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Updating Our National Park Book

Updating Our National Park Book

I’ve come to understand why successful authors are fulltime writers.  Writing a book is a fulltime job.  Both Shelly and I already have careers which consume more than forty hours of our week.  No worries though.  Our book is about our passion. When I get the chance to write, i do so with enthusiasm.  Still, the pressures of adulthood have made writing time a precious commodity.Our book is organized into twenty-six chapters.  Each chapter has a two word title.  Some are two word hashtags.  I expect it to be between two hundred fifty and three hundred pages long.  We have identified fifty photographs we want to use although that number will likely be less.  It is not a coffee table book.  As of today I have drafted eleven chapters which we estimate at one hundred fifteen pages. We expect to send the book for editing late in 2017, though that may be optimistic.  A new National Park book introduced this year Lassoing the Sun by Mark Woods took four years to write and publish.  He is a professional journalist who knew what he was doing.  We don’t.

So what is our book about?  Maybe not what our social media friends expect.  We have identified three areas about our 59 National Park journey that are important to us.  Overall, the book is about those things.  First and foremost, the book is about Shelly.  As we have previously noted, it was her trip.  I was just the driver.  Second the book is about the fast friendships we made via social media along the way.  We didn’t expect to meet so many great people on our adventure.  This aspect was the ‘hidden treasure” of our trip.  Third we focus on the National Parks of course.  They were the canvas upon which the story was painted.

Chapter titles are the backbone of the book.  We’ve had so much fun developing them.  The titles have allowed me to remain organized and focused.  Here are a few examples:

The Plan, Charter One

The Plan documents how we came up with the trip idea and how we prepared for the trip.  Readers will see the original plan was far different from what we actually executed.

#ParkChat, Chapter Three

Ben Kieffner (@flow397 on Twitter) and I developed #ParkChat which has become one of the most successful outdoors chats on Twitter.  We launched it on the first day of our journey–April 1st, 2014.

#TheBrush, Chapter Six

This chapter is about the friendship we developed with Adam Noll (@ThatOutdoorGuy on Twitter) and his son Aidan.  Oh yeah.  The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the canvas.

The Grind, Chapter Twelve

This chapter is mostly about some difficulties we experienced in West Virginia.  It also examines the challenges of being on the road for fourteen months.

Kotzebue, Alaska, Chapter Twenty-Four

We finished up our adventure on June 5th, 2015 at Kotzebue.  It was such a unique place to visit that it deserved its own chapter.

Gates of the Arctic

Social media was so important on our 59 National Park Journey.  We learned so much and received important, creative guidance on writing the book.  Just last night Lauren Danner (@WildWithinHer on Twitter) suggested that #ParkChat folks write the book prologues and the blurbs on the inside flap of the book cover in 140 characters or less.  That’s happening.  My great friend, fellow Missourian and #NPS100RoadTrip compadre Jeff Howell (@MissouriHowell on Twitter) opined that the title of the book should be Chasing the Horizon.  That’s happening too.  Thanks Jeff!

Back to work now on Chapter Twelve.


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