There’s a song I love by the Dixie Chicks. It’s called “The Long Way Around” and it has resonated with me at various times in my life. Why? Well, it’s about someone who feels as if her road to success has meandered, that she doesn’t necessarily follow the same path as others. It’s the anthem of an outsider but someone who is at peace with her journey.
It definitely spoke to me this morning. It may sound trivial but I had a good writing day today. A real writing day during which I got some words down, rather than glaring at my manuscript or revising the same passage for the fiftieth time. That experience has eluded me for some time. For some reason, I haven’t been able to write much over the past few weeks. I’ve made some small dents here and there but progress in the form of a hefty word count remained out of my grasp.
What changed things this morning? Heck, I don’t know. As my husband sometimes says, “A mouse must have farted in the desert.” Whatever the reason, it felt good to get words down on paper.
Someone asked me the other day how many books I’d written. I had to count. It’s 22, by the way, if you count a few short stories along the way.
That person gave me a funny look. You know, the kind that says, “Interesting. And yet you haven’t quit your day job.” (I could be Danielle Steel and I still probably wouldn’t quit my day job, as a matter of fact. Day jobs are important.)
Anyway, it got me thinking that I still have a ways to go, at least, in some people’s opinions. In my own opinion, most days.
Am I doing this the way other writers would, or am I “taking the long way around?” My path certainly seems to meander and not always for the best.
But am I at peace with this journey? Is there really any alternative?
In my new book, A Good Man, the heroine Emily often refers to the wisdom of her Nonna Olivia. The venerable lady always used to say to Emily, “We are where we need to be.” I believe that. Would I like to be in someone else’s shoes? Sure, sometimes I wish I’d been an overnight success. However, you know what they say about the grass being greener on the other side. I believe there is a reason I am here and doing what I’m doing.
I may be taking the long way around but last I checked I still had my feet planted firmly on the road.
And I’m doing my best to enjoy the scenery.