Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Mountain Climbing for Writers 101

Writing for me is a little like walking up a mountain – you never know what you’re going to find. Sure, there are the things you expect. A pathway, rocks, trees, and hopefully, a stream or waterfall.

A cool looking tree at Silver Lake

But you may forget about poison ivy, sunburn, and tired legs. I write because I love the journey, but the journey, as in hiking, is not always easy.

Big Cottonwood Canyon

My Journey

This last week my husband and I hiked up Big Cottonwood Canyon to Donut Falls. It was a fairly tough hike. My legs got tired (my butt, but I didn’t tell you that), I got muddy, some places were steep, and there were far more people hiking up that day than I expected. But I loved it. The waterfall was beautiful, and so was the hike up to the top.

Donut Falls

A few days later, my husband and I made a second attempt up Big Cottonwood Canyon with our grandchildren. We took them to Silver Lake which is a little farther up. This hike was a lot easier. There were no climbs, everything was flat, and the lake was beautiful. The kids took pictures of each other over playing their usual games on their phones, and just as we were leaving (we started earlier this time) the place was getting busy.

Beginning of the hike at Silver Lake

Smooth and Rough Hikes

Sometimes writing will be like the second hiking experience. Everything will run smoothly, the journey will be beautiful, and everyone will have a good time (including your characters). But then there will be those times when the opposite is true. Mixed with the great experience will be hardship; times we will want to quit but don’t because you want to make it to that book publishing deal or that marketing opportunity that will finally “work” for you.

Silver Lake

Mini Hikes

Often the hike is a bunch of mini hikes experienced on different days. We may reach the top, but the next day, the hike changes (we’ve published our book, now we have to market it, or we’ve been marketing the same way for years without the success we “expected” and are finally open to trying something new – (that would be me).

Silver Lake

New Hikes

We may be just starting the hike and have no clue what we’re doing, or think we have a clue only to find out down the trail that we don’t (kind of like a teenager who thinks they know everything, only to discover up the trail to adulthood that they don’t know as much as they thought).

My grandchildren, Heather, Christian and Bekah at Silver Lake

We may be up the first book trail of our lives, about mid-way, not really knowing if we have the talent or desire to keep going, or we may have been on many and varied writing trails with no clue what to write next (I have been there a few times, scratching at the poison ivy).

Me and my husband, Doug, at Silver Lake

Today’s Hike

The best news about our hike, especially the hike we’re on right now, is what we’re learning from it as we go along. What stuff do we have in our pack that we’ve learned to carry on previous hikes? If this is our first hike, what have we studied before the hike to prepare us for the journey?

Your writing journey should be planned, but what happens after that isn’t always what you expect. And that’s okay too. Just remember to keep walking.


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