Riding the Silk Road, 2002-2009)

Riding the Silk Road, 2002-2009)
Where it all began: Xian, May 2002

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

First draft done!!

Lipah, Bali, January 30, 2018
2002:  Camped outside Xian beside a Han-dynasty imperial tomb
It has been a long time since I posted, but today is a good day for my Silk Road ride project, so it's time to share the good news.  This afternoon I finished the first draft of my book about cycling the length of the Silk Road.  I hit "save" on the last chapter and then added up all the word counts.  I have written just short of 168,000 words, which is probably about 50,000 too many, so there will be a lot of painful cuts to make over the coming months ("You've got to be willing to kill your babies", as my writing friend Kat used to say), but the hardest, longest slog is over.  I am very, very excited about taking the project to the next stage, and about undertaking the hardest task of all:  trying to sell the book to a publisher.  Stay tuned for further updates!
Older gentleman at the Yellow River bridge near Lanzhou, 2002
Perfect campsite in Kyrgyzstan, 2004
A few days ago, I found out that another book is being published today by a Canadian author, Kate Harris, about cycling the Silk Road.  When I first heard the news, I thought "Damn!  I've been scooped!", but now I think that the book sounds very different in its outlook and style, and that if it is successful, it will open up an ecological niche in the Canadian publishing market for another book (by me!) on the Silk Road.  It's acted as a bit of a kick in the pants for me, forcing me to get serious about getting the book published.
The spirit of bike touring:  northwest Kyrgyzstan, 2004
Grunting my way up the pass into Tusheti, 2009
It has been a fabulous few months for me, although it started with a very sad process, the decline and death of my father from March until June of last year.  I ended up here in Bali at the beginning of August, living in the fabulously situated house that my partner Terri has here on the northeast corner of the island, scuba diving and writing.  I started to write seriously near the end of August, throughout September and October and halfway through November.  I stopped mid-November in order to go do my dive instructor course and then to work as an instructor in Raja Ampat, only getting back here in mid-January.  The last two weeks have been very rainy here, so it has made it easy to buckle down and finish the final draft in one long push.  I have really enjoyed the project of turning my diary entries, my blog posts, my photos and my memories into something readable and, I hope, inspirational.

I hope to be done rewriting the book by July.  With any luck, I will have sold the book by then, in which case I can look forward to sharing it with you, my faithful readers, and (I hope) thousands of other readers.  Fingers crossed!

Magical Tusheti and its towers, 2009

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