Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Own Personal Writer's Retreat

I’m gearing up for a road trip. I try and return home to western New York once a year but didn’t make it last summer. Usually I fly and stay a couple of weeks, borrowing a car and making the rounds of visits. This year I’ve decided to drive there, yep – Vegas to New York with a number of stops along the way. Among the reasons for the drive is that I need time to myself and for my writing. Writing is such a release for me; I’ve maintained a journal since my teens. I turn to writing mostly when I need to work out a problem or something ignites a reaction in me and putting pen to paper is often my only outlet. I’m what you call an emotional writer. My most recent outburst was a letter to the editor published two weeks ago in the Las Vegas Review Journal (lvrj.com) complaining about disturbing images on their front page. I had some negative comments about my opinion, which used to make me cringe before I developed a tougher skin. I think my fear of bad reviews is partly the reason why I haven’t been more successful as a writer until now.

Years ago I envisioned that by this time in my life I’d be a fairly recognized, successful published writer, possibly even a book author. While I’ve had a handful of pieces published I’ve never achieved the success that my dreams elicited. That’s because my life got in the way of it; or to put it more accurately, I got in my way.

There are a number of obstacles on any given day that can prevent me from my calling. The floors need vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping; the garden needs weeding, watering, and planting; the family needs feeding and attention. I could go on and on. The bottom line is, I tell myself, you are a “wanna-be” writer, not willing to put in the time. It’s true to a point. In my defense I’ve written thousands of words, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. What’s next is the hard part: the editing, rewriting, submission, and rejections. In order to focus on those last necessary steps I’m taking my writing on the road.

Along with two of my dogs, Maya and Grubb, my companions will be my computer and my past writing, along with lots of fresh paper awaiting new inspiration. While I’m driving I’ll be conceptualizing plot and working out dialogue and voice. When at a stop I’ll edit, revise, rewrite, and create. I’m giving myself three weeks of travel.

From Las Vegas I’ll head east taking mainly the less-traveled road, staying off the main highway as much as possible. Inspired years ago by the book, “Blue Highways” written by William Least Heat Moon, I want to travel through small towns and meet some local people. Look for my encounters to be documented in my sister blog, “Storied Lives.”

I originally planned on taking my tent and enjoying my evenings under the stars. But that is a non-negotiable condition my husband has placed on me, so its hotels and the open doors of friends and friends-of-friends. When it comes to these details I’m pretty resourceful; remind me to share my year on an Oregon river adventure in an upcoming blog.

Stay posted everyone. I’ll blog from the road and share my journey both mile-wise and in print along the way. The day of departure is approaching soon. I’m looking forward to the long empty hours without the day to day distractions. Hopefully at home someone else can mop the floor and water the plants. Maybe I should stop writing now so I can go and attend to all of those things while I’m still here, “Hang on! Dinner’s almost ready!”

1 comment:

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Glad to hear you're skin is getting tougher! I'm proud of you, dear friend!