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I’ve committed this week to walking every day, part of my writing inspiration and wellbeing. In the northeast US that’s a pretty big commitment in February–especially for someone who traces her ancestors back to the dessert.
What could be better inspiration for a writer than walking in nature, though? And my walk, ultimately, brought me powerful metaphors for the writing path.
I walked a leave-strewn path to Narragansett Bay where I spotted harbor seals sunning themselves on the rocks above the water line. I picked up a few shells–pearly wampum and a perfect whelk. I took a moment to be still and watch the sun dance on the near-still water.
As I neared the seals, I saw someone duck into a different path, one I’d taken years ago. Hmmm. Should I? I knew there were decision points on that path, and no memory of how I would choose the right path at those points.
But an inner prompting told me to trust. Take the path. I knew I’d likely end up lost, but I trusted that inner guidance. Several times along the way, I questioned the wisdom, but I knew I could turn back if I got truly lost in moving forward.
Hmmm. What’s that path there? Lots of leaves. Probably not as well traveled. I’ll stay on this path. How about the next one? Pretty leafy, as well.
I don’t remember these ponds here. Uh oh. This part looks foreign. And this foundation–some old building or mill? No. I’ve never been on this path. Not in this lifetime.
But my inner guidance told me to continue. I did. Eventually, I could hear the traffic of Old Boston Neck Road. And I found my way back to the wide main path, just before the parking lot.
Writing is like that. Our inner voice, our muse, often asks us to step out in faith and take a new path. My well-worn path is book proposals and self-help books. But my inner prompting has asked me to write a children’s book. I’ve been mucking around and losing my way on this new path.
It went from picture book to early readers and now I’m thinking it may be a middle grade novel. Which means completely rewriting it again. And it feels so uncomfortable. I’ve even hired my share of editors to help me with this new genre, but I’m still lost. And it seems I’ll need to continue to listen for my muse, look for its writing inspiration to tell me where to step next.
How about you? Are you being asked to step into an unfamiliar path in your writing? Are you willing to trust your muse? Trust that you can do it? Have you taken a step? Or are you waiting for a sign? Share your stories, inspiration (and questions) here!