Tag Archives: fjords

Northern Lights and New Goals

We got back from our cruise along the Norwegian fjords with the Hurtigruten late Saturday night. While it was a bit on the cold side up there in the Arctic Circle, it was stunningly beautiful trip, made even better by the fact that we saw the northern lights.

This wasn’t just luck, although of course that too played a role. But before I booked, I did a little research into when the northern lights are visible and was very happy to learn that winter is not a prerequisite. Night and clears skies (luck) are. Chances are better when there’s little moonlight. So I checked up on the phases on the moon for September / October. We didn’t want to go when it started to get too cold or the days too short — we wanted to see the fjords too, after all. Then I chose a date where we would be on the ship only during the darkest half of the month.

And we were rewarded.

I think writing goals are a little like that. You figure out what you want and what you can do and you plan accordingly. Luck plays a role too in meeting goals — you can’t plan for sicknesses or family crises or added, unexpected dayjob stress, just as you can’t plan for the sun acting up enough to produce stunning, dancing lights in the night sky. What you can do is take the information at your disposal and plan accordingly.

Unfortunately, I am not as reliable in my word counts as the phases of the moon, but what I do know is that I can produce 500 words a day pretty reliably, unless I get derailed by a major money-making dayjob project where time spent on job = that much more cash. Since I want to push myself a bit, and since I got a good chunk of writing done on the cruise (4500 words, mostly in the last four – five days), I want to aim a bit higher. At the same time, I have a number of writing goals that don’t involve word count, so I can’t aim too high — otherwise I won’t have time to tackle those other projects.

So here are my new goals for the rest of the year:

– Write 5000 words a week
– Get three short stories revised and out on the market
– Update my web page
– Put two new collections of previously published stories up on Smashwords and Amazon
– Get my novel Yseult up on Smashwords and Amazon before Christmas

It’s a lot, but if I can get better organized and cut out a lot of the “frittering” I do online, it’s not too terribly unrealistic, I hope. We’ll see. My goals might soon need some revision. 🙂

Life in the fjord lane

Fjords

We are now cruising north along the coast of Norway on the Hurtigruten. The scenery is amazing, but it’s cold, a lot colder than I expected. We arrived in Bergen and made it to the port with a few delays here and there, but nothing serious. Flying into Bergen above all the mountainous islands was stunning, and I took five or six pictures, even though I’m a jaded flyer and never take pictures out of airplane windows anymore (I usually sit in an aisle seat).

Our ship is one of the newest in the Hurtigruten line, the Midnatsol.

Midnatsol

The cabin is a bit cramped, but the ship itself is spacious, with a large panorama room for watching the fjords so by, and even hot tubs on the deck. We haven’t dared try those yet. We told each other we were waiting for the arctic circle, but we’re past that now and we still haven’t gotten on our swimsuits.

In Ă…lesund, Chris chased me up a hill and a we had amazing views on three sides. Coming down the hill, my knees were killing me, but it was worth it.

From the hill

The next day, our longest stop was in Trondheim. We hiked up another hill; unfortunately, the view wasn’t as good. Trondheim had some funky back streets and the Bryggene, the renovated warehouses on the river, were quite picturesque. A very pleasant city, despite the rain. When we left Trondheim, the sun came out again, and the lighting on some narrow fjords we passed through was striking. After a cloudburst, we even had a rainbow. Then in a village we passed, half-a-dozen people waited on the wharf, waving Norwegian flags and hooting what sounded like Indian yells to greet us. A number of people on the deck hooted cheerily back.

On the fourth day of the cruise, we booked an expedition to Svartisen Glacier, the second largest glacier in Norway. A smaller boat docked onto our Hurtigruten ship in the middle of the fjord, and then off we went, down a side fjord, all the way to the end, where the glacier came nearly down to the water. You could see how much bigger it used to be though from the size of the glacier bed surrounding it. Global warming in action.

In front of Svartisen Glacier

From where the boat docked, we hiked up to the glacier and had lefse (oh, memories of my Norwegian grandma!), hot chocolate, and bubbly with shards of glacier ice. Life is very fine.

Today we had our longest stop, in Tromsø, quite an original. The old town is full of colorful wooden buildings that makes the place feel (to me) much smaller than it actually is, looking in places like a village where time stood still. In reality, Tromsø has 66,000 inhabitants, and the main shopping street, quaint as it is, was bustling with people.

Since Internet on the ship is so slow, I think I’m going to wait on uploading any more pictures until after the trip. I’ll probably just check email occasionally and leave it at that. We have so many stops and there are so many places to explore that I have a lot less leisure time on the boat than expected. I haven’t done any writing on this trip, but I have been busy filling the well, collecting experiences that will feed into my fiction someday.