I’ve just returned from four days walking in the English (just in case there’s another) Lake District. It’s an annual pilgrimage I make with a good friend of mine. I’ve blogged before on the benefits of walking for the writer. However, this is about as serious as my walking gets.
I know it’s beautiful, but I forget just how much. And making the effort to climb those mountains and walk those felIs adds whole new levels to that beauty. It seems as with most things in life, putting a little effort enhances the experience. If you’ve walked in the Lake District you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t and you get the chance, go. You won’t regret it, although some level of fitness is required. These are no leisurely strolls.
Despite walking with a friend there are times when you’re on your own. Even if you are only a few metres apart you walk in silence, sometimes because you’re battling up hill and need to save your breath, sometimes because you are simply admiring the view and enjoying the fabulous scenery that’s all around you. However, there are other times when the simple rhythm of walking lulls you into contemplation and as a writer it is to my writing that my mind tends to go in such moments.
It hit me that I’d got a bit fed-up with it all. Not so much the writing, but everything else you don’t realise is part of being an author / self-published author, when you first put pen to paper. I recently completed a new novel. It has had good feedback from early readers, so I sent it out to agents. That was late January early February. So far I’ve had a polite “thanks but no thanks” from two out of the eight or nine I sent it to. I’m now guessing I’m just not going to hear from the rest. A couple even said if you don’t hear from us within three months assume etc. etc. I do feel the least they can do is let you know. So now I’m contemplating sending it to another batch. In the mean time I’ll get it ready for self-publication. I then need to think about my marketing strategy.
All that requires time and effort. And yes, I know if I want people to read my book (which of course I do) it has to be done. Also, do I do facebook ads? Or pay for other marketing services? All these appear to offer guaranteed success. Although, I know from experience that is far from the case and if you’re not careful you can keep throwing money at it with little return. So yes I was feeling a bit fed-up.
So back to the walking. One day we decided on a route up Green Gable and onto Great Gable (the top photo), something I’ve wanted to do for a while. After an initial slog up the mountain (the hard work) there was a glorious walk across the fells to Green Gable. We had coffee, the sun shone (a bit anyway), everything going well. We then set off for Great Gable, more hard climbing, but surely worth it for one of the best views in England? Then just as we were getting to the top guess what? The mist came down, and we could hardly see a thing. After a quick lunch we set off down. It was tough going, loose rocks, some climbing, never quite sure where we were going and in the conditions anything but pleasant. However, eventually the mist began to clear and once again the views were spectacular and it all seemed worth while. The sense of achievement returned and we enjoyed the tea and cake at the bottom.
So as for the writing. I know it can’t all be walking in the sun. The mist will come down and obscure the view. Some of it will be hard slog and there will be times when the path is unsure under foot and I’ll be less than certain where I’m going. And yes I will slip and slide a bit, but if I keep going it will get easier and it will be worth it.
So now I’m back, writing, planning and looking ahead with enthusiasm. I’m thinking of those books I’ve yet to write and those other walks in the Lake District that I have yet to complete.
As always comments are welcome.