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Some writing-related things I pondered today:

I have to follow the story wherever it leads, no matter how far or dark or unexpected or uncharted or difficult the path it takes is, I have to follow the story.

ImageSometimes I am afraid to follow and so I don’t move much from the little clearing that is the start of the path. I attempt some fitful starts, nervous pacing, walk in circles, or I walk down the paved road. I peer into the distance to see if I can catch a glimpse of where the story would go, to see if I can judge from here how far, how difficult, how exhausting, how winding the path.

From the clearing of my starting point I can’t clearly see the path the story will take and I can’t see where it will end. The distance and any details glimmer in the dappled light and are soon obscured completely.

Any height looks daunting when viewed from the bottom. The trick then, if there is one, is to climb. Gauge and prepare, certainly, but in the end I must climb; I must risk falling to see the breath-taking vistas from atop, just as I must follow the story through tangles of forest and seemingly endless prairie and rain-soaked muddy countryside and over the uncertain footing of scree if I am to write honestly.

To remain safe in the valley is to remain in shadow. To remain in the clearing is to miss out on many adventures, many opportunities for wonder and personal growth. (And a strange sense of deja vu just now.)