The Non-November view along the Gemini Bridges Trail.
Last November, The Lizard and I were riding in Moab. Because riding in Colorado that time of year can be rather chilly. I had a monthly 60-miles-in-a-day streak going, and the Utah desert seemed the best place to keep the dream alive.
Even though the 46 degrees we encountered was not the warmth we were seeking, we rode. It took me nearly all the daylight hours to log my 60 miles. Along the route, we passed the mountain bike trailhead for Gemini Bridges.
This was a favorite hangout for me and my kids more than a decade ago. It also is the name of a book I wrote about the adoption process. A fictional book I've never done anything with. Riding by the trailhead on a cold November day reignited the dream. Unfortunately, my fingers and toes were so cold by the time we got back to the car, writing, or better yet, typing, was about the last thing I had in mind. I wanted hot chocolate. Hot tea. Hot soup. And a hot tub to top it all off.
In February of this year, we passed through Moab once again, this time en route to the seven-year dream destination of The Wave. I thought about the book again. Both on the way to The Wave and on the way home from The Wave. No way could I type while I had spectacular pictures to edit and drool over.
Finally the pictures were finished, and I was ready to begin writing again. And then I broke my wrist. Dagnabit!!! Typing with a cast was a nightmare!
Then came Ride the Rockies, followed soon after by the Revenge of the Spine. No sitting for me for a very long time.
Now I find myself applying (unsuccessfully so far) for Wave permits once again, dreaming of Moab as November approaches, and still patiently waiting on the back shelf of my mind is the dream to get a book published.
I have wanted to write a book since before I knew how to write. My dad broke his back before I began school and spent a good many months exactly as I did earlier this year while he recuperated. I would "write" (scribble) stories and staple and fold the pages together into a book, then hop upon his bed, whether he was ready or not, and read my "books" to him.
Shortly after I began my first newspaper job, I wrote a real book. I sent it to a publisher. I received a letter in response saying I had exceeded their word limit. I had no idea publishers had limits. I just used information I found in the front of many of the books I read to contact that particular publisher.
I bought my first copy of the Writer's Guide. Read it cover to cover. Learned how to edit, which initially felt like cutting off fingers and toes. Resubmitted the book to the same publisher, who responded again, this time to tell me the characters were realistic, the plot well-written and the book promising. But I had no name. I was not marketable because no one knew me. This was long before personal computers, so blogs hadn't been born yet. I had to get known the old-fashioned way.
I got tough. I began entering every newspaper contest I could, and I even won a few!
Just when I thought everything was going in the right direction, I moved, changed jobs and adopted two special needs children. I had no time to write more than often-brief, two-sentence journal entries for many a moon. The dream long hibernated but never died.
Twenty months ago, a publisher tracked me down to ask if I would write 100 new snowflake patterns for a book they planned to publish this fall. It wasn't exactly the kind of book I dreamed about, but a book is a book, and designing was another of my buried dreams. If I did this book and did it well, it could get my name out there. Maybe I could become the author I longed to be. And if not, maybe I could be a designer...
Only problem was they wanted the patterns to be written in six months or less, and they were not flexible regarding rights of crocheters who would buy the book and use the patterns. The deadline terrified me, and I didn't want to restrict the rights on the patterns I write. So I walked away from the deal. It hurt, but deep down inside, I knew I'd made the right decision for me. Just a few days later, my friend Shonna died of ovarian cancer, and I realized I would not have been motivated enough to complete the book on time while shouldering the grief I felt. Once again, the dream was shelved.
The best thing about this year's unplanned slow-down is having time to catch up with a few dreams. Just like red rock calls out to me, writing flows through my blood, and the dream of becoming a published author has awakened once more.
I've been researching blogged books for a while now, and the concept seems pretty darned awesome. I've purchased a few books by fellow (and lady) bloggers who have hit the big time. The prospect, the risk of putting myself out there, taking a chance, doesn't seem overwhelming and intimidating to me anymore. I'm thinking perhaps I could pull this off.
So here's the plan. I currently have seven books finished. I have at least that many more trapped in my head. The only way I can effectively breathe life into them with my busy schedule and without subjecting myself to the depressing rejections that most certainly would accompany the traditional submission process, is to serialize one of my books. That means I'm going to devote one day a week to one of my books beginning next week. This particular book is short, and it's a true story. It really happened. To me!
The original book is 46 pages long, and I've broken it into 37 blog-sized bites. It's done and ready to go, so my worst fear - starting and then getting too busy with life and not being able to finish - isn't going to happen. I'll even build a linked table of contents so book segments may be read in chronological order.
This new pursuit isn't incredibly deep water, thank heavens, because I'm no expert swimmer. Yet I've been learning to tread water in all kinds of unrehearsed situations all year long, and I'm still alive and breathing. I haven't drowned yet.
Next week I am adding one more P to Pushed, Pinched and Prodded.