|Mount Baker - driving east on the No. 1 toward Abbotsford, B.C.|
Story idea is like Mount Baker
tantalizing in all lights
glowing in the distance
Conferences, other writers, books
reveal that I will need
plot, characters, complications
the pack, boots, ice axe
screws and ropes of my ascent.
Nearing the mountain
obstacles enlarge and clarify.
In the shadow of its flanks
and face to face, I face
the need to breathe life into characters
create sub-plots, plant red herrings
write true-talk dialogue
then tie all neatly …
I all but lose
my nerve to begin.
The ascent displays
the writer-stuff I’m made of
as day after challenging day
I do what it takes
to make some progress to the top
get up early, stay up late
retrace steps in desperate rewrites
belay into plot ravines
scramble over boulders and up ice fields
toward epiphany and resolution.
And then one day I write the final word
plant first-draft flag
with grateful calloused hands
upon the pinnacle.
I wrote the above in February of 2009, even before I started writing the book I will soon be holding in my hands. (It appears I was rehearsing, in my mind, what the process would feel like.)
But, like any book-writer has discovered, what felt like a pinnacle flag-plant when I had completed my first draft, turned out to be only my arrival at Camp 2. For the ascent has since then continued with many more rock faces scaled, crevices avoided, and nights spent questioning 'what am I doing here?'
I have tried to prepare for the next leg of climbing that faces me now—the publicizing, marketing, and selling of my book. I have read how-to books and articles, watched fellow-climbers, and listened to their advice. Still, I feel nervous, apprehensive, and excited all at once as I anticipate the weeks ahead. Stories of mishaps on Mount Everest, that remind me of how many things can go wrong on a climb, don't help.
More than ever I need a personal Sherpa—a guide who knows the way and will accompany me, no, lead me to my goal. (Personally my goal now is to sell the copies which I contracted to buy. Doesn't sound terribly spiritual, does it? But God and I wrestled out the spiritual aspects of this project ages ago. Now we're down to the physical /monetary realities of the business.)
As I review the verses handwritten on file cards and tucked into a little folder called "Writing Career" my faith in God's ability to direct, guide, and give me a hand-up when I need it grows strong.
"Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days" - Ecclesiastes 11:1 (NKJV).
"A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps" - Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV).
"Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say" - Exodus 4:12 (NIV).
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight" - Proverbs 3:5,6 (NIV).
"Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left" - Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV).
"And let the beauty and delightfulness and favour of the Lord our God be upon us: confirm and establish the work of our hands, yes the work of our hands, confirm and establish it" - Psalm 90:17 (Amp).
Again I feel like an adventurer. Courage fellow writers. Keep climbing. See you all at the top!
Find out about my soon-to-be-released novel here.
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