ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Writing and Life Update

Updated on August 6, 2013

Going to the mountains to work on my second book

I have spent the last couple of days getting some peace and solitude in one of my favorite places on earth: our family cabin in the mountains. And among other things, I have gained a deeper understanding of two simple truths, both of which will sound a bit cliché. Of course, there is a reason why simple truths become clichés, as I will now demonstrate with a third cliché: the most important truths are simple.

First, I have learned that you gain a deeper appreciation of things when you almost lose them. Just a couple of weeks ago, a huge forest fire was raging just a few miles from where I now sit. The town, in fact, was evacuated, but thanks to the hard work and bravery of thousands of firefighters, our little spot in the woods was saved. Other than the loss of family and friends, there would be few things more personally tragic than the loss of this place. I have literally been coming here from birth, and I hope that it can be passed on to my kids, grandkids, and beyond. So I appreciate my little visit a bit more today than I might have one month ago.

Second, I have learned that I like being a husband and father. These past couple of days have been fantastic. I have had peace and quiet. I have not been called away or distracted a single time by my wife, kids, dog, the need to do housework, the phone, or anything else. I have gotten more writing done over the last two days than over the previous three months. A part of me is thinking that I could get used to this. But even after only a couple of days, I can see that this would get old fast. The last nineteen years of marriage, and particularly the past twelve years of fatherhood, have often been busy, stressful, chaotic, exhausting, and frustrating. But they have never been boring or lonely. This is not to say that the single life is inherently boring and lonely. But I think that it would be for me. So after I get this little solitude/writing binge out of the way, I plan to spend the rest of this summer vacation focused on family.

Speaking of writing, you may (although probably not) have noticed that I haven’t written any blogs/hubs for about a month or so, which is the longest drought that I have had since I started blogging almost four years ago. There are various reasons for this – see previous paragraph – but this little break was partly an experiment to see if I would miss writing. Writing takes a lot of time and mental energy, after all, and there has not been much of a practical payoff. So I’ve been thinking that it might be wise to invest my limited time in other ways.

I originally started blogging for the fun of it, as a mental exercise, and partly because I felt that many years of teaching, reading, and living might have given me some insights worth sharing. I quickly concluded that I enjoyed writing and might even be pretty good at it, so good, in fact, that I could possibly make a little money doing it. I also eventually realized that I had compiled enough history-related posts to put an American History book together. As an American History instructor at the community college level, this book could also be an added teaching tool. So I published the book almost two years ago, and in addition to bringing in a little extra income, I have had several students tell me how much it has helped them in my classes. Meanwhile, I have kept writing for the various motives written above and to also promote my little book.

So having reached this little crossroads, I have decided that I want to continue with this writing project. I don’t know if anyone else would notice if I stopped writing, but it has become clear to me that I would miss it. So I came up with a plan, a plan that I have began to implement up here in the mountains. Having gone through what I have written over the past couple of years, I realized that I almost have enough to come out with a new, improved, expanded edition of my book. There were a few topics where I needed to add some essays, however, but the amount of work still remaining is not too daunting of a task.

The problem is that I have a very busy semester coming up, as I will be teaching seven classes at three schools. So time for any heavy writing will be limited. I therefore decided, with my family’s blessing, to come up here and try to crank out some rough drafts of essays that have been kicking around in my head and that will fill these historical gaps. Then, when the busy fall semester starts, I can spend my time revising rather than generating essays, which can more easily be done in the little windows of time that I will have than it takes to write something new.

Over the last couple of days, I have written five rough drafts of historical essays and this little update that you are reading now. I will soon return home, kick back, and focus on family for the next couple of weeks, periodically posting these rough drafts in the hopes of getting some feedback. Then, if all goes to plan, I will spend the time that I can muster during the fall semester revising and/or updating essays in hopes of publishing the second edition of Accessible American History early next year.

In the mean time, my Facebook book page – just search Accessible American History to find it – will have links to the rough drafts of my American History essays that will eventually find their way into my second book. I recently created this page both for my students and in hopes of maybe selling a few more books. So I would appreciate any feedback that you can give. Thanks for reading, and I hope that you’ll check out my book when it’s done.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)