The Wild Blue Yonder

Tomorrow I embark on an adventure that I’ve been planning for years.

Lake Chelan sunset(Lake Chelan, Washington state)

I feel like Bilbo Baggins at the beginning of the first Hobbit movie, when he’s running through Hobbiton screaming, “I’m going on an adventure!”

Tomorrow, I’ll be up at the armpit of dawn to haul off to the west. I’m leaving from the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula to begin the trek out to Washington state, the first state on my list of places I want to see.

Most of you know I’m a physical therapist, and I’m blessed to be able to travel my job, and get paid pretty well doing it. I hope to see a majority of the country in the next few years.

In no particular order, the list of states I want to work in are:

Washington (duh, since I’m headed there, right?)

Texas

Massachusetts

South Carolina

Montana

Idaho

Maine

Arizona

Louisiana

North Carolina

Hawaii

Alaska

From these states, I will be able to see almost all of the country because most places will be within driving distance or a short flight if I want to visit another state I’m not working in. Even Canada or Mexico if I wanted.

And yes, I really could go to Hawaii and Alaska whenever I wanted. Awesome, right? I certainly think so.

If I’m ever in your area, I’m going to invite myself over to visit. You’ll just have to deal with it.

I’m looking forward to driving across this beautiful country of ours (for my American compatriots) almost as much as I’m looking forward to actually getting to my endpoint.

And I’m SO excited to see new natural grandeur. If there’s one thing that inspires my writing more than anything else, it’s being surrounded by nature. And a change of scenery gets me on writing rampages.

While I’m in Washington, I’ll be working and living in Cle Elum, which is just over an hour east of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains. Sounds faboo, right? I also plan on hitting Seattle quite a few times, as well as Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, Vancouver, Snoqualmie Falls, Mt. Rainier, Oregon, maybe even northern California to see the redwoods.

Any other suggestions from my west coast bloggy buddies?

“Off I go, into the wild blue yonder, off I go, into the sea!” Well… you know what I mean.

Happy writing, friends!

“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own, and if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
― Samuel JohnsonA Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

“Everything I was I carry with me, everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.”
― Ma JianRed Dust: A Path Through China

The Great North

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Ahhhhh… Up North.

For those outside of Michigan, it may be a strange circumstance, but going “up north” is something that happens all summer long, and often into the fall.

People from downstate buy or rent cabins on lakes, in the woods, and travel there for a weekend getaway.

I’m not sure how common this is in other states, but in Michigan, nearly everyone goes “up north” for the weekend. Or know somebody who does.

Well, I am currently up north. The first location of my traveling PT job is in the northern part of the lower peninsula in Michigan. Tons of snow, lots of deadly icicles, pictured above at the cabin I’m staying at, and a veritable wonderland of outdoor activities.

Since starting this new job a couple weeks ago, I’ve written more in my gargantuan re-write than I have in the past five months. I knew that would happen. Surrounded by nature and natural beauty never ceases to inspire me.

It also helps that I don’t have internet in the cabin I’m staying in. (My choice).

Although the internet has many uses, it is mighty distracting for someone who procrastinates with her writing because she’s often overwhelmed by the enormity of it.

I apologize if I don’t answer people as quickly as I used to, or am noticeable absent from the blogosphere for days at a time. I can’t get on with my work laptop, so the only time I can use the inter webs is when I haul myself to a coffee shop or the library.

And, God bless ’em, but the libraries in small towns close at 5 or 6 o’clock most days. Well, for us working stiffs, that doesn’t do much.

How has everyone else been? Have you made any headway on your writing lately?

Something I’ve learned in the past few weeks… turn off Mr. Negative!

Writing is such a personal process, like all the other arts, and it is all too easy to have your own personal storm of negativity constantly brewing storm clouds over your head.

I know it’s hard, I struggle with this on a daily basis. But push that storm away from your atmosphere and close your eyes. Write whatever comes to mind.

Ignore the “that stinks” or “are you sure?” or “nobody will like this” comments that filter through your mind.

Open yourselves up to the immense creativity we’re all capable of. Don’t go with the common route that’s been established by so many other authors.

Search for new avenues and let your mind wander into places you wouldn’t expect.

And have fun!

Happy writing, friends!

“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.”
― Shannon L. Alder

“Try giving up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just some of them, and see how doing that changes your life. You don’t need negative thoughts. All they have ever given you was a false self that suffers. They are all lies.”
― Gina LakeWhat about Now?: Reminders for Being in the Moment

Norwegian Rhapsody

Have you ever seen the wild beauty of Norway? I haven’t – at least, not in person. And that’s a crying shame.

Norway is one of the settings in my middle grade book series, and I’ve been researching it for a long time. It’s beauty is captivating.

Have a look…

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Gorgeous, right? And what about this…

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I love this one! So much fodder for the imagination. Who does the boat belong to? What is the fog hiding? How would it be to hike up those mountains? What kind of magical creature could come from such a place?

Are there any countries/states/counties, etc. that speak to you? Whenever I look at pictures of Norway, I am filled with an intense longing to see it up close. I never cease to be inspired to produce a bounty of writing whenever I gaze at pictures like this.

Nature is such a part of who I am. Although I dislike bugs (yuck!), I feel much more comfortable surrounded by the wildness and untamed beauty of nature than the car-filled, smog-ridden streets of a big city. I will probably refrain from writing too many books centered in a big city. Moderate-sized cities only on the horizon. But I never say never.

Whenever I’m in a pot of writer’s block, I pull up all the images I’ve saved on my computer that reflect the settings I want to portray in my books, and off I go! Even if all that comes of it is a few sentences, it’s a step in the right direction. As Jack London so eloquently put it, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

I agree 100% with that statement. True writers write when they have nothing coming to mind. They write when they’re inspired, and they write when they’re not. They write in times of keen loss, and in times of overwhelming joy. They write because they have something to say, and they write when they have nothing to say (which sometimes produces the best results).

So what do you do to inspire yourself? How do you chase inspiration with a club? Are there any cities/countries/counties/states, etc. that leave you breathless with desire and passion for your work? Please, comment and share!

“The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy.”

– Chris Baty