What he did was break the 3.1 mile climb into segments, which he timed. Each segment has a waypoint that we are heading toward. When we reach one waypoint, we can then determine how long it will take us to get to the next one. The whole trip up to the cabin takes us nearly two hours. But the longest segment is only fifteen minutes.
Psychologically, that makes a huge difference.
It's also a time management technique suggested by people like Alan Lakein back in the 1970s. Complex or difficult tasks often get put off because they're just too overwhelming. Climbing that "knoll" or...writing a book...are good examples. Breaking the job into smaller tasks makes the work involved seem doable.
How Are You Going To Make This Analogy Work, Gail?
|Fox Track Connector|
Well, some writers like to begin with a disturbance to the main character's world, something that initiates action. Getting that introduced could be a waypoint, a chunk of work a writer concentrates on instead of focusing on, Oh, my gosh! I have to write a whole book.
Starting a book is actually more difficult than starting this snowshoe climb. The first few waypoints come before the climb. Whereas starting a book is much more of a trail. There's no material there. Find a writing waypoint. That can lead you to the next one.
|Sign For Parizo Trail|
This happens with writing books, too. Some sections are more difficult to come up with material for than others. You may realize you're wandering too much, you haven't been careful about planning a specific goal for a scene, there are too many characters. Finally getting that section done to your satisfaction, at least for now, is a definite waypoint. It's like making a turn after a difficult climb.
|Owl's Howl Trail|
Having a mid-point in mind for a manuscript can be hugely helpful. Some writing process people suggest that a novel's mid-point should be where something specific happens with protagonists. They may make a decision. They may change their behavior for some reason. They may experience a revelation that means they're going to do something. If while you're working on the first half of the book, you can come up with a mid-waypoint, when you get there and you have any positive feelings toward life at all, you're halfway done.
A Dramatic Waypoint. One of our waypoints in the second half of our snowshoe trip involves an area with remnants of a barbed wire fence. When I was little, I ran into a barbed wire with my sled. Yeah, that was a dramatic moment. You can be sure I'm going to notice barbed wire out of the woods.
In the second half of a book, there's going to be at least one dramatic moment of some type. A climax at the very least. That's a writing waypoint.
|End Of The Trail|
And, in my experience, that's what happens when writing a book. There's the ending waypoint, you're all excited, and then you realize, "Shoot. I need another chapter." You get that done and, damn, if you don't need another.
You Finally Meet All Your Waypoints. Whether you're snowshoeing or writing a novel, dividing the job into pieces with waypoints helps makes the job less overwhelming.