with dating apps this year, but also have fun with it. This is a 5500 deep dive, so get ready to take notes.
Hank Moody is the protagonist is the TV show, Californication. It’s about a writer from New York who goes to LA. In prep for my trip tot the city of angels, I rewatched the show and jotted down some of my favorite lines.
The concept of dichotomy, going against expectations has proved to be one of the most important intellectual concepts for me in so many areas of life, from writing to relationships.
Given how much I’ve written this year, I probably should’ve written a book instead. In my defense, Hemingway didn’t publish his first article until he was 26, so I’m still in good shape. Plus, these articles were more fun.