Riding the Alaskan Bore Wave: Getting it done

Bore Tide Turnagain ArmFrom Birdpoint on Alaska’s Turnagain Arm, I saw my first tidal bore. Earlier that day we took a bus from Whittier, AK to Anchorage and then backtracked to Birdpoint. The bore (fourth highest in the world) can be more than six feet high and travel at 15 miles per hour on high spring tides. The ocean’s natural 12-hour 25-minute tidal cycle is close to Turnagain Arm’s natural resonance frequency, which then reinforces the tide similar to water sloshing in a bathtub. (from Wikipedia)

Alaskan surfers regularly ride the wave from Anchorage. Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpOe8GdtX-I

I did get the fourth Abishag mystery (AN EGGSHELL PRESENT) to beta readers Tuesday. Fresh from watching that bore wave, I did much thinking about the persistence it takes to do this craziness called writing and how using deadlines to publish my work ensures it gets done. I’m more or less on target to publish the four Abishag novellas, the first novella in a missing children series called JACK FELL DOWN, and a novel called OLIVE TOMORROW. The first Abishag novella, SINKING SHIPS, was published last December. The second, INDELIBLE BEATS, was released in January. The third, RIDDLE IN BONES, was out in April. The fourth should be out in early September. JACK FELL DOWN was published July 20th, a few days before I left on the writing cruise where I worked on the next revision of OLIVE TOMORROW and saw the bore wave in Turnagain Arm.


BORE persistanceAges ago, I spoke at a CSU Fullerton seminar on how to publish stories in traditional markets. I said one must write and submit the stories, and then repeat. Again and again. For indie publishing, I still write. Persistence is how I write. Procrastination, negative thinking, story drift, and distractions are how I don’t write. Persistence is how I look over my goals for the day, how I carve out the time to do it, how I open the laptop and write the first sentence, and how I keep going till I finish the last sentence. Persistence carries me through. Nature never fails: every wave looks different, and she creates two every day.


BORE deadlinePrevious years of writing have taught me what I can do and how long it will take me. While the old adage of “it will take longer than you think” always hold true, if I don’t have a target completion date, I won’t hit it. For every project, I have completion dates for the discovery draft, revision draft, copies to the beta readers, comments back from the beta readers, revision with beta comments incorporated, final revision, formatting, and upload for publication. I also have dates for writing the book description and working with a cover artist (or completing the cover myself).

My annual goals enumerate which projects I’ll work on. I make a publication date for each one. I may adjust projects or dates, and I’ve already done that this year, BUT I said I would publish six books and that hasn’t changed.

Nature creates bore waves on a tide schedule. Wind speed and direction only affects the arrivals in size (large or small) and time (no more than 30 minutes early or late).

A lesson well learned by this writer who will repeat for each book project in turn, again and again.

About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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4 Responses to Riding the Alaskan Bore Wave: Getting it done

  1. Rebecca Lang says:

    Tidal bores sound interesting. I wish you’d posted more about your Alaska trip. I’m really proud of how you stick to your schedule. I’m struggling to do that myself.

    • mlknowlden says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. I’ve fallen behind in the past couple of weeks due to circumstances beyond my control. Some in my control. This week I affirm to get back on track. Your comment is an encouragement!

  2. dayya says:

    Excellent post! Persistence (and having deadlines) certainly does pay off, and you’ve set me to thinking about setting objectives and how to achieve them. d:)

    • mlknowlden says:

      Debra: It’s a good time of year to think about what to finish in 2014 and goals to set in 2015. That’s where my mind is going these days. Persistence is the winning ticket!

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