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Step 1: Find Adventure – Step 2: Write Book (Part 1)

I’m a man who needs missions. My life revolves around adventure; no matter how small that adventure may be. I am always in search of new challenges, which is how I decided I wanted to write a book a few years back.

My photography takes me on a wide variety of travels for short durations of time. These experiences provide small challenges and a few good stories, which I enjoy sharing with people. Good. Short. Stories.

Not book-worthy stories. Certainly not adventures worthy of writing a many-hundred-paged manuscript about. Although I lacked the adventure, the desire to take on the challenge of book-writing was there.

The problem is I have no idea how to write a many-hundred-paged novel.

I’ve never done it.

I figured it would be entertaining and possibly educational if I took my readers along for the ride; from beginning to end, for better or worse, from brain to binding.

Books are tricky things to complete, especially when you’ve never written one before.

I don’t even know where to start.

I needed to think…

It didn’t take but a day or two of thought to realize the logical starting point was finding an idea. YES! An idea is the best way to start. I needed an idea. I didn’t have one.

I was back thinking.

I asked my wife to think along with me. We were both thinking of an idea for me to use as a basis for my book.

It couldn’t be just any idea, I soon realized. I needed some guidelines. These guidelines would help narrow down the good ideas from the possibly insane ideas.

More thinking …

Nine guidelines took shape fairly quickly; some more obvious than others.


I. This adventure I’m planning will take some time to complete. I wasn’t sure exactly how long, but a book can’t really be written on a weekend’s worth of adventure.

II. Whatever adventure I plan must have minimal risk for being mauled by a bear or other wild creature. And by ‘minimal’ I mean next to none. I just can’t see me spending night after night lying, worrying about animal attack. While the resulting book might be entertaining, the years of therapy I would need to recover would offset that.

III. This adventure can’t be too expensive. Not only can I not afford it, but living in luxury would probably keep me inside by the pool as opposed to outside completing whatever task I set out to accomplish.

IV. It has to be something I actually want to do. Spending a year trailing the Mexican cartel would definitely be interesting, but I’m not so sure I’m cut out for that. I’m thinking more along the lines of something related to travel and photography.

V. This adventure has to have some degree of difficulty to it, or else there’s no challenge, and consequentially not much of a story. Scratch the eating-ice-cream-at-every-Baskin-Robbins-in-California idea. I do love ice cream, though.

VI. It has to be about more than just me. Granted, I do get into some pretty incredible mishaps, and those are plenty entertaining, but people are going to want something more … something informative or educational to break the book up a bit.

VII. Family support. My wife needs to approve of whatever crazy idea I end up with or else I might as well just stay on walkabout forever because I certainly won’t have a place to live.

VIII. My adventure has to happen during the summer months, when I’m not working. This limits my adventure to about 65 days. Everest expeditions last about that long and they write books about those, so 65 days is a good amount of time.

IX. Last, I need to believe I can actually accomplish the task. I’d like to climb a 20,000-foot peak, but I’m pretty sure it would be hard to write a book dead.

With a set of guidelines in place, it’s time to start getting actual ideas. To give a bit of a spoiler alert, I already have the idea, and the next installment will give out that idea as well as a list of the ones that didn’t make the cut.

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Brian Rueb is a north state writer, photographer and educator. Click here to see more of his photography.