Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Path Ahead

Moving forward can be a scary thing. Sometimes the fear of moving forward hits you when you reach the end of one phase and have to start a new one, or the next one. Other times, it's frightening because the way ahead isn't the one you expected, or it was the one you wanted to avoid.

It can be scary, or perhaps nerve-wracking, worrisome, uncertain...we don't know where that path leads, or we think we won't like it, and where we're at right now--hey, it's familiar, why change it? But the path ahead is just that, a path. And when you step off of one and onto another, it's still there. But we won't reach our destination if we stand still.

This post was inspired by Terri Windling's most recent post, "The Path Forward." I read the title--by chance, I found it while thinking about some different paths my life and work can take right now--and even though the details between her post and mine are different, they both felt worth sharing.

I think I've been standing still for too long. Oh sure, I'll go back a ways, retrace my steps, see if there are other paths branching off of the one I'm on, I'll even take a few steps forward, but I'll always go back to that last step at the end of the path. And it's fear. Not just related to writing, but I don't want to be rejected, I don't want to fail, I don't want to put my time and energy into something that won't succeed. And I need to reverse all of that thinking. I need to take the risk and move forward, move past the possibility of failure.

Don't be afraid to take the next path, even if the one you're on right now is really nice, great scenery and no little rocks to get in your shoes. The next one, a new one, or a branching off of the one you were on before--you never know how much better that could be, whether it's the path itself, or the destination at the end, or an even better path at the end of this one.

Near the end of her post, Windling mentioned the term "self-fullness." Not so much being selfish, but being mindful of your own needs. So I encourage anyone feeling that fear of the path's end, feeling uncertainty in the unknown: be mindful of what you need, and make the time to give it to yourself. Then face the end of the path again, and move forward.

Happy writing and happy living, everyone,