Are We There Yet?

This is the summer of the road trip. Last year, My mom and I took the boyz on a glorious, fun-filled, action-packed 36-hour (thank Heaven for in-car DVD players) road trip up to Ohio to visit my brother and his family. It was fun, even if my mom did insist on taking her two-pound toothless chihuahua (aptly named Booger) and even though I had to drive every single mile of the way in Stepdad’s truck, hauling a caravan. We stopped a lot (the joy of not taking a grown man with you on a road trip is you never have to apologize for needing a pit stop every 75 miles) and had a blast.

Dave got jealous, since he had to stay home and work. To make up for it, this summer, Dave and I are taking the boys on a 10 day fun-filled journey through Fort Davis, Texas, to White Sands, New Mexico, Santa Fe, and back through Carlsbad Caverns. (Also, we’ll hit Taos, and some other places, natch). I can’t wait. And no, I’m not kidding. Some of my most amazing memories are from the road trips my parents took with me and the sibs when we were little. Of course, for them, that was the only vacation option, since money was an issue. We roughed it. (New topic beginning next week: Why I Hate Camping, the First Installment in a Fifty-Part Series.) Dave and I will be staying in hotels every night. Ah, showers and beds. Bliss.

Anyway, I was thinking about road trips and writing novels, and how they’re pretty similar for me. I mean, when I let myself, I enjoy the writing process – even the tricky parts – as much or more than getting to the end. You know, that “Eureka!” feeling? When I realize that where your subconscious (ah, clever, precious subconscious Nikki, how I love you) has taken the plot, is so much cooler than where you might have steered it? It’s the same feeling you get when you look out the window and see a triple rainbow arching over the flat West Texas plains. Holy cow! What a surprise. What a blessing.

And, of course, there are all those moments when you’re slogging along – driving through the metaphorical rain of the manuscript – when all you can think is “Are we there yet?” Even the flat tires (cardboard characters!), and busted timing belts (pacing issues!) turn into really funny stories, um, ten years later or so. I hope.

All this to say, I think I’m there. I just got Blessing in Disguise back from my last beta reader. (Betas are like triple rainbows, too, infinitely precious. Mwa!) I think it’s time to pack this one up. Just one more read-aloud, a few more miles… tomorrow I have to hop back on the Gingerbread Express, and see if I can finish yet another first draft before June! I hope revising that one is as rewarding as the last one has been.

Any fun vacation plans, Friends? Or even long-winded metaphors about writing and traveling? LOL

Write well!

Posted in Children's Fiction, People I Love on 05/21/2010 01:29 pm


  1. My kids hate road trips because we always lived so far from the rest of our family. When they were little they had to spend way too many precious weekends in the car. Now, if we proposed a road trip they’d probably run away. In fact, I could probably use the threat of a road trip to trick them into doing things for me. Whoa! Why have I not thought of this before? Nikki, you are a veritable cornucopia of innovative parenting inspiration. Oh, how I love knowing you.


  2. Road trips! I’m sure my parents regret them. We were wild and left candy wrappers in our motor home beds. It’s not fun to wake up with sugar ants blazing a trail across your leg, but we never seemed to learn.

    You can milk the writing as road trip idea. We could talk about running out of gas, picking up hitch hikers . . . Loved that triple rainbow image, though. Makes me want to visit West Texas and hope for some beautiful rough draft surprises.


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