How Many States Have You Visited?

Sightseeing In Twelve States – Reviews & Photos

I’m currently working on a new photo and descriptive text book subtitled 33 Cities Across the USA in an RV.

I’ve always been a traveler, starting with the Air Force life until I was in high school, then following graduation, I set out on my own. Although I moved a lot, it was mostly between two states, Oregon and California. I took a few trips to Mexico and Florida during that time. Then, I retired, sold my house and set out in my motor home and really let loose.

All along, I’d been planning to write reviews of the places I stayed and how amenable they were to travelers with pets. That blog is called Animals Aboard and has about 68 reviews of RV Parks, state parks, and even a little boon docking (camping without hookups). When I realized that I’d seen a number of sites and taken dozens of photos that weren’t RV park related, I began my sightseeing blog.

This new book will be an update of the sightseeing blog, full of descriptions, reviews, and photos of places you can see while on the road, with or without a recreational vehicle. In fact, some of the places were more easily accessible for me after I got a small tow car and I include information in the descriptions about parking availability, no matter how you are traveling.

My plans last year had been to add six new states, the mountain states, but, of course, that didn’t work out. Not in the original plans was settling down but that’s exactly what I did, acquiring a full time RV lot in New Mexico. I still have plans to add reviews and photos to both blogs though. Fingers crossed, I will be able to do my mountain states this year. Toying with the idea of heading to Florida next year. But as we all know, things can change. That’s what makes life interesting.

Look for Sightseeing In Twelve States on Amazon Kindle this spring.

Writing Courses

https://www.pxfuel.com/en/free-photo-jtosb

Have you ever signed up for a writing class, either online or in person? I’ve taken a few over the last couple years since I retired and decided to devote more time to my writing projects. I have either not paid anything or paid under $40, although you can find classes online that go upwards of $400 or $500 per session. I’m not there yet as far as wanting to spend that kind of money but sometimes I’m tempted. 

I’m tempted because I would love to have some professional feedback on what I’m producing. I sometimes feel like I’m writing in a bubble, especially now with only essential businesses open. I joined a writing group last summer while I was in OKC that met once a month. I only attended one meeting. I felt inspired but wasn’t really sure I was getting the kind of feedback I really needed for my personal projects. The workshop consisted of writing from prompts and then going around the room and reading them out loud.

One of the most beneficial freebies I took and actually produced a sizable amount of content was a free online class called The Disobedient Writer. I’m not sure if the whole course is still available for free online. Here’s the link: https://thedisobedientwriter.com.

I’m currently taking a course from Coursera called Writing A Personal Essay. A portion of this series is free if you don’t submit any assignments. Still beneficial if you go through the videos and the writing exercises on your own.

Writing is a dynamic process, whether you’ve published 20 books or are still working on your first novel. I hope in the near future, we will be able to get together again in groups for feedback and support, but until then, it will all be virtual.

A New Long Term Project

I want to introduce something I began working on this week and that I hope will occupy my time for at least the next six months. This project is a series of personal essays and I will be publishing excerpts here on this blog, hopefully on a regular basis.

I am envisioning the end result to be about one hundred personal essays of about 1200 words each. I do have a title in mind already but I’m going to hold off on publicizing that. I am still working on my cozy mystery novels so will actually have two projects going at the same time. It’s nice to be able to breakaway from memory-dumping and self-actualization to some good old-fashioned light-hearted murder mystery shenanigans.

I won’t be posting any of the really raw stuff here. You’ll have to buy the book to get the real dirt. But I will try to make the bits and pieces I do post here of the highest quality. When one decides to take pieces of a writing project and publish on a blog, it becomes real really fast. You can’t change your mind or continue editing. Well, you can but you know what I mean.

I tried to start a memoir almost two years ago but just couldn’t get through more than a couple chapters. I still had some emotional stuff to work out and I didn’t have a real direction. With the personal essay format, I’m hoping that things will come together with more cohesion than previously. I think this will be more in tune with my ADHD tendencies and my writing style, which is more pantster than planner.

And just for fun, this week I started a free online course at Coursera called Writing a Personal Essay from Wesleyan University. Join me! The first assignment isn’t due until November 30.

Projects

Projects are no excuse for not writing. But there are times in one’s life when the “to-do” list just can’t be ignored. I’ve been quite busy since moving to my new state and my new home this month and though I’ve still been able to get a little writing done, writing is not at the forefront of my expended energy.

When you are writing for pleasure and have no accountability other than self-imposed deadlines, finishing up the chores on the daily list are sometimes an easy out. It takes not just a lot of discipline to sit at a typewriter or laptop all day but it can be mentally exhausting as well.

I remember when I was working on my Master’s Thesis through online courses at National University. I was taking care of a house and animals single-handedly and working full time. There were always things that needed to be done, whether inside or outside. And when those were completed, I was usually too exhausted to do anything as mentally challenging as working on a research paper. I fell into a routine of doing most of my writing on Saturday mornings, whilst still in my pajamas and before the rest of the day got in my way.

I was wondering the other day why I felt so busy all the time considering I retired more than two years ago. The list I came up with gave a clue.

  • walk dog 4x a day
  • feed pets 2x a day
  • cook meals and feed myself 3x a day
  • do dishes 2x a day
  • clean cat box 1x a day
  • make bed 1x a day
  • vacuum kitty litter and anything else that needs vacuuming 1x a day (sometimes 2)
  • laundry sorting or putting away (the w/d does the rest by itself) 2x a week
  • clean bathroom and kitchen sinks, counters, etc. 3x a week
  • go to town for groceries and any other shopping 1x a week

And I’m sure there are a whole host of other things I do on a regular basis.

My latest projects that are interfering with the writing are painting a little she shed casita on my property, supervising a deck building project and then getting ready to stain it. Finally, the little casita will have to have all the carpet ripped out and eventually replaced. Sure I could hire someone but a lot of it is work I can do myself. I really don’t mind hiring someone competent to do the work but I’d like to have someone that can do it quickly and professionally and that seems hard to find out here where I ended up.

I have two writing projects right now that I’m going back and forth on. One of them is not creative but is labor intensive, involving scanning, formatting, and typing. The other is creative but I don’t have enough knowledge of the subject to delve too deeply into it until I’ve spent more time here in my new state.

I don’t have to rely on my writing to earn a living and I really do have all the time in the world. For those of you who have deadlines that aren’t self-imposed, I wish you all the luck in the world and hope your day-to-day doesn’t interfere.