I am sitting in my car, 25 minutes early for a meeting. The July sun beats down through the windshields, heating up my legs, encased in protective jeans. The warm breeze floating through the open windows resounds with birdsong and the hum of heavy machinery. I am, of course, at the shelter job site. The site abuts a lumber yard and the school district facilities building.
The highway to the job site has been under construction for weeks. Men and women toiled in the sunshine, digging into the storm drain right under the street. This is a city project and had nothing to do with our project on the hillside. Because of the slowdown to one lane of open traffic at a time, it took me nearly a half hour to travel 2 miles. Construction appears compete, natch. Hence the “early” part of today.
Sitting like a coil of a snake in bumper-to-bumper traffic seldom happens in Shelton. A bit frustrated and muttering under my breath, last week I turned left off onto what I thought was a side road paralleling the main drag. I quickly found railroad tracks and Simpson Lumber! Surprise! Turns out the shortcut I sought led right to Simpson’s parking lot, filled with bearded men in matching white hard hats and safety vests. Go figure. I turned around, sheepish now, and cautiously crept back to the only artery available. A kind soul waved me into the line and I resumed my inchworm-like quest. I squeaked into the weekly meeting right on time. No shortcuts here, sweetheart!
So it is with writing. You need to read and write and read and write and read and write. No substitutions. No trades. It’s you and your muse, whatever he/she looks like and the blank page or screen. You have to put in the time. Anything worth having deserves your full attention. But writing is my dream. What is your dream, and have you found the most direct route to achieve it? Taking shortcuts will only hurt you in the end. If you do need to navigate a U-turn, you can still find your way back from the self-imposed detour. I should know.