Musings on writing

I’ve finished writing the prologue and first chapter of Shadow and Light. They’re available on Patreon now and I’ll post them here on Thursday (July 23). I did most of the writing while camping with my family up in the mountains last week.

Writing while camping was an awesome experience. There’s no better setting for writing than sitting under trees, watching a mountain river flow past. It was easy to immerse myself in the world of my characters in such a rugged, wild location. I also didn’t have the distractions that come with internet access.

There were also plenty of challenges. In maximum power-saving mode, my laptop battery only lasted about 1 1/2 hours. I loved the bigger screen, bigger keyboard, and the ability to have multiple open windows at a time, so I used my laptop for as long as I could. Once my battery got low, I’d save everything to a thumb drive and shut the laptop off.

The rest of the day, I worked from my tablet. I specifically got a tablet with a real keyboard specifically for writing, and the keyboard has a USB port where I could plug in my thumb drive. With the GPS and WiFi turned off, the tablet’s battery lasted all day, and the brighter screen was easier to read outdoors. I also realized how much I prefer a touch-screen over using a mouse. Each night, I fired up the generator and recharged the devices while I slept. We were running the generator at night anyways, so it wasn’t an inconvenience.

I treated the whole experience like an intensive writing retreat, and it worked out well. I know my wife would have preferred if I’d been more available to help out with the kids. Neither of us really got a “vacation” out of this trip. Next time, I’ll be sure to set a more modest goal so I can help out and play with the family more.

I can’t imagine anything better than having a family that supports and encourages me in my efforts. My wife didn’t just take care of the kids while I worked (at least twice the job while camping than it is at home). She listened as I read my work-in-progress out loud, frequently stopping to make edits. She listened as I blathered for hours about ideas I was developing for the story.

My brother-in-law also generously listened to me blather and read out loud. My parents and parents-in-law have been incredible too, helping out financially and emotionally as I’ve set out on this journey. And I can’t forget my awesome kids. I know it’s hard for a 2 and 4-year-old to understand why Daddy has to sit there with his ‘puter instead of playing games or going on adventures together.

Thanks to last week, I really feel like Shadow and Light is off to a good start. I hope you enjoy reading it. Going forward, I’m planning on posting a chapter at least every two weeks (as long as I don’t have to go get a job to pay the bills). I have outlined four books (so far) for the series, and I’ll keep writing as long as I have a story to tell and readers to share it with.

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