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by Rita Gardner


A few weeks ago on a mountain hike, a friend who has been following my writing journey asked me enthusiastically: “So, now that you’ve finished writing your book, are you in bliss until it gets published?” At the time we were slogging along a very foggy trail on Mt. Tamalpais near San Francisco. While that trek often provides vistas of rolling hills, the blue Pacific and a glimpse of islands far out to sea, we were so shrouded in mist that day I often lost sight of the hikers ahead of me. Not a good idea. On these trails we are cautioned not to get too far behind our group, so as not to accidentally become coyote or mountain lion “bait.”

How to answer her question? All I could mutter at that point was “Umm – no!” Foggy inside and out is how I was feeling that morning in this “phase two” of my path to publication. Phase one was writing the book, which now seems almost like the proverbial walk in the park, even if it ended up taking almost ten years to finish. Until the September 2014 publish date, sometimes I feel as though I’m on a slippery and steep trail, seeing “to-do” lists as obstacles to anything resembling bliss. And so I scramble through the fog of concepts like “marketing strategies, creating a great platform,” and other ideas to increase visibility and – soon – book sales. Having kept some aspects of my life invisible, and being somewhat technology-shy, this is almost as scary as thinking about a cougar potentially lurking at the crest of a nearby hill.

Waterfalls on Tucker Trail

On a more recent hike, however, I was reminded how writing can flow and murmur like a rain-drenched stream. Writing often unleashes a flood that I don’t control; it just takes me for a ride. As it picks me up, I manage to slip over rocks and whirl through eddies, until the words stop, and detour to the safety of the river bank. When I resist the tasks ahead of me, I tend to get dammed up. But, hearing the music of the waterfall reminds me to dip my toes back into the stream of words and see where it will take me next.

And the good news is I’ve have great coaches like my dear friends who urge me onward mentoring by my publicist Kaye McKinzie, and the support of She Writes Press and others.

As we press on to the September 2014 publish date, I realize I’m not alone on the trail leading me through this phase and on the path toward a book in hand. So, thank you everyone!


This piece originally appeared on Rita’s blog and and can be accessed here.


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Rita Gardner grew up on her expatriate family’s coconut farm in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.  Living in a remote coastal village, she was home-schooled and began reading, writing and painting at a young age.  She returned to Florida to finish school and later moved to the bay region of Northern California where she follows her passions – trail hiking, traveling, writing, and photography.  Her published essays, articles, and poems have appeared in literary journals, travel magazines, and newspapers.  She has been awarded residencies at Hedgebrook (Washington) and LitCamp (California.)  She continues to dream in Spanish, dance the merengue, and gather inspiration from the ocean; her favorite color is Caribbean blue.




Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.

Rita Gardner
About Rita Gardner

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