Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why writing at high altitude gives me an edge

I live at 7,200 ft, on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. Our winters last approximately from November to May. When people visit us, they get altitude sickness or a nosebleed every time they walk up a flight of stairs. But it's a great place to write. Or at least, I've convinced myself that's true. For one thing, the long winters means more time indoors - sitting at my laptop.

Another thing: ever heard of altitude training? Athletes that spend significant amounts of time at high altitude have an advantage when they compete at low altitudes, because their bodies are thrilled about all the extra oxygen. I'm not sure exactly how this translates to writing, but I like to think it gives me an edge. One can always dream, right?

My journey as a writer

I can't go a more than a few days without writing something - whether its a new chapter, revisions, or venting on my blog about the joys of first drafts and the frustrations of revisions.

I've been journaling ever since I was 9 or 10 years old, and writing stories since about that age, too. I finished my first book in 2000, at which point I started to go to writer's conferences to see how I would go about trying to get it published.

Shortly thereafter I realized that my book had to be completely re-written - it wasn't anywhere near to being fit for publication.I signed up at several on-line writing workshops (one of them was critters.org) and started to get feedback on my writing, which has helped tremendously.

Right about the time I started to get serious about improving my writing, I also started a family. And the family grew. And I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my writing with my family. But thanks to NaNoWriMo I have three novels now in various stages of revision, and a fourth first draft. When I'm not writing, I'm generally either reading to my kids or reading on my own to analyze books for their writing craft.

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