Monday, August 12, 2013

Reading - Riding - Writing

Okay, I’m going to stop complaining about waking up early. I've always been a morning person anyway, so a 4:00 a.m. wake up might be a blessing. This morning I’m waking up in Winnemucca, Nevada. We've traveled through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Nevada the past six weeks. It’s not our first rodeo, so we’re recognizing many landmarks and continuing to marvel at unexpected scenes along the way. Like the seven cowboys on horseback riding toward us in a long, slow-moving line across the dusty scrub, leaving a few head of cattle grazing behind them. What a seldom-seen snapshot of life in the West! Stellar!

Yesterday we drove eight hours from Castle Rock, Washington, and I took the opportunity to refresh my memory of what I've written so far on Novel #3. It surprised me to remember that I've written the first draft of eleven chapters rather than the eight I thought I’d written. I do remember getting stuck on some questions about what direction a key character might take and bogged down in less than satisfying research on the Internet. With a fresh look at my prose, I’m encouraged to realize it’s pretty darn interesting. Sometimes getting away from it all and looking with fresh eyes at where the writing has been and where it’s going isn't such a disaster after all.

I must confess I put zero words on paper yesterday, but I did catch up with the flow of the story and refresh my very unreliable memory on the finer points of the plot. Now maybe I can break the research logjam and sully forward with new determination. Armed with technology that lets me read, write, and research online while speeding cross country on the way home to Phoenix, I just might be fully into the flow of things by the time I’m back in my comfortable chair on wheels this weekend. After all, I am supposed to be on vacation, and I do enjoy looking at the scenery when it’s worthwhile. We’ll be traveling some lonely desert roads today, so distraction should be kept to a minimum.

However, I am reading a novel out loud to Frank as he steers our rig toward home. We’re both avid readers, so when we’re blasting for home after becoming super saturated with plying our nation’s highways, it’s nice to share a good book along the way. Now that I’m writing my own novels, I read those written by others with new eyes. I’m aware of the clever devices authors employ and consider reading the work of others instructive as well as enjoyable.

Take-away tidbit: “I write for myself. I figure if I enjoy the journey, my readers will too.”


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