Or: When is a Ski Trip Like Writing?
*Disclaimer: despite the title, no hobbits were harmed in the making of this blog post.*
A week ago I was merrily packing for a little ski jaunt up to the beautiful Colorado Rockies. I was planning to catch up with my dad and spend some quality time with my kids. Mountain views and bonding time. Perfect.
Or so I thought.
Turns out that the one time I decide to go on a distant vacation without my husband is also the first time in almost two years that my youngest chooses to get sick. And then kindly passes me her cold. I ended up spending most of my week inside the condo, keeping her company or coughing. When I wasn’t cajoling my son to not give up on his snowboarding lessons.
Still, I did get the quality time I wanted with my dad and kids, even though it wasn’t quite the vacation I’d planned. And the views – even from inside – were truly lovely.
All in all, the week turned out to be a little like writing a novel.
“What’s that?” you ask. “Just how is a no ski ski vacation like writing a novel?”
Well, it is. Kind of. See, when you start out with a blank document and a fresh concept, you probably have some notion about where the whole thing is headed. Even if you’re not a planner, you have a rough idea of the layout of the land and where the ending lies. So you start writing. And then, eventually, you hit the first bumps. Your characters refuse to act the way you want them to. Maybe your minor throwaway guy decides he’s the true villain (more power to you, secret villain!). Or the princess wants to play with ray guns (Pow! Zap! Awesome!). And then the castle turns out to be a trap and the real kingdom is somewhere up above in the clouds and you’re fresh out of flying horses and it starts to rain…
Okay, maybe I got a little carried away. But you get where I’m going, right?
When you’re writing, your mind throws you curveballs all the time. And, much like vacationing with kids, you have to be prepared to roll with it. Your story may not take you along the lines you expected, but it will get there in the end, and who knows? You may just achieve everything you set out to do in the first place.
I can promise you one thing, though. The views will be fantastic.