Can you feel the lure?
Just whisper those two words to me and I’m tempted to walk away from all of my responsibilities, pack a bag, buy some snacks, and cue up the music. My heart sings to me of freedom, adventure, and the discovery of new and interesting places.
On the contrary, heading for a specific destination on a timeline is misery. Within a couple of hours I revert to my six year old self and begin subjecting myself and everyone else in the car to a spate of obnoxious whining.
“Are we there yet?”
“Can we stop? My butt’s gone numb.”
“I have to go to the bathroom.”
“Are we there yet?”
As I’ve grown older I’ve learned to tweak my expectations and my thought processes. Sometimes, even a destination trip can become about the journey, and I’m able to refrain from counting down the miles and measuring the time between rest stops. Just because I have somewhere I know I need to be doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the journey. Or so I try to tell myself.
I want my writing journey to be a road trip. As long as I remember that it’s all an experience and I’ll be traveling until the day I die, I’m happy. Each new story I create is adventure. Anything that happens with sales or recognition is a stop of interest along the way. Delays, road construction, car trouble? No big deal. There’s so much to see and explore and we can always take the scenic route.
But sometimes I start focusing on a goal instead, and then the journey is not so happy.
I stress because other drivers are making better time, or because somebody who started long after me has already reached the finish line. A detour or road construction sign feels personal – specifically and deliberately designed to slow me down. All I can think about is where I think I want to be, and how long it’s taking to get there.
This isn’t fun.
And it should be fun, I think. Recently I’ve made a decision to embrace the journey and remember that writing enriches my life. Being published is awesome. Being able to make a living off of my writing would be even more awesome. But I write because of the places the words can take me and the adventure to be found along the way.
As I write this, the tunes are queued up, the snacks ready at hand, and I’m feeling the heady rush of freedom as I venture off into another stretch of unknown road.