Living near the mountains of Colorado, my dog and I spend a large portion of our time walking the many nature trails in the area. We start at the trail head and make our way to the desired destination. Marley Barley doesn’t really care where we’re going, just as long as he gets to run and hopefully wade in a river. I, on the other hand, have planned our route, how long it will take and how far we’re going before the heat of the day. Marley’s end goal: Fun! Fun! Fun! My end goal: Exercise. A tired retriever puppy. Coffee on the back patio in peace.
We see signs along the way, warning us to “stay on the trail.” Why? Sometimes the park is trying to revive the delicate native vegetation. Other times (like this year), we have an abundance of snakes and coyotes. Staying on the trail keeps us moving in the right direction toward our end goal. It also keeps us safe. Another huge benefit some folks seem to forget at least once a week (you see them on the news), staying on the trail also prevents you from getting lost. I feel for these folks. Been there. Not hiking, but on a different kind of trail.
Writers, Artists, Musicians and others who create wonderful things usually have one project which nags at them until it comes into being. I’m not sure if it nags you after it’s out there waving its arms. Haven’t gotten there yet. Mine is an epic fantasy book series I started back in 2004. Writing like a crazy woman, I finished the entire series from beginning to the big “The End” of the last book. What happened? Why isn’t the series listed with my other books? I wandered off the trail.
Creative folks are bombarded with a multitude of voices pushing us with criticism or pulling us with advice given with good intentions. These voices make it difficult to stay on the trail leading to our end goal. Doubt or desperation causes us to wander off the trail into the weeds. There are lessons out there in the wilderness. Some hone your survival skills. Other lessons take you to different trails to achieve unexpected goals. And when you do finally come out of the wilderness, you aren’t the same. This is the point to re-evaluate your original trail. Do you get back on or walk away?
I chose to roll up my sleeves, tighten my hiking boots and start down the trail again. The end goal is in sight! Coming in January 2016.