The weather was kind – no sign of rain – bright and brisk. I needn't have worried about being a lone walker on a treacherous journey through arctic wastes. It was like walking up a mountain-trail version of the M25. Serious mountaineers mixed with welly-boot wearers, dog-walkers, and entire families. The freezing air and tricksome ground soon cleared the merry-makers from the masochists.
|The way up the mountain|
|Reaching the clouds|
At my asthmatic pace it took two hours just to reach the clouds. Then I wasn't sure where I was. I continued ever upwards, following cotton-wool apparitions. I clamboured up a steep set of rocks, and arrived, breathing heavily, at the top of somewhere, to find picnickers sat on a pile of rocks, and other figures disappearing off like ghosts.
I toyed with the silly idea of asking someone where I was. Then I took a photo. By some miracle I found a path down that led off in a different direction. This time I was blissfully alone. The snow was deep and bright. The clouds were clearing. When I could see where I'd been, I was sure I'd done what I'd set out to do!
|View from the top (of Corn Du)|
A few days later, when I looked at my photo, an exact spit of the one in my walking guide, cheerfully labelled Corn Du, I realised I hadn't climbed the right mountain at all.
It was in to this mistaken Mountain climb that I looked for some comfort of writing metaphor. How often do I blindly set off on the wrong path, to find I end up missing the very thing I was aiming for? I am a dab hand at this. I'm thinking in particular of writing in a rush to submit to competitions. The quantity is there but the quality is sadly missing.
|The solitary snowy path|
I have found myself over the last week falling once more in to the trap, for a comp that closes on Monday. And I think, you know what? I've got the words, but I need to be patient. I need to wait for the clouds to clear, make sure my story is heading off on the right path. Then I might be in with a real chance of reaching the right bloomin' summit.
Note: there is a flipside to this mountain metaphor:
The climb up the wrong path does have its own intrinsic value. It's invigorating, good practice for the real thing, and as far as the real wrong mountain was concerned, I wouldn't have missed it for the world!
Monday's humorous look at finding the right name for your characters, with Jenn.
Tuesday's Ten-minute Blog Break with Nick Cross - You won't fail to learn something new and interesting every week from this collection
Thursday's Central East network news from the Cambridge group - this really does show the wonderful benefits of joining a local SCBWI group
Friday's illustrated guide to Scraper boards, with Heather Chapman
Saturday's Celebration of Jan - our wonderful First W&P Blog Editor
Dates for your Diary:
Do pop over to SCBWI British Isles, and have a look through the fabulous range of Masterclasses on offer for both writers and illustrators. Also listed are the various critique groups available around the country - if you can't find what you're looking for, then do please give us a shout here and we'll help to point you in the right direction.
here, and on Twitter @nancyesaunders