I finished the written draft of this year’s hiking book last week. Ambrose liked it. And, over the weekend, I got the pictures all set up and captioned. Next step is inserting the pictures into the text in the Word template., which will take another weekend or so, depending on how many need to be reformatted to fit on a single page together. I’m excited to have it ready so early in the year, but the truth is, I’m not really going much faster than I have in previous years.

In the past, I’ve done my book hike in August, and finished writing around December. This year, I did the hike in May and finished writing (just barely) in September. Publishing has been in December or January, and this year I’m confident I’ll get it ready in October – though I’m still going to send books as Christmas presents.

After I get this completed, I’ve got a couple of guidebooks that I’d like to write up. Those projects should be shorter, and I’d like to get those done by the end of the year. My inventory is slowly growing, and the sales continue to trickle in each month. Sometimes enough to buy a cup of coffee, even (not Starbucks though).

I haven’t been as focused on writing fiction this year, though I did that workshop and I feel like it has helped point out one of the weak points in my writing. My husband has pointed out another that I’m still working on.

Dean Wesley Smith writes about letting the creative side out to play without letting the inner critic censor what gets written, but he also writes about the importance of doing a clean draft. I think that I’ve become so practiced at writing clean that I let my inner critic take a bit too much control during my writing process, and the result is something that is clean but lacks passion.

Passion is what my husband wanted to see in my hiking book this year. He knows that I can be passionate – how not when we live together? But he had yet to see that really come through in my writing. I think I need to let go a bit more in my writing to get there. To consider less the placement of words and sentences and more the expression of ideas. I need to let my inner English teacher take a break, and let my inner five year old have free rein. Because it’s in the passion that my writing voice is going to come through and maybe allow me to buy two cups of coffee a month from my writing earnings!

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