Monday, September 15, 2014

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, or My Internal Journey

Hi all

Sorry I've been noticeably absent from this blog lately. I haven't been doing much writing this summer, so I haven't felt I had much to share. I HAVE, however, accomplished a few non-writing things.

I hiked Mt. Washington with my oldest daughter and niece.

I did a 60-mile bicycle ride along the coast in New Hampshire and raised money for Multiple Sclerosis.

I achieved the rank of brown belt at my karate dojo.

I went camping with a friend of mine before he moved away to Arizona, and also went on a separate camping trip with my family.

(NOTE: I didn't put up pictures of my family and friends to protect the innocent, lol. But they were deeply involved in my summer vacation activities.)

But wait. I HAVE done a little writing. In fact, I wrote something sort of outside my comfort zone. I wrote a nonfiction piece. An essay. One of the requirements for my karate brown belt.

For those who know me, I don't like writing nonfiction. I don't usually like reading it either. To me, most nonfiction is boring, mainly because much of what I've read is written dryly, and not much passion is put into it. So I decided to put a little passion into my essay and make it my own. The topic of the essay was "What does Brown Belt mean to me?". I used the old adage "Write what you know" and tried to tie my own journey to obtaining a brown belt in karate to THE journey. You know, the Hero's (or the Heroine's, depending on which applies) Journey. After all, we are all the heroes/heroines of our own stories.

Obtaining a brown belt in karate is a very physically challenging external journey. In fact, it's one of the most physically challenging things I've ever done - even more challenging than hiking Mt. Washington. But what most people probably don't realize is that there's an internal journey that goes on when preparing for a belt test as well. Memorization, focus, and determination are key, obviously, but there are other internal journeys going on as well. Like learning self control, for instance. (I mention this because it's still an ongoing journey with me, lol.) I covered some specific internal journeys in my essay, based on some of the principles taught in class. Maybe at some point I'll post the essay here.

What does this have to do with writing, you ask? Your characters in your stories are also on journeys, and they're not just physical, or external, journeys. They're also on a mental, or internal, journey as well. Your characters all WANT something. Maybe your heroine wants to hike Mt. Washington (her external journey) but is afraid of heights (her internal journey). Maybe your hero really loves this woman and wants to have a relationship with her (his external journey) but has anger management issues that he needs to overcome to make that happen (his internal journey).

So, to my readers: What were your own journeys this summer? What were the external ones, and one internal ones were going on as well? Write some of these down and use some of these ideas for your characters in your story. You'll find your characters will become more realistic, and your stories will have a greater depth to them.

And if anyone would like to share what YOUR journeys were during this past summer vacation, feel free to tell me in the comments.


  1. Just wish we could have spent more time camping. However I am in the process of looking into some locations here in AZ that might be fun to camp and to do some light hiking.

  2. Sounds good, Mr. Anonymous. Still working on a time we can come out there.