So, how’s your writing journey going?

Sometimes it’s clear sailing, and sometimes… um, it’s not.

During our December travels we encountered all kinds of weather. For the most part, the roads were good. On the homeward portion of the trip, as we left Cranbrook, BC, we traveled north for a time in a trench between two mountain ranges. It was a glorious day!

To the east of the highway were the rugged Rocky Mountains

… while to the west were the Purcell Mountains.

Eventually we had to leave the easy-to-navigate valley highway and turn west. The remainder of our trip was through the mountains … sometimes literally, via tunnels or snow sheds that are designed to deflect avalanches.

From the summit of the Coquihalla highway south through the Cascade Mountains  the weather began to change again, the road conditions were conflictingly described as “bare, snow packed, some slippery sections” and we drove through snow and slush until we got closer to the coast where rain washed everything slick and shiny. Driving was anything but a pleasure.

My recent Christmas trip has comparisons to my writing journey. Any objective, whether a holiday destination, a writing goal or picking a tree clean of its crop, requires some kind of journey. Success first requires desire – we have to want that ‘something’ badly enough to pursue it, regardless of the obstacles. Then there has to be forward momentum.

On the Magical Words blog yesterday Kalayna Price said, When the words are flowing and the muse is generous, writing is easy, sometimes even euphoric. But when the writing gets tough and every word has to be dragged out with jagged, rusty hooks – that is when you have to apply BIC [butt in chair] and slough through it.”

The beginning of a new year is often a time of re-evaluation. For me, it’s also a time of recommitment. My goal hasn’t changed but too often detours have sidetracked me.  The journey itself brings satisfaction but every journey needs to have a destination to fulfill its purpose. It’s time to settle my butt in the driver’s seat and start chalking up the miles.

How about you? We’re almost a week into this New Year. Have you made measureable progress on your 2012 journey?


“By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  [Philippians 3:14 MSG]

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Challenging Changes


Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. Our trip home from the Okanagan mid-week was one of those things. The afternoon’s drive started out pleasantly enough. Sunshine. Picture-perfect clouds. Hardly any traffic.

I barely noticed as more clouds snuck in…

… until suddenly, well along the mountainous Coquihalla Highway, the darkened skies dumped their contents.

Then, just as the clouds began to lift and we neared the town of Hope, BC, bordering the eastern edge of the Fraser Valley…

… we encountered an ominous sign.

Earlier in the day there had been a massive mudslide which closed the Trans-Canada Highway. Traffic from three different highways backed up for miles as vehicles united into one lane and were re-routed by police and Department of Highways personnel through the town to a secondary highway on the other side of the Fraser River. That last leg of the trip should have taken us an hour and a quarter. It took us five.

As we finally approached home, the remaining clouds parted. We arrived late and tired but safe, and were glad to learn that no-one had been seriously injured in the slide or any of the subsequent traffic accidents.

Of course there’s a writing application coming. 🙂 I think it ‘s true that the writer’s journey often encounters unexpected changes and challenges, too.  There are the pleasant and productive times, as well as long hours of struggling with the direction our stories are taking. Times of hoping and waiting. Disappointing detours that make us wonder if we’ll ever reach our goals.

But if we follow the guidance of those who have expertise, if we do our part with patience and persistence, we’ll find our way. The route may not be quite the one we intended to take, and perhaps we’ll have to compromise a bit on the destination, but if we trust God to be the Navigator in charge of our lives, He will see us safely through the maze.

Have you encountered major detours in your life or your writing? What got you back on track or did you permanently alter your course?


“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
[Proverbs 3:6  AKJV] 


Beginnings, Middles and Endings

The past two weeks for me have been about travelling and visiting, enjoying holiday time with family members and friends. The outbound trip was under gorgeous blue skies. The homecoming, not so great… two days of constant snow.

As we started out I watched the passing landscape with disinterest as blowing snow transformed everything into dismal grey and white. One snow covered mile after another. How boring. Maybe I’d sleep the hours away.

But then I began discovering glimpses of beauty I’d almost missed – the barely visible grandeur of a mountain top; hardy mountain sheep digging through hillside snow for bits of grass; colour in a passing home and yard; the welcome appearance of a sand truck and roadside signs. (Then again, maybe this particular sign wasn’t so welcome.)

There were interesting shapes and patterns. Snow whipping across pavement. Marshmallow rocks, and windshield ice crystals.

Snow-laden evergreens and etched coniferous branches.

In the middle of a squall, out on a lake, ice fishermen.

A tiny rural church almost hidden behind the hills.

As we neared the south coast the snow turned to rain and the hills emerged from white shrouds to reveal their winter green and brown wardrobe.

Mossy branches scrambled against a wet and darkening sky.

And as we approached home, a lone hawk kept watch.

I didn’t doze off at all. The entire journey had kept my attention. There was nothing spellbinding… nothing like the dazzling scenes of our earlier drive… nothing that overtook my anticipation of home. But I was reminded that there’s more to travelling than the departure and arrival.

There can’t be a writer anywhere who hasn’t heard about the importance of novel beginnings, middles and endings. There is so much emphasis on strong hooks and satisfying endings, however, that it’s easy for middles to become lost in a whiteout of boredom during the run from start to finish.

The entire story must provide the reader with a reason to keep reading.

Do you struggle with sagging middles? How do you tighten them up? (And I’m not talking about post-Christmas dieting strategies!)


It May Be Winter, But….

Sixteen degrees!* That was the temperature as we returned home to the Fraser Valley on Saturday from our eighteen days in the Okanagan and East Kootenay areas of BC. We drove 2,000 km and never once drove on snow.

Hoodoo Mountain

East Kootenays

Columbia River

East Kootenays Snow

Kicking Horse Mtn. Resort near Golden, BC

Near Rogers Pass

We did see snow, of course, but here at the coast the spring crops are already greening. At the moment my DH is washing the truck in the sunshine and thinking of mowing the lawn later this afternoon.

Fraser Valley Farmland

Fraser Valley Farmland

Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley

It’s not exactly ideal Winter Olympics weather but it made for great travelling. And after last year’s long snowy winter, I’m not complaining one bit!

[* 16 C. = 62 F.]