Here There Be Dragons...
I've always loved those old maps where the mapmakers scrawled fantastical and toothsome beasts in the blank spaces.
I have a special attraction for maps. I'm not good at reading them, particularly. But the idea of them, the way the lines and colors fit together to try to help us understand where we are, where we've been, where we're headed...
maps tell us where we are, where we've been, where we're headed
Yeah. I get into that.
And that said...
When you are a creative (writer, artist, maker of things, etc etc) there are puh-lenty of people out there who will try to sell you a map. They'll tell you there are Five Steps to Publishing or that there is One Quick Trick to Outlining or Seven Secrets I Wish I Knew or or or...
As creatives, we're attracted to anyone who can tell us they can help us get to our goals and manifest our dreams more quickly. It's so alluring, so gorgeously tempting, to think that there is a Way, a Secret, a Sure Fire Bet that will get us the book, the contract, the bullseye Success we have dreamed of and privately nursed for so long.
There is no good map for creatives.
Loves, there is no map.
One of my clients this morning was grumbling about "wasting a week" writing material he later decided to cut.
"Let's reframe that," I interrupted him (I don't usually interrupt clients but this was an emergency). "That week wasn't wasted. Whether or not the material ends up in your book, you would not be where you are in the process now, you wouldn't have the answers, the knowledge, the confidence to take the next step, without that week spent in trial and error and trying lots of things."
He was upset because the week wasn't to be found on his outline. But any creative adventure is so much more than the plans we make ahead of time. The road to your goals can (and will!) be full of unexpected twists, curious sidetracks, sudden u-turns and other unforeseen and interesting diversions. All of these are part of the work, not in spite of or distractions from.
There will be dragons.
There are dragons of resistance, overwhelm, nasty internal editors and critics, malaise, habit, and old patterns. Some breathe fire. Some hoard unimaginable wealth. Some eat your time, energy, will and passion.
Fortunately, there are also guides along the way who have been on the path a while. That's what I try to do. And I'm so glad to see you out here in the woods, ready to venture another step or two on the path.
Because those dragons? That's how you know where the treasure is.