Writing: The Ultimate Adventure of the Mind
I love stories. I love the outdoors. Therefore I love outdoor adventure stories. While I’ve read many, I’m avidly following the two adventurers attempting to trek across Antarctica. American Colin O’Brady and Englishman Louis Rudd are on parallel solo journeys to see who makes it first. They are utterly unsupported and unassisted as they pull their 300-pound sleds filled with food and supplies about a thousand miles, boots on the snow and ice from Messner, across the South Pole, to reach the Ross Ice Shelf in seventy days.
No one has made this journey on foot before without support and/or assistance, which reminded me of the kind of challenge a novelist faces. You pull that sled that is your story day after day, uphill and down, into the fierce wind, through snow and sleet storms, hoping to type the last sentence and The End. The intellectual commitment and desire for accomplishment are no different from an outdoors adventurer’s, no matter how arduous. The writer has to go it alone, too, mind on the story and characters, fingers on the keys, slogging through every problem and interruption that are part of life. It’s hard work, and even when the manuscript is finished, it’s not and you know it. There is always much more work to be done. So in most instances we authors settle for the feeling of accomplishment, unaided and unsupported by anyone else, because no one else really knows what it took for us to get this book written.