Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 30

I wrote 568 words on my new story.

I still have a story to finish, that I haven't worked on since before my last backpacking trip, but I feel like I'm drawing to a close on the new one. And then I can circle back to the old one.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016

July 28

I wrote 543 words today.

This new story is really moving along, but I have to focus on my Blackmare Lake trip write up so I can finish before I go on my solo hike next week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 27

I wrote 626 words today on my all new story that I started on my Blackmare Lake trip.

What's Playing in Your Head?

On my last hiking trip I asked my husband if he has a soundtrack in his head while he hikes. See, I tend to repeat a song in my head, over and over, while I'm hiking. I adapt it to the beat of my steps. I repeat only the lyrics I know or make up my own or listen to an instrumental version. If I'm actively thinking, talking to myself silently, then the music quiets, sometimes. But as soon as my train of thought stops, the music is there again. 

I did consider that this might be a natural thing, something that happens to everyone, but I know that I can be a bit strange. So I asked my husband, who can also be strange, but usually in different ways. 

Apparently, this is not one of the strangenesses that we share. 

And so I shared with him, throughout that trip, the music playing on repeat in my head. I keep meaning to write down all the songs that pop through my head when I'm hiking, but I never get around to it, and I usually forget them by the time I'm home. Talking about them to my husband has helped me retain a smattering. 

One of the songs I tend to get when I'm near the beginning of a trip is "Run" by Collective Soul, because it has a line about having a long way to run. And that tries to slip into "Ways to Go" by Grouplove, because I like that song, but I can never remember the tune while I'm on the trail and it fades out. 

When I was hiking up the start of the Blackmare No Trail, I had "Frosty the Snowman" on. I don't know why. There wasn't any snow in sight. That transitioned, naturally, to "O Canada." (I do watch a lot of hockey.) That took me through to the next ridge, where, on the descent, I had an elevator music version of "The Girl from Ipanema" going, perhaps as a result of the cautious steps I had to take going down the steep, unkept trail. 

And even when we weren't hiking, I still had songs running through my head on repeat. Sunday morning started with a persistent rendition of "Heartbreak Beat" by The Psychedelic Furs, which only went away when it was replaced by the "Main Theme from Star Trek: Voyager." (My husband wanted to hear how that one went and I gave him a humming rendition that he quite enjoyed. But I suspect he only asked to hear it because he didn't believe that I was listening to it in my head.)

On the way back to the car the next day, and I know this was because of the clouds of mosquitoes that I was hiking through (I think I inhaled one), I got Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" going and replaced the words to part of it: "Eaten alive again in mosquitoville/ wishing I had more repellent on me/ some people say that there's a woman to blame/ well, they're right/ only females bite" 

Mosquitoville doesn't quite scan, but it got me through the hike pretty well, interspersed with "Little April Shower" from Bambi

And no. It wasn't raining. But I may have been drip drip dropping sweat... 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 22-26

July 22
267 words

July 23
306 words

July 24
440 words

July 25
500 words

July 26
512 words

I started a new story on my backpacking trip up to Blackmare Lake. I'm having a lot of fun with it so far, as is clear from the more than required backpacking word counts. I'm in a hurry this week preparing for my solo hike next week, so it will be a challenge to get my words done every day.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

July 21

I wrote 684 words on my old story and finished it.

Just over 40,000 words. I guess that's a short novel. Cool. I'm going backpacking tomorrow so the next post will be Monday. Or maybe Tuesday. But the writing will continue.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20

I wrote 580 words on my old story today.

I'm trying to write up my last backpacking trip before I go on my next backpacking trip so the fiction words are minimal.

The End Is Near

At least, I hope the end is near. I feel like the end is near. For my old story, the one I started a long time ago and am now powering on to a finish. I think.

I know that it's going to take practice, many stories and many attempts, to really know when a story is heading to its (hopefully) inevitable and (hopefully) satisfying conclusion. So it's good that I'm finishing this, however it turns out to be.

But my inner critic is trying to stop the process. Yelling as I write on about how the story isn't very good and the characters aren't consistent and the tone is all over the place and how do I expect anyone to believe anything that I've written? That voice is afraid, and I think it's because I'm close to finishing. Otherwise, why would that little voice in my head even care?

On the one hand, I'm really proud of keeping up with my fiction writing every day so far this summer. Even when backpacking, even with all the crazy exercising I'm doing and the work that never seems to end for my job, I'm getting those words in.

On the other hand, I'm only getting small amounts of words in every day. And my inner critic cries out at that low output with a condescending sneer. 'Oh, sure, you're writing every day, but you're hardly finishing anything and your stories grow at a snail's pace!'

And I do my best to ignore that voice and all its myriad complaints and I write on.

Because the end of the story is near.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18

I wrote 518 words on my old story and 102 words on my new story today.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17

I wrote 453 words on my old story and 194 words on my new story.

Getting back into feeling more normal. I've been excessively tired for the last few days, and I focused on getting a lot of sleep this weekend.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

July 16

I wrote 222 words on my new story and 545 words on my old story.

Friday, July 15, 2016

July 15

I wrote 248 words on my old story and 266 words on my new story.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13

I wrote 230 words on my old story and 321 words on my new story.


I decided to do an experiment over my last backpacking trip. I had been getting a lot of headaches and I thought, perhaps, that the allergy medicine I was taking might be preventing my sinuses from draining. So, I stopped taking it for the five day trip I went on last week.

Throughout the Sawtooth Wilderness, I walked through grasses from inches high to knee high to over my head high. I walked through flowers that shed pollen as I stepped through them, visibly showering my body and face with allergens.

I didn't sneeze. I didn't have a headache. I didn't miss the allergy medication at all.

Naturally, I continued not to take the medication w hen I got back home. And, from Friday night through Monday morning, I seemed to be doing just fine. But once I got to work, I noticed a dryness in my eyes.

The dryness proceeded from a minor irritation to an irascible itch. I couldn't stop rubbing and scratching at my eyes. It was driving me crazy, and I had to concede defeat.

I started taking the allergy medication again Tuesday, confident that I had finally come up with a definitive reason for the itching eyes and sneezes. It's clearly not nature that bugs me, not all those grasses that the allergist claimed I reacted to, no.

I'm allergic to civilization.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 12

I wrote 593 words on my old story.

I have a new bruise on my knee. But I got my words done.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11

I wrote 244 words on my old story and 280 words on my new story.

The first day back at work after a week off is always hard. I did manage to get through my emails, so that's something. And I got my words!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 10

I wrote 521 words today on my old story.

A bit of a tired day today. Still recovering from the backpacking trip.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

July 3-9

July 3
703 words

July 4
128 words

July 5
205 words

July 6
370 words

July 7
413 words

July 8
371 words

July 9
1021 words

I actually came back to civilization yesterday, but I was exhausted. I actually hand wrote yesterday's words at the trail head while I waited for my husband to show up. That way I wouldn't have to do any typing. But today I transcribed all my words, all written on my old story. It was easy to write more than my minimum each day on the trail for this trip.

And today I wrote more on my old story. It's over 34,000 words now and not yet done.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


I haven't completed as many stories as I wanted to complete for this challenge so far. Part of that happened because the first story I started turned out to be much longer than I realized. More of a novelette than a short story. And that threw everything a bit off.

I also didn't expect that I had so much more to write about in the story I was finishing. It's gone well beyond short story and is rapidly approaching short novel length. I had no idea that there was so much more to write in that story. When I stopped writing on it, I was stuck. And, looking back, I think I was stuck because I was trying to take the story in a direction it didn't want to go. Once I let the story go in a different direction, the words started to flow.

I'm still going to try and write as many stories as I can during this challenge, but I don't think I'm going to make my original goal. But I've already written three stories and am working on two more, which is more than I would have if I hadn't been challenging myself. Failing to success, as Dean Wesley Smith says.

I've been more tired this summer than I expected. Backpacking, crossfit, pull up workouts, runs, busting my brains at my job and writing... all of it takes energy and time. And I also try to take time to be with my husband, to spend time talking with him and enjoying television shows and movies together. I'm making time for writing out of everything else, and sometimes that's hard, not because I don't want to write, but because I need sleep.

When this posts, I'll be out in the Sawtooth Wilderness, probably sleeping late after an attempt at Plummer Peak. Or getting up early for the attempt, it will depend on how many days we take to get to our base camp on Everly Lake. And I'll have my 100 words to write, maybe on another new story because it's harder to keep track of the stories that I've been writing on my computer when I'm out there.

After all, I'm still going strong with my commitment to finish the stories that I've started, so the more I start, the more I should finish.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July 2

I wrote 516 words on my old story.

Much less time writing today than I planned. But I did get my goal. I'll be heading out the wilderness tomorrow, so no more daily accountability posts until next Saturday.

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 1

I wrote 107 words on my new story and 624 words on my old story.

What a day, what a day, what a day.