Monday, October 1, 2012

Are We There Yet?

Road trips are one of my favorite things in life, especially if someone else is driving. No matter how much I like them, the novelty wears a bit thin after the first 100 miles.Traffic jams and construction hamper progress. My back and legs scream for a good stretch, as well as relief from the constant motion.

The writer's journey is a lot like a road trip. The planning, anticipation, goal setting, and initial work are all driven by enthusiasm. Once we hit a certain rhythm, we just want "to be there." Our word count moves along much slower than we'd anticipated. Writer's block, plot holes, life's surprises all threaten the desired end result - a completed manuscript.

How To Survive a Road Trip (without going stir crazy)

1.  Make sure you have clear directions.

2.  Stopping every couple of hours keeps you limber and may prevent dangerous blood clots in your legs.

3.  Food. There's something comforting about a snack on a long trip. You also avoid ridiculous prices and losing travel time.

4.  Music, teaching tapes, games for the younger set, and taking in the scenery make the miles and time fly.

5.  If you're not driving, a quick snooze might be in order. My friends often traveled at night, so the kids would sleep through a chunk of the trip.

How To Survive The Writing Journey (without driving every one around you insane)

1.  Read as much as you can about the business side of publishing. You'll run into fewer unpleasant surprises along the way.

2.  Explore various genres and determine which one best fits your interests and talents.

3.  Take time to acquire the skills you need to communicate your story.

4.  Don't be in a rush to present your work to editors and agents. You'll save yourself a heap of embarrassment and avoid a bad first impression.

5.  Take a break to enjoy life. Putting God and family first will make your writing stronger and  more satisfying.

Writers: What are some of your writing survival skills?

Readers:  Do you have any tips for a frazzle-free road trip?

Photo credit: Windchime


Linda O'Connell said...

Excellent advice. Take a look at the scenery. peek outside breifly for a change of scene.

Karen Lange said...

Great tips, Susan! These are interesting parallels - so true!

Thanks and blessings,

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I love number 5 on the writing side. Taking a break to enjoy life is sooooo necessary. I just did that, and now I'm energized to get back to writing!

Jessica Nelson said...

Great tips! Writing survival tip, be flexible. :-)

Rhonda Schrock said...

I like the "enjoying life" part. Always a timely reminder, Susan. :)

Nancy said...

Travel tip: check everything over carefully at home - do you have all the essentials you can't buy on the way? Did you double check the last minute hair dryer and the stove?

Then you can relax and think about that nap you mentioned.

A writing tip: Do a basic outline, tell God where you want to end up, and let Him fill in the details with you as you move along.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Taking a break to enjoy life has been where I'm at the last couple weeks. With two back-to-back writing trips, I've spent this brief time in between with my family. I've loved every minute of it.

Loree Huebner said...

Awesome tips, Susan!

Definitely take a break every so often to smell the roses.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda - One good thing about riding in a car: there's always something new to see.

Hi Karen - Thanks. I enjoy road trips.

Hi Cindy - Yes, I'm taking more blogging breaks this year. Even short ones help ease stress.

Hi Jess - Ooo, I like that!

Hi Rhonda - Yes, we can get lost in the virtual world and forget there's a real one!

Hi Nancy - Ah, and don't forget to take out the trash or you'll come back to a smelly house.

Hi Sarah - I read your post on ACFW. So glad you were able to attend.

Hi Loree - Thanks. I'm finding it more and more important to enjoy my surroundings.

Susan :)

P.S. You guys are awesome! Your faithfulness is such an encouragement to me.

Jean Fischer said...

Great advice, Susan. I love it that you've compared writing to a road trip. So true!
I survive writing slumps by keeping my eyes on God.


Melanie N. Brasher said...

Love this list, Susan! I love road trips, but after putting 7,000 miles on our van this summer, I think I'm done for awhile. :) Great analogy!

Terri Tiffany said...

I think the one where you said don't be in a rush to share your work--such great advice!
Can't wait to meet you someday! It will probably be in the spring but we will do it!!!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean - That's the best advice - keep your eyes on God.

Hi Melanie - You put a lot of miles on your van, but you also made lots of wonderful memories.

Hi Terri - I'm looking forward to meeting you in person. Blogging, telephone calls, email are all wonderful, but there's nothing like a face-to-face meeting.

Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

I like #5 of your writers tips, Suze. I've neglected my husband and friends at times while working on a project, but it's not worth it! Balance is the key.

We like to read aloud to one another while on a road trip. Cozy murder mystery is our fave, especially Agatha Christie, but I like modern authors, too. Have you read any of Sandra Orchard's? Wonderful writing!

Susan said...

Hi Susan...That's a good analogy. As for a frazzle-free trip? No. I don't think totally frazzle-free is possible. I'd say just keep on driving! The rough spots will smooth out and you'll soon be on your way once again. Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen - No, I haven't read any Sandra Orchard books. I'll have to check her out.

Hi Susan - Good advice both for a road trip and a writing journey. :)


Unknown said...

Great post, Susan! Reminds me of a parallel piece I wrote a couple weeks back about enjoying the entire journey - not just the end result.

I just submitted a book proposal to an editor today - I'm continuing to read books to hone my skills and trying to take things one day at a time.

In agreement with you that taking a break with family and friends is a MUST! Hugs & God bless!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Maria -

Yes, if we're going on a journey, we might as well enjoy the ride.

Praying things will go well with the editor.

Susan :)