Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hiking Mt. Timpanogos Doesn't = Writing

Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5th) I joined hundreds, maybe even thousands on one of the several trails leading to the Mt. Timpanogos Summit.  My intention was to hike the trail and use the non-mental time to work out my plots and make some real progress on my current novel.

Insert wammy buzzer here.

New realization.  Hiking such an intense trail requires all my available mental prowess.  Evidently, it's not that much.  Turns out that thinking of my plot when my heart is racing, lungs are heaving and I'm dizzy from the altitude doesn't really work out.  Hiking was such a mental game for me that I rarely even managed the thought process.  Although I promise I tried diligently for hours off and on.

Regardless, I did have a great hike!  It was gorgeous when the sun came up (I started the hike at 2am) and I had some amazing views.  The high meadow was the most photogenic with all the blooming flowers.  The lake (emerald lake I think) was extra blue from all the dye they use on the snow pack.

I also learned a few things.  For one... Kevin J. Anderson is an insanely genius fit superhero to manage to not only hike much higher peaks, but also plot out entire books on these similar adventures.  Not only could I not manage to keep a forward thought, my knees and feet are killing me and my legs are so sore I can barely walk three days later.

I did also learn something more about my self.  Two years ago I tried to summit Mt. Timp as well, but I failed.  I reached the saddle and a tiny bit more, but I couldn't go any further.  I hit my wall.  I had horrid foot wear that tore my feet up.  It took 2 years to heal physically and mentally to be ready to do it again.  But I did.  I learned from my previous experience.  I left earlier.  I got better shoes.  (I still packed in way too much water, a.k.a. weight.)  I tried a longer but more gradual trail.  I pushed past my limits and found success.

I often repeated my mantra on the hike: Relentless Persistence.

Each time I was wore out I pushed on.  Even if it was just a few hundred feet before I had to rest again.  I kept my rests short and under 1 minute.  Just long enough to catch my breath and for my heart to settle down.  Then back on the trail.

I relate this to my writing, because sometimes I'm not very successful, but I never really fail, because I learn from my mistakes.  I get better.  I keep trying and sooner or later I will reach that summit.  I might still be in the lower meadows right now and have one heck of a trail ahead of me, but I know I can make it.  Even if it is one step at a time.

This weekend is the next session of the Festival of Books, held this time at the U of U.  I'll be going to meet Ally Condie, Brandon Mull, Obert Sky and whom ever else plans on coming.  Some times we don't hear about them until it's too late and we're there, but usually more come than the website lists.  I'll see you all there.