This past September I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, I rented a cabin to get away for a couple nights, all by myself. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it was a huge deal for me.
The reasons it was a big deal are many. It really comes down to the fact that the last year or so has been tough when it comes to work and family obligations, and I’m terrible at taking care of myself. I had to make a decision to put myself first. The thing is, much like everything I do, I went a little overboard.
I started by searching for a small place that was out of the way. Not much was catching my eye, until something did. Searching through Airbnb I found an ad for an off-grid cabin in the middle of a field. Perfect! So, I signed up, which was a whole process in itself, and started planning for my stay. This is when I started to second guess what the hell I’d gotten myself into… There would be no electricity, and only a wood burning stove for heat and to prepare meals. Luckily I booked a couple days before the first nights of below freezing temperatures so at least I would have running water!
The big day arrived, so I loaded up my cooler and writing gear, then hit the road. It only took about an hour to arrive, and it was easy enough to find. I will say that driving through a pasture in a car with near bald summer tires was fun.
I tucked the car in behind the gate because I was told if I didn’t the horses would eat bits off of it. After a quick look around, I hauled all of my things inside and settled in.
It was a really interesting space, but I truly knew it was meant to be when I found a creepy Thomas in the windowsill. I’ll give you a hint, it’s because I’m known as a freight train. More on this later.
It took a bit to learn the ins and outs of cooking on a wood burning stove, but I managed to finish dinner before I starved to death.
The rest of my first evening was spent reading and writing by battery powered lantern.
Two things became clear that night. Being able to see twice as many stars in the sky as you do in the city is inspiring and something I need more of. The second is that walking across a pitch black yard to get to the outhouse is even less fun than you would imagine. I also slept like a damned baby. It was wonderful.
The next day was spent killing flies, not writing as much as I had hoped, but reading and napping a lot more than I thought I would.
Even though I had no other distractions, the day passed quicker than I thought it would. Soon enough the sun was dipping below the hills, and it was time once again to exist in the dark.
Unfortunately the second night I didn’t sleep nearly as well. Likely because of the nine hours of sleep and three hours of naps from the day before. I was up with the sun, had a simple breakfast, then started cleaning up to go home. To be honest, I was a little sad to be leaving, but I needed to get back to my responsibilities. As I crept down the ruts to the gravel road, I said goodbye to the horses, then made my way home.
For almost two full days I did not see a single other human being. It was exquisite! I’m about as introverted as they come, and I don’t remember the last time I was alone for more than a few hours. I very much look forward to doing it again one day. If you’d like a link to the listing, send me a note and I’d be happy to share it.
Okay, let’s talk about books.
Earlier I mentioned that I am sometimes lovingly referred to as a freight train. I hope it’s lovingly anyway… Once I start in on something, especially creative projects, it takes a lot to slow me down. And so, please allow me to introduce you to my plans for 2020.
Three years ago I started writing my first novel. It stalled in the early stages, it sat for a while, then eventually I came around and got it finished. By finished, I mean I had a shitty first draft. The original plan was to publish a collection of short stories and the novel by the end of 2018. That turned into publishing the collection in February of 2019, and putting the novel off for a future date. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes publishing books is more work than you think.
Let’s flash forward to August of 2019. I thought the novel was in pretty good shape. That is until I spent the weekend at the When Words Collide festival. I learned a lot, maybe too much for my simple brain to absorb, but when I walked away I knew I needed to make some big changes.
It started by cutting two chapters worth of words from the beginning, and a few other small tweaks. Where it ended up was with a plan to write a novella as an intro, and one as a finale. This is in addition to a graphic novel that I’m proud to be creating with my business parter and best friend which we plan to have available for next Christmas. So, yeah. I’m publishing four books next year…
This year I was given a unique opportunity to focus on catching up on life and to get a lot of writing done. Whether I succeeded in either, we’re on track to release Into the Storm early in 2020. Two months later, Surviving the Storm will come. Two months after that, we will release Chasing the Storm. I have some fun extras in between too. By fun, I mean dark. Then the focus will be on Beyond the Divide, finishing novel number two, and getting started on novel number three. I know it won’t be easy, but I have to take my shot. Everyone deserves to go after their dreams, and I don’t want to let my chance slip by.
Until next month, take care friends.