Tag Archives: goals

Writing Journey


I’m thinking more about hiking these days.  The Hawai’i Volcano National Park close to my house that I’ve been hiking in for many years has been closed since May 5.  This loss makes me pine for the trails there.

I’m thinking more about the Appalachian Trail too.  I hiked about 200 miles in 2000 and a smaller section in the 1990’s.  Now I realize how long ago those hikes were.  I want to get in backpacking shape and do a weeklong section in the summer of 2019.

Especially since I’m not a spring chicken any longer, I need to plan and prepare.  Equipment will need to be added to the budgeting, children need to be invited, prepped or otherwise engaged during the hike, the husband needs to be shaped up or otherwise engaged, and I need to be ready. People will need to be assured that I will be safe or accompanied by a safe partner.  Expectations need to be mentally prepared.

Compared to all of that, writing is easy.  I already have the equipment, my family is used to my monthly retreats, I’ve been getting in shape for years and my writing partner is the perfect blend of a mentor, no-nonsense boss, and best friend.

Even though I don’t really do bucket lists, this year I have two things I really want to do.

#1  Backpack a section of the Appalachian trail

#2  Publish a novel with a nationally known publisher






A Hard Day for Writing

So, today was rough because Dear Husband starting vomiting explosively and loudly at 2 am.  Lovely, yes?

So now he knows how I felt last Saturday when I stayed in bed for twenty-four straight hours and did not once pick up a book.  I have about 30 books on a shelf right next to the head of my bed.  I read compulsively.

That’s how sick I was and therefore, that’s how sick he is right now.  Lovely, yes?

But, I persevered. When I got up this morn to take the eldest to the bus stop (5:50 am departure), I asked the middle darling, let’s call him MD, to get into bed with littlest (age 3).  So, when I came home from the bus stop (6 am), they were still asleep.  Yippeee!

I whipped out the notebook and the Weekend Novelist and Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, grabbed a cuppa joe and got to work.  And, the kids got up, got breakfast, and played nicely for TWO hours.  Now, I don’t know if you know my kids, but some of you do  and well, I was amazed to be really in the background for that amount of time.  Nice job Kiddos!

Then I bumped in another 1/2 hour from 2-230 during naptime.  She slept for 1  hour, I slept for 1/2.

So, that makes 2.5 hours in my living room.  Alright!

Writing notes:  Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel (Can I just start calling it WSYMN?) is really great.  Its another of those write a novel using these easy steps like Weekend Novelist (WN).  So today I worked through my main characterGot to know him a lot better with more work to come.  I’m working on a character biography about him.  Maybe I’ll post it here.   I’m still really figuring him out.   And that is good.

Maybe I’ll send him to the Character Therapist.  Have you seen her blog?  www.charactertherapist.blogspot.com

Plan for tomorrow? Decide in the morning.  See what the evening holds.  WRITE!

6:15 AM to 10:15 AM!

New Plan Just Might Work!

Went to drop off  eldest at the bus stop and the bus was on its way up to Volcanoes National Park, so I followed it, not trusting it to get out of my sight and went into the Park (still haven’t found the pass, but no one checks that early).

(Note to those not from Hawai’i- we don’t trust our buses, their drivers sometimes do weird things like skip stops and leave early because they want to.)

I dropped her off and drove over to Kilauea overlook.

Start time: 6:15 AM

I was greeted by the cold wind pushing the vog cloud of toxic SO 2 away and down to Pahala town.  The sun was beaming down from somewhere among the white and gray cloudbank.  An orange VW van cruised over by the pavilion.

Pairs of nene flew low towards Mauna Loa.  Later, a flock of six nene flew over honking.

A film crew set up around 7:30 AM, one camera, two chairs.  Maybe some sort of interview overlooking the vog plume.

I wrote and wrote and when I starting feeling blue, I drank coffee, ate a bagel and wrote some more.

Writing Notes:  I studied the Weekend Novelist and worked a lot in my notebook really fleshing out the plot focusing on what I like about the first draft.

At 10:15, four whole hours had gone by.  Driving home, I felt like I was re-entering reality.  I also felt very satisfied about my progress so far.  Woo Hoo!!!  Thanks for your support.

Excuses are just excuses

Today I couldn’t find the National Park Pass ($25/year entrance pass) so I couldn’t go to my wind whipped desert writing location.

Dear Husband got a little freaked out when he realized I really was going to be gone four hours a day.

My stomach is still testy.

But, perseverance is one of my strongest traits.  I found a new spot to park the mobile writing studio, drank Gatorade and Keopectate and negotiated with Dear Husband.

So, there I was in the mobile writing studio, sliding door half open- letting in the warm sunny breezes while parked on the side of the old Volcano Highway, and I finished the first read-through revision.  Yippee!

With the distant sounds of cars on the new Volcano Highway (neither are actual highways, just a new road and an old one) and the sweet  sounds of songbirds, I planned the next revision and studied plot charting.

Still only able to eke out three hours again today,  I will do at least three or more tomorrow.  Promise.

Tomorrow’s plan:  Take the eldest to the bus stop at 6 AM and write from 630-1030 AM.  This will make it easier on the Dear Husband and kids because I’ll be gone during the “fresh hours” and my writing might be fresher too.

Writing notes:  Weekend Novelist is a helpful guide to plotting, even if you write on weekdays.  Currently at 166 pages, didn’t check word count.  Planning to work through revision #2, following a tight plot line and working the characters out as we go along.

steady as a wind whipped desert

Volcanoes National Park as my backyard makes it so easy for me to drive right over there to my favorite parking lot and write!

The wind whipped my mobile writing studio as I glanced out over the desolate brown desert gravelled ground.  Scrabbly hapu’u miniatures and ten foot tall ohi’a lehua blooming red created foreground to the clear blue sky, bright sunshine and slowly building white cloud bank.

The only sound: whipping wind.

I started with my peanut butter and nutella sandwich and watched the silver glint of the incoming rental cars.

After surviving the morning’s domestic traumas (sick boy, laundry, eldest’s first day of summer job, housecleaning), I was ready for my commitment to writing.

I put my head down and didn’t look for up three hours.  (Ok, I did pee and recharge the computer.)

I had to go pick up the eldest from Hilo, so I missed the four hour mark.  I will strive for it tomorrow.

Writing notes: I read in my beloved Reading Like a Writer by Francine Post that some writers struggle with point of view and tense because they feel like they’re writing into a void.  Who is the audience? Who is the storyteller? I pondered those questions today as I worked on completing my read through.  I finished on page 147/180 today, far into the deathly middle where the tangents are getting nuts.  I’m still making major plot revisions and character changes.  But that is what revision is all about, right?

Living, aka “prewriting”

Sunday, rallying, didn’t lie down once all day!  Ate a pb sandwich and drank coffee!  yippee.

My dear friend, Darlene Javar (poet extraordinaire) always reminds me that any time not writing is time spent collecting stories, characters and plots for writing.

Tomorrow, begins the first full week of four hours per day writing.

This is special because:

1) I’ve never dedicated so many hours per day to writing.

2) The commitment is not mine alone.  My husband and kids have to be encouraging, accepting and helpful.

3) Sitting alone in a mini van with a laptop and no internet access for twenty hours a week could drive a person nuts.  Let’s hope I’m not that person.

Thank you to those of you who send me messages, either by facebook, gmail or wordpress.  It means a lot!

Wish me luck!

I’ve only just begun!

Today Jackie and I spent most of the day at our new hot spot, Kope Kope in Hilo.


We’ve abandoned Border’s Hilo because it is just too distracting.  Although, for book and magazine reading and general hanging out, Border’s is still the spot.   At Kope Kope, there is also coffee (essential), food and clean tables.  Kope Kope is much quieter and not nearly as busy (insane) as Borders.  There are many more available plugs (and even power strips!) Of course, there are things going on- Japanese people talking loudly in Japanese and one of the waitresses practicing with her cool poi balls–  a maori dance implement- click below for more info-


She was really good though.  She practiced for like two hours.  Maybe she didn’t work there after all.

Jackie and I usually chat our heads off and have trouble focusing, even at her house.  So we instituted a rule.

We would write or revise for one hour straight and then take little breaks.

If we needed to talk about something, we would write it down on a post it to talk about or do later.  It worked!

We wrote for three hours!  Yippeee. I read straight through my novel up to page 65 (out of 180 pages) making changes and notes as I went along.

‘m trying to get a feel for the plot and if it needs more rising action, falling action and twists.  Right now, my goal is to read the whole way through and tighten.  I’ve made changes as I go, but for now I’m ignoring verb tense and point of view. This means I’m skipping between Alex, the main character telling the story and a third person omniscient point of view (god-like know it all).  I’m going between past tense and present tense.  But, instead of deciding which it should be and changing it all only to change my mind again and go back and change it all again, I’m letting it ride for a bit.  I’m going to work on a “plot chart” on which I will “draw” the plot on a line graph showing rising action (good, happy stuff happening to the main character) going up and falling action (mishaps, problems, tragedy) going down.  I’m hoping that will help me “see” the whole plot more clearly.  One challenge of writing a novel is keeping most of the plot in your head while simultaneously  making it up and revising all along.

Alright!  Well, the weekend is here!  Hooray.  Saturday and Sunday I will spend with my family.  I’ll blog, but no writing until Monday.  I have a date with my van.