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Between the Move: The Long Solitary Roadtrip

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Something I wish someone told me about 13 hour drives is just how long it actually feels.

I mean yeah, already 13 hours doing anything seems like a monumental task, but we only know that because we relate it to things like Overtime at work or a long day of school. Even then they don’t come out to a full 13 hours.

A blockbuster film ranges anywhere between 1.5 to 2.5 hours at a given time. A football game, professional or not, can last anywhere between 2-4 hours. Reading a small paperback takes between 3-5 hours at most. Heck even the audiobook for Game of Thrones comes out to 8 hours. I would know. I listened to it during my first day of driving.

Granted I have been on many road trips before. My family would often travel to Mexico when i was younger, or go across the states for god knows whatever adventure we wanted. Not once did the length ever seem unmanageable, but then again, I always had a book or a gameboy, and lots of company.

This time, I was on my own. That means I had to take care of things on my own. No dad to pump gas. No mother to provide snacks. No older sister to pester for countless hours. Nope. If I wanted entertainment, I needed to do it myself. And believe me, for thirteen hours at the wheel, that is much harder than it sounds.

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Heart of the Mojave, Nevada

One thing I was thankful for, going from California to Grand Junction, CO. was a very pretty trip. During this particular leg I visited 5 states, and passed countless natural landmarks. You can always tells the deserts apart, for Arizona is always red, Nevada is always yellow, and Utah is a greedy and grandeoise mix of both.

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Outside Midvale, Utah

It was for this reason I was thankful my journey began this way. For one thing it provided many beautiful sights I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. It was also a fantastic distraction from the crushing reality of moving away from home.

Trust me, when you’re alone for that long, your mind has a way of letting these things creep up on you.

To combat this I made sure to keep my mind occupied. Playing mental games, listening to audiobooks, heck even putting your mp3 player on shuffle and letting it go is a great way to distract yourself. Thanks to that I rediscovered my love for certain bands I had long forgotten.

Here are a few songs I found in the depth of my playlist. Wherever you are they’re all worth a listen:

Another thing thing they don’t tell you about long solo road trips is how starved for conversation you become. Think about it, humans are typically social creatures. Even the most hardcore introvert loves a stirring discussion. Sadly, I learned I am very much an extroverted man, for I often made stops just to talk to people at convenient stores.

I must have looked pretty obvious to one particular teller in Utah:

“On a long trip?” he asked while stuffing my third pack of gum into a bag.

“Yeah, how could you tell?” I said, lifting my sunglasses to my uncombed hair.

“You’ve spent more time chatting with me than buying your things.”

I turned around and realized I was holding up a rather sizable line for a gas station. So, with a smile and a thanks, I took off.

Colorado

Colorado

All that being said, I did have a blast driving. What made it particularly memorable were the people I got to see and talk to. Many I saw in passing, able to exchange an all too brief hi-bye before my schedule tore me in another direction. Others I spoke through bluetooth (i’m not a reckless driver), and offered hours of much needed conversation.

Then, there were the ones I got to see in person. Again, when you’ve been in a car for far too long, human interaction seems like a blessing. I could spend an entire thousand more blog entries on these people, but by now y’all are probably tired of reading. I don’t blame you, but can you imagine you’ve likely been reading for five minutes?

Thhat would mean you’d probably have to read this blog entry at least 156 times to make 13 hours. Frankly I can think of many better things you could do with your time.

So, rather than fizzle out, i’ll show you what the rest of my trip looked like.

The still beautiful but abandoned Dana College

The still beautiful but abandoned Dana College

The cheapest gas i've seen this side of the Mississippi.

The cheapest gas i’ve seen this side of the Mississippi.

Beautiful Iowa

Beautiful Iowa

Rainbow in Decorah, Iowa.

Rainbow in Decorah, Iowa.

Summerfest in Milwaukee Iowa, with my friend Bret.

Summerfest in Milwaukee Iowa, with my friend Bret.

Switchfoot live. What a concert.

Switchfoot live. What a concert.

The Minneapolis Skyline

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Anyhow, that was a look into my journey. In the following weeks I should return to posting commentary on writing, reading, and overall geekery. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns post them in the section below.

Until next time

 

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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Fear of Writing – The Shitty First Draft

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For those of you who know me, this might come as a shock but i’m usually hit with writer’s block every single day. I get up, pop open whatever canvas I plan to use, and smile wide with the “I’m gonna get down and dirty with you” look I usually have and… nothing.

Then comes the denial (Oh come on. I can totally get started. I’m just having trouble is all.)

Then comes anger (Why can’t I write? What the ****!)

Then comes the bargaining (Oh great and powerful writing gods, I will sacrifice twenty sheets of paper in your honor if you grant me the muse.)

Then comes the depression (Why *hits wall* am *hits wall* I *hits wall* doing *hits wall* this? *hits wall and stays there*).

This used to be where I would stop and turn on the tv instead. This cycle would stick with me every single day, and eventually I gave up writing. The struggle to put my thoughts on a page became to daunting, too frightening, that for a while I felt I was unworthy of the written word in all it’s forms.

This was two years ago, and it would probably be my reality now if it weren’t for some fantastic advice.

My creative writing Professor assigned us a book called Bird By Bird, a short novella in which Anne Lamott, the author, talks about the trials and tribulations of writing. In it she talks about writers block, and not being afraid of the “Shitty First Draft.”

Because the book is currently on loan, I shall attempt to paraphrase here: A Shitty First Draft is essentially that first draft you write. You may say “but not all first drafts suck,” and that might be true, but for me I’ve never written a first draft that didn’t make me cringe. That being said, Anne Lamott reminds us that it’s okay to write that first draft, and you know why? Because, like the foundation for an amazing building, your Shitty First Draft puts the ground work for all your thoughts and ideas. It’s kinda like admitting your faults in an argument so no one can use them against you.

Is it terrible? Probably. But that’s no reason to be ashamed. As writers it’s that first draft that’s the greatest hurdle; the proverbial “single step” on a journey of a thousand miles. It seems daunting but no one said writing was easy. Each day we write we regurgitate our souls into words and that can be pretty terrifying.

With this in mind, I finally manage to make it to the “Acceptance” stage of writing (Okay i’m scared, but let’s see what comes of this. I can always redo what I wrote.) Funny enough, I found that most of our Writer’s Block comes from the fear of not doing well the first time around. Once we realize this fear our ability to write and rewrite becomes that much more acceptable. Heck, sometimes it even pays to say “I’m going to write the first things that come to mind and nothing is going to stop me.”

It all might seem very daunting but trust me, once you take that leap of faith into your Shitty First Draft writing becomes a significantly more enjoyable process. Until you get to editing of course, but that’s a story for another time.


So, do any of you have a fear of writing your first draft? How do you get past it? What other things seem to gunk up your writing? Questions, comments, and discussions in the comments please.

Otherwise, happy writing my friends.

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2013 in On Writng, Uncategorized

 

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First Contact – Hello from Zach

Hey everyone, this is Write-Minded Razo, a blog managed by a recent college grad with a degree in English Writing.

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Typically I introduce myself to internet strangers by talking about my life and things I love. Seeing as I have an About page for that I suppose that won’t be entirely necessary. Still I feel it would be a complete waste of my reader’s time if all I did was ramble in circles about things I do or don’t want to do.

So let’s start afresh shall we? Ahem.

Writing is my passion. I know the phrase “X is my passion” get thrown around a lot but for me I can honestly say this is completely true. Last night I awoke about  2 in the morning simply to write down a sentence that came to me in my sleep. Nothing gets me going on a conversation like writing techniques or story telling. You could call it an obsession of sorts, but it hasn’t caused too many problems with my outside life. However, like a good book or a recent, mindblowing experience, writing is always at the forefront of my mind.

So that’s where this blog comes in. A friend of mine, who runs the blog emilyramos.wordpress.com, told me I should set this up as an online journal with which to share my ideas. She was but one person who encouraged me to make this blog, and as such I feel i’d be doing a great disservice to myself if I didn’t engage the writing community in some way. So that’s where we are now.

Now, i’m not conceited enough to think my ideas and thoughts are a godsend to the writing community (i’ve met enough of those people to know that). I am but one writer with opinions, thoughts, stories, and feelings in a sea of people. However, if my thoughts could inspire more people to pursue their passion, or intrigue others enough to learn more about this life, then I will be content.

I hope this was a satisfactory introduction. I will update every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday with my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and ideas. I hope it is as beneficial to you all as it is to me.

In closing: thank you for checking out my blog. I hope you stick around for the adventure.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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