Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Roller Coaster Writing

I left on my 2015 trip a year ago tomorrow – a year, an entire year, has passed and I am just getting to the end of the first draft of the book. Of course, there were important issues throughout late spring, summer, and fall that kept me from completing the task. “Too Cold for Alligators,” the book about my 2013 trip took a year and a half to write. This book will take as long. What happens when you take a hiatus from a project? How do you get your mind back on it?

My entire life isn’t solely about writing, especially for someone who is not “just” a writer; I’m also an artist and photographer. My job is editor and freelance writer. Then there are the life issues that get in the way and taking time for family and friends. There are also the chores of daily living and surviving. So what does this mean to my life as a writer?

I just couldn’t jump right in where I left off after being away from the writing for six months. I had to re-look at what was previously done to catch up to where I am in the storytelling. I had to get the feel back, get my mind in gear, while at the same time, continuing to deal with settling into the new house, getting the renovations done, and doing the weekly job requirements of being editor of the InterTown Record newspaper.

Other considerations come into play. I get calls to do an occasional photo project. I see scenes which would translate well to charcoal and pastel drawings. I get mail from various venues looking for artists. (I only participated in one show last year and it’s the same one I’m currently doing.) There’s also the other ongoing book that I’ve been working on for a couple of years. What does all this say about me being a writer?

2015 was the Year of Letting Go. 2016 is the Year of Possibilities. A shift is taking place and I’m not totally sure what this means yet. I enjoy being an artist and a photographer. I am professional. But the call to write is very strong and becoming more so. Perhaps it’s time to become more focused on one medium and the first thing that always comes to mind is I AM A WRITER! So, what do I need to do to focus more on my writing?

This morning I went back to a list I started awhile back on what to pay attention to for travel writing. I love making lists, but I am also concerned with the time spent making them. Could the time be better spent doing the actual writing?

Maybe, maybe not; my goal is to improve my writing skills and if I can develop a go to list, it can help when I have to take a hiatus to tend to other life issues. A list will help me get back or stay on track. My mind easily jumps from one topic to another and I often feel I spend too much time refocusing. What kind of shift am I feeling here?

Perhaps focus is the key word. The pull to write is so strong now that maybe it’s time to put the other creative aspects of my life aside. That doesn’t mean I’m giving them up totally and the photography does go with my writing. My desire to be a travel writer and share the information I discover with others is overriding everything else. Maybe it’s time to give in to it.

I am already planning a trip for 2017, so I need to get this book finished and published and I need to finish the New Hampshire book I started a few years ago. Wow, I guess I’ve made a decision here. This year I will concentrate on being a writer and author. (At least today).

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