Recently, some major life events have caused me to rethink my life plans. I don’t mean the “What movie do you want to see this weekend?” kind of plans, but the “Is this the career that I see myself doing in 10 years?” kind of plans.
In part, these life events are what have led me to consider transitioning into full time writing. Right now, writing plays second fiddle to my medical practice. This decision comes with much soul-searching and weighing of the pros and cons. You know, all of the due diligence that comes with good decision-making. To be honest, I don’t have a clear answer yet, about the right path.
Is there a right path?
Part of the problem is that we get so settled into and comfortable with a certain trajectory in life that a major shift seems too overwhelming to consider. We have an idea about what is on the other side of the mountain we’ve been climbing all of these years, but who knows what’s on the other side of that monstrous peak over there? However, something is telling me that I should take a look. Maybe this mountain that I am currently scaling isn’t the right one after all.
How do you reconcile going in a completely different direction when you have put so much time and energy into the path that you are currently on? What will be lost if you switch gears?
Maybe nothing? Or maybe something will be sacrificed. But chances are, you will gain so much from even considering a new direction.
And you know what? The prize in a journey isn’t just the reward at the end. You gather up all sorts of treasures along the way. These experiences give you wisdom, new perspectives and build your character. When you see that the journey is where the reward lies then you can reconcile going in a completely different direction. You realize that what you have gained along the way puts you in such a better place than where you started.
This is true in our writing and more importantly, in our revising. When is the last time that you scrapped a word, a sentence, a scene, a character or even a whole manuscript?
I recently received a critique on one of my earlier manuscripts during a local SCBWI’s conference. I gained valuable insight and went home that night to work on edits. In a moment of inspiration, I scrapped my original story and started a brand new one.
I think this will be something greater.
Surprisingly, I wasted little time lamenting the previous hours that I had spent pounding on the keys creating what I initially thought was pretty good writing. I briefly mourned the loss of a couple of key characters. Then, I embraced a transformed and more complex main character.
I know this will be something greater.
I have looked at the next monstrous peak, packed up my gear and started my climb from the base.
I imagine that this is how I will approach some of the life changes that I am encountering. In fact, I realize that my previous path has brought me to this place where I am fully prepared to face whatever lies ahead. These paths that we find ourselves on often lay the groundwork for a greater journey that lies ahead.
So go ahead. Change the coordinates in your GPS, whether in writing or in life, and plow ahead into territories unexpected and unknown.
How has your most recent life “rewrite” brought you to a better place?