Ann's News

Writing of Book Two in Puerto Rico

The writing of book two, Diet and Exercise: The Road to Healthy Living and Self-Acceptance, began in the Charleston Airport due to a three hour delay for my flight to Puerto Rico. I never used to be able to do much writing in an airport, but that’s changed in the last few months. I’m more apt to break-out my computer at any opportunity I have, even during the smallest windows of time. Doesn’t matter if all I do is review something already written, or squeeze-out a few new sentences. Writing a book in a month, means I’m tight on time – gotta use every minute I get.

Getting settled in to start Book 2 at the airport

Getting settled in to start Book 2 at the airport

The delayed flight resulted in me arriving to San Juan after 7pm, which meant the rental place I reserved my car from was closed. All the other rental car places, in walking distance to the terminal, either had long lines, or were out of cars. I did a quick look-up on the Expedia and Travelocity apps, but no luck.

Since I wasn’t driving anywhere for a few days, I figured I would try and book again the following day for a different date, for now, I would just take a cab to my hotel in Old San Juan. I asked one of the ladies at the rental car counter how much it would cost for a cab to Old San Juan. I wanted to have a basic price, so I would know if I was being “taken for a ride”. In case you want to know, it’s between $20-25.

Saint John The Baptist Gate "Blesses are those who come in the name of the Lord"

Saint John The Baptist Gate “Blessed are those who come in the name of the Lord”

I met Lily, my cab driver, who was super nice and highly concerned I was traveling alone. She pointed some possible sights I might want to see, as she drove, and also handed me her phone to check-out a picture of her grandchildren. At least she wasn’t texting.

When she dropped me off, she warned me again to watch out for myself and handed me her phone number. She wanted to make sure I had someone to call if anything happened. That was real considerate of her, albeit, unnecessary I thought at the time. While I didn’t need her number, I did come to realize Puerto Rico is not ideal for a woman traveling alone. More about that in another post.

I spent the next couple of days in Old San Juan. My routine for those days comprised of getting up, working out (either run or HIIT training), writing, some sightseeing, and more writing. I loved it. It reminded why I like writing while traveling, I can really breakup my writing with fun things to do and explore.

Doing some writing in an outdoor square in Old San Juan

Doing some writing in an outdoor square in Old San Juan

 

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I averaged 2,500 words a day while in Old San Juan, plus I finalized the book cover design for Men and Sex: Navigating Both Before and After Christ which is now on sale on Amazon.

I found myself in the mountains of Puerto Rico next, in the town of Barranquitas.

The plan for the mountains, was to hike and write, but unfortunately, the constant rain put a damper on that. And speaking of damper, it was a very wet week indeed. It began to feel like everything had a layer of moisture on it; my clothes, the bed covers, my skin.  To make matters worse, the power was out on a regular basis, which made it important to charge my computer when the power was on, and keep an eye on my battery status, so I could keep writing while the power was out. A couple of nights, I wrote in the glow of candlelight. There also wasn’t any wifi, so a few days into my stay, I had to come down the mountain to find internet to access some blog posts on my site.

With all that being said, I still had a nice and productive time. It was a quiet, peaceful, and private place to stay and write.

The view on the large deck was incredible, when it wasn’t raining. I also had wonderful conversations with Magdalena, Arturo’s wife, with whom I was staying (booked through AirBnB).

At one point, I got stuck in my writing. It wasn’t writer’s block, but rather confusing my voice between my assessment of past events and my voice in the blog posts written during the timeframe of those events, I was now recapturing. Magdalena listened to my dilemma, offered perspective, and helped me through it.

I left the mountain, on a sunny day (go figure), and headed for the beach. Given a choice between the mountains and the beach, I’m much more likely to choose the mountains, but Puerto Rico might have converted me. I loved the beaches in Puerto Rico.

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The place I stayed for my final six nights was right on the beach, however, my ability to write and focus there was hindered by the commotion in the house.

It was an awesome beach house with a large bay door that allowed the ocean breeze to blow through the downstairs area, and I went to bed at night listening to the waves. Plus, the couple I stayed with was nice, helpful, and trying to be considerate, but they also had a lot going on. I found some alternate places to work and in the end managed to finish the initial draft a few days before my departure date.

Backyard to the beach house where I spent my last six days

Backyard to the beach house where I spent my last six days

I was in Puerto Rico for a total of 17 days, which turned out to be just about the right amount of time. I think I’ll book my trip for the next book for 21 days to allow myself enough time to write, enjoy some sightseeing, and create a buffer again, in case I find myself challenged by an aspect of writing the book.

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