Have you ever noticed that aeroplanes don’t always take off in the direction they want to go? They need a head-wind to give them lift and so they head off into the wind, get up in the sky and then turn in the direction they actually want to go in.
Then, when they’re happily up in the sky, flying towards their destination, they’re off course at least 80% of the time.They are constantly buffeted by winds, updraughts and downdraughts and the pilot has to adjust, adjust and constantly adjust to stay on course.
We’re the same. We often take off in the wrong direction to get where we want to go – starting in abusive families, wrong occupations, wrong relationships, wrong behaviours and/or wrong aspirations. We might not think so at the time but these “wrong” take-offs often give us the lift we need to get up into clear sky. Only then can we get to where we want to be.
With writing, so many people are immobilised by two things:
1. Can’t get started
The comments are sadly consistent: “I don’t know what to write about”, “How do I know what it is that I should be writing about?” and all those other reasons that hold people back from starting. Hey, it doesn’t matter where you start or what you start writing. Just get started.
The aeroplane doesn’t care where it’s going, initially – it starts out using whatever it can to get up there and worries about direction later. So, right now, if you’re stuck, I’d suggest you ride the horse in the direction it’s going, use whatever wind that’s blowing and just start writing. Write what comes easiest, what takes least effort and research and just get revved up and spin your wheels.
2. Being constantly off course.
Many writers (including me) worry that they don’t have a particular niche, a genre that they fit into. One week they’re writing a play, the next week it’s poetry and the following week it’s a horror novel. We’re told by well-meaning people that we should focus and get clear about what we write about, as if it’s supposed to be one darned thing. Some people are built that way but most aren’t. Paulo Cuelho, who has sold over 100,000,000 books, was a successful song-writer and wrote (unsuccessfully) about black magic and he kept on writing till his truly successful writing emerged.
So, like the aeroplane that you are, keep a distant destination in mind and do not be surprised if you find yourself off course most of the time.
You see, I don’t know if you noticed, but over 90% of our aeroplanes (and Paulo Cuelho) get to where they want to be. However, they don’t get there by sitting on the tarmac worrying that the wind’s in the wrong direction today.
Just rev up, spin your wheels, move your pen, write some words and, on this rock I stand, the winds of fate will have you off course 80% of the time and will, eventually, bring you into land with a gentle rush and a happy pilot. Happy flying!