Nicola Bentley PhotoBy Nicola Bentley

Writing is a lot like hiking, the adventurous, in-for-the-long-haul type.

Preparedness, enthusiasm, and tenacity must be on hand in equal measure and you daren’t start either undertaking without pack-loads of perseverance.

Wading through my scene plan feels similar to a recent week plodding along the mud-ridden West Coast Trail. Seventy-five kilometers of trip-you-up roots, algae-slime beaches and rung-less ladders is like navigating plot development, character traits, and engaging dialogue.

Writing and hiking come with the same physical side effects too – aching shoulders, sore hips, cross-eyed from sleep deprivation. In the creative case because my brain finally starts spewing ideas when my head hits the pillow and in the domed tent version there is little room for me next to broad-shouldered thug.

The self talk is also startlingly repetitive. Both go something like this; Great idea, followed by; I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, followed by; whose damn idea was this anyway?

I know there are rewards to be had from crafting an inspiring story for keen readers. Perhaps it’s similar to the pride of accomplishment at conquering the terrifyingly high Logan Creek Suspension Bridge in sideways rain and finishing the WCT in five and a half days. Maybe it’s more understated; like watching a pod of Orcas play as the rust sun slips into the Pacific.

Either way, I am committed to what I started.

A blank page is waiting and even though my manuscript trail has an unknown length and much mud to navigate, I’ve been on a hike like this before; I can do it again.