When I took my driver’s course many years ago, two pieces of advice stuck in my mind.
One, don’t drive over a pig. Apparently, they’re the most dangerous animal to run over because they won’t flatten like a pancake but retain their round shape. If you hit a pig, your car will rise off the ground and flip over. So be nice to pigs.
Two, drive like a race car driver. If your car starts to skid toward a tree, ditch, or other unwanted obstacle, keep your eyes where you want to go. It’s your best chance of avoiding a nasty collision. You’ll instinctively steer your car out of trouble just by shifting your attention where you want to go.
I’m bringing this up now because we just had another foot of wet, slippery, spring snow yesterday. Although it’s very pretty, I almost ended up in the ditch as I drove back from work. Luckily, my instructor’s advice popped in my head, and I was able to keep my eyes glued to the road and not to the fast approaching ditch on my crazy, out-of-control slide down the biggest hill in the area.
This morning, as I thought back on my scary near-miss, I was struck by how that second piece of advice also applies to other parts of my life, like writing for example. Because if you don’t keep your eyes where you want to go then how will you ever get there? It’s more likely you’ll end up mired in a totally unsatisfying writing rut.
Maybe you want to focus on a specific type of writing. You’d like to write children’s picture books, say, but never seem to find the time to take that class, research publishers, or get to know key people in the industry. Or maybe you dream of earning a higher income but keep writing for content mills instead of taking a chance and approaching higher-paying markets. If that’s the case, you’re aiming straight for that ditch. And don’t expect to get out of it anytime soon.
So, where do you want your writing to take you? Figure it out then simply take whatever steps are necessary to keep you heading in the right direction.
And remember, watch out for pigs!