- flat tires (exhausted and discouraged from the wait)
- getting lost (buying into the negative voices)
- need for bladder breaks (too distracted to write)
- bad weather (things outside your control throwing you off course and making you swerve)
- rough & bumpy roads (writing just isn’t flowing)
- detours (rejections—ouch!)
- bumper & exhaust fall off (major edits)
- donkeys surround car (every other obstacle in your way on the road to publication) (note: this actually happened to me and my husband at a state park in Montana)
I want you to make it across country. Heck, I want to make it across country. So I’m giving you a checklist of things that have helped me keep on keepin’ on so far:
Hit the Rest Stops Sometimes I need a break. My words come out muddled and I have some other major issue taking up all the vacant brain space needed to write. I pull over and rest up. Better to drive alert than fall asleep at the wheel.
Pick Up Friends along the Way Some friends might even start out as strangers. Remember when hitchhiking didn’t conjure up every scary movie known to man? Think of fellow authors as nice hitchhikers. These folks can be excellent encouragers, critique partners, and they most likely know what it feels like to drive all night.
Connect with Truckers These roadies have traveled the path. They know the roads like Galileo knew the stars. Give ‘em the old trucker hand pump to get them to honk. We can learn so much from them.
Assess Food Supply I pay attention to how much I’ve poured into my work—how much plotting and editing I’ve accomplished. If I’m spending every day chomping on beef jerky alone, how can I expect to have enough energy to make it across country?
Gas Up I read books on the craft, books in my genre. I read any & everything. I eat books.
Map it Out, but Keep Expectations in Check (more on this in a few weeks)
Get Some Fresh Air Have a life outside of writing? What? What’s that? Yeah, I said it. I can’t tell you how many creative thoughts stir inside me when I’m running or brush painting. Life breeds ideas. Live a little.
Reward Yourself with Beautiful Views Whenever I reach a new milestone, an article in print, an agent asks for partial, then a full, I find a way to reward myself. I get out of the car and enjoy the sights, the unique landscaping each state of writing provides (all except Texas of course. Texas = driving purgatory).
What are your tips for making it for the long haul and determining whether you are resilient enough to keep on keepin’ on?