On the Road (Again)

After being locked in a small room with a big editing project these past months, finally, I’m heading into the wilds again. House Rock Wildlife Area is my destination. The assignment, which I have chosen to accept: Write about watching the area’s wildlife, including (if I’m lucky) its herd of bison.

No pressure, but I have until June 20 to produce about 1,700 words for the September–October issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine.

In an earlier post called “Trust the Process,” I talked about the stage fright I sometimes feel when I start researching a project. It’s the real deal; butterflies in the stomach, along with a conviction that this time, it won’t work. I’ll pick up a pen, set it on a blank page, and … nothing.

The funny thing is, this has never, ever happened to me. I love to write. I can’t think straight without a pen in my hand. I write every day, for work or in the journal I’ve been keeping ever since fourth grade. Blank paper does not scare me. Words don’t fail me.

And yet, I have this fear. I think it has to do with you, reader. I think you scare me. I want to capture and hold your interest. My purpose in writing is to show you what I see, so you will feel what I feel.

If I’m writing about watching wildlife, I want you to feel that reading my story is almost as good as being there. Better yet, I want you to be so moved by my words that you go outside yourself, binoculars in hand.

It’s a lot to ask, of me and of you. So, don’t take this personally, dear reader, but when I get in the car today for the long drive to House Rock, I’m going to forget about you. It’s only for a little while, I promise. I’m going to pretend I’m on vacation, heading up to northern Arizona to watch wildlife, just as any normal person would. I’m going to have myself a good time. And then, when I’m nice and relaxed, when I’ve had a few good experiences and I’m bursting to write about them, we’ll see what happens.

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2 thoughts on “On the Road (Again)

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  1. Professional athletes, singers, actors, etc., all experience stage fright, and writing for us, your readers, is your performance.
    With you as my guide, I’ve met many interesting people who came to life through your words, and I even sat beside you in anticipation of learning if that spider in Sedona was dead or alive! I’ve watch condors soar, seen the beauty of a Trogon, learned more about hummingbirds and where to see them in Arizona, experienced a trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to count fish, visualized myself scraping the bottom of a boat, started buying “Triple Certified Coffee” (after learning the importance of doing so), marveled at the unique beauty and the wildlife that is Arizona, and so much more.
    So bring on the bison and your words. Your audience eagerly awaits another visual experience.

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