Going with the Flow

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.The path to our goals is rarely as straight as we would like. The further out or bigger the goal, the bendy-er and thornier the path seems.

But is this really a bad thing?

Sure, it’s no fun to find that we’ve somehow wandered off the path with no idea how to get back. But, sometimes, there are fascinating places to see out where there are no paths.

Not long ago, I was struggling with my biggest writing goal, finishing my fantasy novel. I loved the story and the characters. I was fairly certain I knew exactly where I wanted it to go…but things just weren’t going. I found myself fighting harder and harder against the inner critic‘s voice and the distraction of another story. I’d worked so hard on my WIP that the idea of shelving it, even for a short time, felt like a massive failure.

After awhile, I just couldn’t deny that my WIP had ground to a halt. Every word felt like pulling teeth and I was losing sight of what made me love the story in first place. I was losing sight of what made me love writing. It seemed like I had to put the project on hold or lose it entirely. So, I did.

I expected to feel terrible about putting my WIP on hold but, instead, I felt free. Free to follow the winding path of another story. Free to enjoy writing again. I’ve wandered far off the path of my original writing goal but I’m not lost. I’m found.

And I will get back on that other path in the near future. By then, the journey might be smoother for all I’ve learned while wandering or there might be new twists and turns awaiting me. One thing is certain, I’ll embrace the path wherever it takes me.

What do you do when you wander off the path to your goal? Do you get right back on or do you enjoy the scenery?

***

The Life List Club is turning 1! In honor, we’re having an extra-special Milestone Party June 29. You’re all invited to join in the fun and answer a question about your own life lists:

What goal on your Life List has held the most surprise or invoked the most unforeseen benefits/changes?

***

Image Attribution (In Order of Appearance):
The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination. by legends2k, on Flickr CC BY 2.0

You can find Sonia at her blog, or on Twitter and Facebook.

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24 responses to “Going with the Flow

  1. I try to enjoy the scenery. I tend to jump from project to project. I’m working on a collection of poetry (foremost) and when I’m not “feeling it,” I go to something else and then come back later, or the next day. I don’t try to force things. There are lots of bumps, holes, and minefields along the way. My goals are the same (mostly), just the path is not always the one I expected.

    • I’m enjoying the scenic route so much more. I used to think that hopping around was a bad thing. I suppose it is if nothing ever gets finished but, if it gives us the freedom to finish several things, it’s a good thing.

  2. Love, love, love this, Sonia! It completely erases any guilt anyone ever had about straying from the path! If the truth be told, I doubt any of us stay on the road all the way to the end. We would miss too much good stuff if we did that!

  3. Sometimes, listening to your heart will lead to the right path. I’ve been on a few paths that led to dead ends and I always end up feeling like I should have been listening. I liked the way you framed this, Sonia!

  4. I actually started a story almost three months ago and thought that’s what I wanted to write. But it wasn’t working. Then, suddenly, this other idea popped in my head, and I knew that one was it. I had no regrets leaving the other behind to pursue the RIGHT one.for me at the time. I may or may not come back to the other one. We’ll see.

  5. I totally think it’s okay to shelve one goal in favor of completing others. 🙂

    With my writing, I am a one project at a time person, so tend to fight my way through the tough spots – with a lot of crying and whining. But that is just me. Personality has so much to do with voice, and technique, and even where we go on our writing journey, I think. No one way is right, as long as we eventually finish the work sometime!

    I read this week that Les Edgerton has something like 29 projects (writing projects!) going on at a time! I would go insane! But for him, that’s what he needs to do.

    • Whoa! Not sure I could handle 29 projects at once…then again, I do handle that many if you count non writing projects. LOL

      I admire stick-to-it-tiveness. At some point, we all have to see things through the hard times. I guess the key is know when we need to shelve and when we need to persevere.

  6. I did worse than get side-tracked. I decided to give up the whole notion of writing because of all the frustrations – until Jillian Dodd sat down and talked with me one Saturday last fall. I’m so glad I listened.

  7. Sonia, I’ve wandered off my goals so often and so far, a routine remedy would be boring.

  8. Sonia,
    A break can allow us to come back refreshed and help us to see where we really want to go more clearly. Thank you for reminding us to enjoy the journey!

  9. I understand this completely. Our journey started in the spring of 2010 when a group of us wrote a novel together. That novel and its sequel has been put on hold. The book reviews and everything else we’re doing is suppose to help us with our initial goal: publishing that novel. I hope it happens one day, but in the meantime, I’m having a blast with every other activity as we learn to promote and support Indie Authors.

    • I hear ya. The blogging has definitely hampered some of my immediate writing but I think it’ll help hugely in the long run. I’ve learned so much already and connected with so many great people.

  10. That makes so much sense. Thanks for reminding us there are more than one way to reach our goals!

  11. I love this \”bite at a time\” idea, Sonia! If we\’ll just break huge goals down into little segments, they will really become attainable. I have learned this so much since my daughter was born, and I thought I would never write again. Now I know that I CAN write; I just have to fit it around her schedule and not my own.

  12. Pingback: It’s all About the Milestone Party « Sonia G Medeiros

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