This summer I’ve begun numerous posts and articles – ideas that haven’t quite gelled. This week alone I started one post on lipstick and another about a news story that I read back in July. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is good at finishing things, taking a project and seeing it through to the end. When it comes to writing for myself, however, it’s not so straightforward.
This morning, Karina and I went for a walk at Mount Misery. As we wandered down its broad trails, we met a friendly, apricot-colored Cockapoo named Goldie. A little later we heard something big running through the trees. It was a white-tailed deer and Karina gave chase. I called and called, until she finally returned to my side.
A minute later, I heard the loud patter of rain hitting the leaves above. Under their shelter, only a few cooling drops made it to the back of my neck.
The rain changed the look of the trail and for a few moments, I wasn’t sure which turn to take. We backtracked, and then I realized we were on the right path after all. That slight change in the light and resulting misstep reminded me that meandering, both in life and in writing, is important—essential, actually.
Those unfinished pieces and half-baked ideas have not been a waste of time. You have to keep working, even when you feel as though you are going nowhere. Regular practice provides us with more opportunities to get lost and then pay attention when we find ourselves on the edge of new territory.
One of the projects I’ve been working on this summer is a piece about an artist I admire. I have learned much from her and her work. Among other things, she has reminded me that making mistakes and following false leads can force you to explore unexpected places. Meandering, wandering, starting and stopping: all good.
Eventually, something will take hold, and you’ll find your way home.