One of the most difficult aspects of the writing life is learning to balance the big picture with the day-to-day.
One moment I’m caught up in the dreamy vision of the finished work. I can sense the story’s potential. In the next I’m distracted by the snarled plot point that won’t unravel. Both are dangerous, and both are good. Our work is done in the tension of the two.
The whole idea behind the Write 100 challenge is to help us manage the dichotomy. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, or even that any of us will be particularly good at it.
So how do we bring them together? How do we navigate the treacherous terrain?
The best thing we can do is not to search for the path of least resistance or even try to wrestle the two viewpoints into submission but to change our attitude.
Imagine if we approached writing as an adventure.
The word adventure is Latin. It comes form the verb advenire which means “to arrive.”
When someone sets out on an adventure (think of any story that features one) he or she often has an outcome or a destination in mind. They are going somewhere. That somewhere may or may not be a fixed place. It might not be a place at all. That destination may change during the course of the story, but the adventure is the process of reaching the arrival moment.
Along the course of an adventure there are many ups and downs. There are moments of assurance when the character (or the writer) is certain of both path and purpose. But there are just as many moments of doubt, of confusion, of getting a little lost along the way. There are climactic moments that offer a glimpse of a possible ending. There are a whole host of ordinary moments of setting one foot in front of the other along a path that continues past the horizon.
In order to arrive, we must set out. We must keep going. We must watch where we step and choose our paths wisely, but we must also keep in mind where we are headed.
You, writer, are an adventurer. It’s not only that you weave tales of adventure with the stroke of your pen. You are on an adventure yourself, right along with your characters. As you write, you are discovering more about yourself, about others, and about the world around you. You practice endurance and perseverance, discipline and dedication. You dream big dreams, and you pursue that vision when you feel like it–and also when you don’t. You are faithful in the little moments and the big moments alike. You take each obstacle, each bend in the road as an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to discover something new. You have set your sights on something worth doing, and you do it.
When you sit down at your desk, you are an adventurer. When you go about your day job, your chores, your errands, your leisure, you are an adventurer then too. A writer’s adventure is not only when he or she is writing. A writer takes on the adventure of life.
It is now Day 97 of our Write 100 group challenge. This has been an adventure of its own. One that is a part of a greater whole. Each of us have our own stories of the Write 100 experience. Each of us encountered different paths.
Take time in these next few days to reflect on where you have been, where you are now, and where you are going next.
Then find some quiet, reach for your notebook and favorite pen, and take the next step on your adventure.
It’s an honor to write with you.
P.S. Our adventure together doesn’t end in a few days. We’re at the end of one stretch of road, but it is one that leads into the next. Let’s continue journeying alongside one another, and remember to watch for important Write 100 announcements coming on Day 100!