Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Choosing the Right Path

At some stage in our writing career, we're likely to come to a fork in the road. A  place where we have to make decisions. Most of the time, these will be small ones: Should I call my protagonist Katie or Ella? Should I write another chapter of my novel or write a magazine story? Would it really matter if I spent the day writing in my dressing gown? 

When this happens, we'll take a little detour and then find our way back to that familiar road.

But, just sometimes, we might see a new path. One which is less defined - its edges overgrown and its destinations hazy. It's seductive. Seductive because it's new. Different. At the same time, its unfamiliarity scares us. 

We look at that path and compare it to the one we're on. This path is comfortable. It's wide and we know where it's going because we've been down it many times before. Why not stay on it? 

It's safe. 

It's familiar.

But then a voice says... take that chance. You might not know it yet but between the weeds on its margins, wild orchids may be growing - orchids you've never seen before. At the end of that new untrodden path, there might also be a rainbow. Who knows until you go down it?

Once, while walking Bonnie, I found myself at this waymark. I could have taken my usual route but something made me stop and think. Why not take the unfamiliar route? It might be longer but, who knows, it might be better.

So I took the path less trodden and, though wild, it was beautiful. That was in February 2012 - the very day I learnt that the school I was teaching in was going to close. It was the year my life changed and I became a writer. I never regretted taking that path. 

This week, Bonnie and I found a field with waist-high meadow grass. A path snaked through it and it was enticing but I was wearing walking sandals and there were thistles and brambles. Eventually, it was Bonnie who decided to take that tiny track through the grass and I followed. 

If I hadn't, I wouldn't have found this. 

Is it any wonder my all time favourite poem is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both...

Sometimes when we come to that fork in the road we have to make difficult choices. The next time, I won't hesitate... I'll know which path I'll follow.


  1. What a lovely post, Wendy x

  2. An intriguing post, Wendy. Life is all about decisions and turning points and often it isn't until afterwards that you can see the full significance. You sound as if you might be at something of a cross-roads right now. If you are, follow your heart. Sending good wishes xxx

  3. I agree - a lovely post and a lovely picture too. (In my case, if I'm not writing... well, my friends and family get long letters instead...!)

    1. I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a letter, Penny.

  4. Kirsten Hesketh26 June 2018 at 11:29

    Lovely post. I really enjoyed it xx

  5. Hmm, Wendy, this is intriguing! I look forward to hear more in due course!

    1. This writing life is full of twists and turns.

  6. Sometimes there's no good path – as with the change at Woman's Weekly. Their new terms are totally unfair and I can't accept them, to do so would be to cheat myself and all other womagwriters, as the changes won't stop here. It does however mean losing one of my biggest markets, sometthing that I can't really afford. I just have to keep reminding myself that my self respect is worth more to me than the money I've lost.

  7. Yes, those changes are certainly disconcerting, Patsy.

  8. How lovely. There are wild orchids where we ride (nearly over now) and we were so excited to find bee orchids last year. We visited them again this year. Yours is a beauty.

  9. A lovely, thought-provoking post, Wendy - thank you.