The Path

Aspen Path

Have you ever been on a hike, enjoying the sun shining through the foliage overhead, the smell of pine and spruce on the wind, and then seen something off the path that you had to investigate? A lean-to someone left behind, a meadow filled with spring flowers, a mountain peak that begged for a picture. But when you looked back, things didn’t look the same and the path was no longer visible.

The day’s still beautiful, the sun still shining, but there’s that moment of sharp panic, the thought that you might be lost.

You’re still out in nature, technically where you wanted to be for the day, but the thrill, the enjoyment, is overshadowed, and only when you find the path again does the brightness of the day bring you joy again.

This is self-publishing. It’s a hike—work—but greatly enjoyable. The writing, the editing, the formatting, and even the marketing are all part of it. But once the book’s created, once I’m working on sharing it with others, that’s where I tend to leave the path. I follow a flower here, a mountain lake there and even enter a long-abandoned cabin to see where others have gone before me.

But when I look back, I’ve lost the path, my enjoyment of writing has been deeply shadowed because I’ve lost the thing that leads me forward.

AspensThat path, that clear, meandering trail, is hidden. I’m still out, technically where I want to be, exploring the world of being an author, but without the trail, I’m wandering aimlessly, especially if I go too far.

The passion to write, the clear, if meandering, trail that creates new worlds and fills a story with magic, is my path. Some people are gifted musicians, some speakers, some organizers. For me, I was created a writer. And getting back to the seed of that is where I find renewed joy.

The Adventure has been my start. It was my trailhead and I will continue to reference it as such. (Marketing is never done=)).

Now it’s time to return to the path and continue on, to turn and head up the mountain. Several novels, not adventure stories, lie dormant in my archives. One, in particular, has received great feedback from beta readers.

Let me introduce Quaking Soul, an urban fantasy story about a dryad. After all my rambling, I’ll cut to the chase. My goal is to publish Quaking Soul (QS) next. I originally thought to have it ready by the end of this year, but as I’ve revisited the writing, I’m finding my timeline was super ambitious. QS was written back in 2014. As any long time writer can tell you, the writing ability grows and matures the longer one consistently works at it, much like learning to climb. You start out by powering up the wall on puny strength alone. It’s exhausting and, to anyone watching, it lacks any finesse. Over time, the climber learns technique that allows for more difficult climbs that, to a bystander, look more like a dance than a climb. I need to take QS from a strength-alone climb to something that flows with finesse.

Right now QS is in my personal edits stage. I’ll update as things progress, but in the meantime, I’ll keep the adventure stories rolling, they might just be a little more sporadic =) Thank you for sharing in this journey with me!

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

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Hermit-itous

Do you ever exclude yourself from the world? Hole up for awhile and not want to leave the house?

Plug into a video game?

Stick your nose in a book?

Zone out at the Television?

Hermit

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots. Japanese: Live instead of merely exist

The scary part in this is the tendency to make it a habit. Books are my weakness usually but whether it’s a book, a game or a tv show, the temptation to continue reading, playing or watching eats up hours of time without conscious thought. It’s a time void, an abyss that threatens to make us all lonely hermits.

And it’s the enemy when you want to accomplish something. Now, don’t get me wrong, these activities are not bad in and of themselves. They offer escape in a world that increasingly throws out a constant hive of activity demanding our attention.

However, too often that “I need a break” is the excuse used to not experience life. We delude ourselves that watching the television is experiencing when in reality it’s living vicariously from the sideline.

So, if you want to know how to dance, go dance and if you really want to see that show, record it because the dance should be the priority.

If you want to learn a language, find a Rosetta stone or a class and give it your all. You’ll experience satisfaction when you’re playing a video game and another language comes over your headset and, by golly, you know what they’re saying.

If you want to learn climbing, find a gym or a friend who can teach you. The next time you’re reading a book and the protagonist is climbing, you’ll experience the book that much more because it’ll ring true with your own experience. Or, you’ll catch when the author didn’t do enough research. Either way, it’s fun.

More importantly than the learning or achieving, what this gives you is relationship because inevitably when you want to accomplish something, it involves interacting with others. Such interactions are what add richness and texture to life because we are social creatures by nature who grow and thrive off our interactions.

For instance, in rock climbing, it is possible to free solo, or climb by one’s self. However, no amount of free soloing will teach you to communicate, or show you the importance of trust in your fellow climber, or build a relationship with a friend. You can talk to the rock as much as you want, but it won’t talk back, won’t tell you if you’re in danger beyond popping or cracking just before you fall from a lose hold, it won’t help you if or when you fall.

The time spent on those meaningful relationships is what will pick you up when you fall. Otherwise, you lie broken at the bottom just waiting for someone to hopefully notice that something’s wrong.

Even a writer who sits behind her computer needs to do research, share her craft, and leave her computer from time to time for inspiration.

The striving, the accomplishment, the relationship enrich life far more than a game, book, or show ever will.

As Oscar Wild once wrote:

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

So avoid becoming a hermit. Enjoy your down time however you like, but for the majority of your time, live instead of merely exist.

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S.

What do you dream of doing with your life? What next step, even small, will move you toward accomplishing that dream?