[Making the Leap] The Writing Path
Contributor
Written by
Julie Luek
January 2014
Contributor
Written by
Julie Luek
January 2014

This past fall, I took my dog, Blue, out for a hike near Colorado's Curecanti National Recreation Area on a trail called Dillon Pinnacles. I've done the hike before but not for several years. Maybe because it had been so long since I'd walked it, the path was both familiar and unknown to me at the same time.

Just the day before, a mountain lion had made its way into our small town and camped out for the day under someone's trailer. It created quite the buzz in our little community. Thankfully, wildlife officials safely relocated the cat to more suitable habitat. Remembering that, I felt a little like Dorothy as I climbed the trail: Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! I was glad I had my faithful buddy with me and hoped he would alert me if there was anything scary in our midst.

Mostly though, I just relaxed and enjoyed the journey. At one point, the trail wound through groves of trees and the smell of pine and soil was intoxicating. Dillon Pinnacles is so named for huge rock formations that are thought to be the result of volcanic activity millions of years ago. They loomed in the close distance and were magnificent to ponder. At different points in the walk, the lake below--Blue Mesa Reservoir-- sparkled and shimmered in the sun.

Hiking alone is both exciting and meditative. I'm always very aware of my surroundings. I am sure to stay on the path, watch, look and listen carefully, and anticipate the next feast of views that awaits me. It also offers me quiet solitude, each step allowing me to be peacefully in the moment. 

To me, the writing journey feels a bit like this hike.

  • The path is both familiar and unknown. Writing is a calling as much as a profession. When we write, we are exactly where we should be, and yet each day, each new piece of writing, each time we pick up the pen or sit in from of our computer, it is new territory. 
  • We need to stay alert. Marion Roach Smith, in The Memoir Project, encourages writers to be hospitable. Invite the experiences in, note them, meditate on them, and use them in our writing. Just like my hike, there are delicious smells, sights--perhaps good and difficult--to anticipate and store up.
  • Keep our eyes on the Pinnacles. The dictionary offers this as a definition of pinnacle: the highest point, the culmination. The daily hike of writing is a gift, but the ability to write something that will be read and may cause a reader to think, feel, respond, for most writers, is the pinnacle. 
  • And let's not underestimate the comfort of writing companions (or two or three). Yes, furry ones count. 

We've all heard it before: writing is about the journey, not the destination. And I think mostly that's true. But when I hike, I eventually get "there"--the end of the current trail--and when I write, I like to get "there" too. But I know there will always be a new trail to entice me with its promise of adventure, views, and destination.

 

How about you? Is writing a journey with a destination for you? What is your "pinnacle" or goal in writing? What do you pay attention to along the way? We're still in January, the trail is new--keep writing. 

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Comments
  • Sherie Lynn Mullen

    JULIE,

    Writing for me is like painting a picture of my feelings.....frozen in time or right at that moment....Frozen moments, wow a great name for a book. I've done the journey thing as well....and I love that as well.....Enjoy and make memeories, that's all we can take to the rocking chair.

  • Julie Luek

    Jenny, you're invited, for sure. Bring your camera. The scenery here is breath-taking. And then we can see what poems and thoughts of respite you give it on your blog. Can't wait to read it!

  • Julie Luek

    C'mon over Susie. We'll pack a few P&J sandwiches, walk, and contemplate life, spirit and our writing. 

  • Susie Klein

    Julie I am enjoying the hike right along side you! Susie

  • Julie Luek

    Mel, thanks. Yes, being read and hoping the intent of your writing comes through is probably key to us a writers. Well said!

  • M. Kinnel

    Julie, I really think that my goal is just to be read and hope that people get what I'm trying to say in my work. 

    I really love this piece! :)

  • Julie Luek

    Rebecca, I love to hike and walk on my own (furry buddy allowed because he doesn't talk).It is so good for my soul and gives me this time to think-- almost like a meditation. Pulling together this post made me long for warmer weather. It's a tad cold for me to hike much! I think it's great you have so many ideas coming through you. I seem to always be working on a deficit. 

  • Rebecca M. Douglass

    Okay, I'm looking at those pictures and thinking more about hiking than writing. Gee, thanks, Julie :p

    I'm not sure what it means for writing, but I am thinking I need to hike alone a bit more. Though these days, when I hike with the family, I hike alone, because Old Mom is too slow. As for writing--I'm trying to learn to do this essentially solitary task even while surrounded by family.

    And I seem to keep having goals, because I have a steady stream of stories and books coming out of me. I want to learn this year to be a better/more efficient editor.

  • Olga Godim

    Thank you, Julie.

  • Julie Luek

    Olga, Here is her  blog :The Five Year Project

  • Olga Godim

    Julie, what does she write? What is her blog's URL? I'd like to follow it too. Maybe we can learn from each other.

  • Julie Luek

    Olga, I follow a gal on her blog who has an incredibly ambitious goal to make serious money with her writing. I don't know if she'll achieve it, but I admire her plan and determination to make this happen. I wish it wasn't such an issue for writers. I hope you achieve it. 

  • Olga Godim

    My destination seems to be shifting - the farther along I'm on this journey. When I started, I wanted to get 1 story published. When I got my first story in a magazine, my goal expanded - I wanted my novel published. I wanted people to read what I write (still do). Now, after numerous newspaper articles, over a dozen short stories and two novels published, my goal metamorphosed again but this time into the financial field. I want to be able to support myself with my writing. Am I too ambitious? Before, my goal of publication seemed unattainable, but it happened. Maybe my latest goal will come true too? Hope keeps me writing.  

  • Julie Luek

    Morgan, I like this: My only goal is to get it out into the work so it can be shared. That's important to me too. 

  • Morgan Songi

    My writing journeys seem to be led by my unconscious. With often delicious surprises waiting for me after someone else reads the work and points them out to me. Needless to say, I'm kept humble by the process. My only goal is to get it out into the work so it can be shared. Write On!