The Next Project



Earlier this week I formally submitted the confirmation for my acceptance into the Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing Program. This has been a professional goal of mine for such a long time now that I’m astonished to have finally made it this point in my career. But that begs the question that must plague the mind of every professional writer as much as it does mine, what happens next?

At the age of 47 it could be said that I am in the middle of my career as a writer. Having finished by first book The Adventure Gap, which comes out in October, you might think that I’m well on my way toward a promising future. But as many of you may know from your own experience, writing a book, especially your first one, is only half the battle. In the weeks and months, perhaps years to come I will be pressed to make sure that an audience of fans are encouraged to read it.

In the world of Internet-based instant online literature distribution, I am incredibly fortunate to have received a traditional book deal. My publisher the Mountaineers Books out of Seattle Washington granted me a generous advance, 4 different editors, a small budget for a speaking tour and a healthy percentage of the sale price of each copy on the back-end. I have much to be grateful for. And in these days leading up the release date I am eager to explore every conceivable option when it comes to exposing my work to receptive readers willing to pay the cover price. I’m open to suggestions.

Over the course of the next several weeks in this blog I hope engage in a conversation with both professional and prospective writers who can offer me and others who follow along some advice on how they might write and market a book of their own. And in the process I intend to reveal a bit of my journey so far and map out the course of progress toward completing my next project, which I will begin this fall in the Canadian Rockies.

The Banff Center is a beautiful facility in the heart of one of the most beautiful National Parks in the world. Managed with the support of several nonprofit organizations and agencies of the Canadian Government it is the largest arts and creativity incubator in the world. More than 8,000 artists across many disciplines that include dance, painting, sculpture, acting, filmmaking, music, sound design and writing visit the Center every year to study. And this year I am very proud to be one of them.
This is actually the third time I have applied to Banff. Having visited the Center several times over the past six years I have cultivated an abiding passion for this incredible place and the excellent works of art that it has made possible. Every year at the Banff Mountain Film Festival I’ve gotten a tiny glimpse into this world of adventure and creative expression where I so desperately want to belong.

In 2012 I had submitted an early draft of The Adventure Gap for consideration in the program. And though my application made it as far as the wait-list it was ultimately denied and I didn’t get in. Despite my disappointment, I persisted. Through the following year I worked on my own to finish my book and continued my career in writing and journalism.

A year later with the manuscript entering its first round of editing I found myself once again at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Between movie screenings and lectures through the week I polished up a few chapters here and there in preparation for submission to my publisher. At one of the many receptions hosted during the festival I was approached by Tony Whittome, a senior faculty member of the Banff Mountain & Wilderness Writing Program. After exchanging pleasantries over wine and cheese he paid me perhaps the greatest compliment I have ever received as a writer.

“We’ve been hearing such wonderful things about your forthcoming book,” said the distinguished English Gentleman. “And we deeply regret not having accepted you into the program when last applied. I assure you, if you were to apply for the program next year we will expedite your application with all due haste!”

A bit taken aback and profoundly grateful I thanked him for his gracious encouragement. But at the time with a book in progress I suspected then that it might be a bit too soon to consider the prospects of writing another one. Now several months later is seems clear to me that a writer today is really only as good as his next project and it’s time for me to start working on my mine. And while I am preparing for the release and promotion of The Adventure Gap this fall I am also beginning a new trip through the world of literature, a place where I believe I now belong.

The Joy Trip Project is made possible thank to the support of fan on 

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.