Roadblocks and Detours, pt 2

I’d had a plan for this entry, and had hoped to post another video blog, which will happen, but not today. After yesterday’s chaos, which Real Life Romance hero summed up as a “crawl underneath the covers head first and pretend The Walking Dead is real” day, I was looking forward to getting everyone off to work, so I could get down to work. Blog, scene due to collaborator, desperately yearning to get out plot board and fix my historical outline, long-neglected emails that have had only a series of “I’ll get to you ASAP” promises because domestic tornadoes keep swiping through, but today…today was going to be The Day To Get Stuff Done. Laughing yet?

Anyone who has been a caregiver long enough knows the “we’re going to the hospital” feel in the air. Easier trip this time than most, quickly seen, quickly sent home, well medicated, hospital-goer now resting and fed, me settled in with Housemate’s computer (aka the family computer until we can remedy the situation) and a cup of tea, because what else would one be having on the last day of June? Ready to write, but what? It’s another unexpected turn in the road, to be home this early on a hospital day, a very good thing, but goes to show how quickly we can become accustomed to routines, even stressful ones.

I’ve told Real Life Romance Hero that I don’t know if I’m going to know what to do with myself when I’m working on a computer where everything works, nothing has to be switched around, and I do not have to rest the keyboard on my :ahem: self when I need to access the touchpad. Actually write books and posts, one would hope. At least that’s the plan, but if I’ve learned one thing about plans, it’s that an old favorite Dutch proverb is of use here: Man plans, God laughs. I’m also reminded of a favorite Polish proverb, “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” which origin story I would love to find out from someone who was there at the time, but I digress.

Digression fits with the whole roadblocks and detours theme. Roadblocks are those things that plop themselves down in our way, cutting off the progress we thought we were ready to make. Detours are the ways we get over, under, around or through them. When we meet a roadblock, we have two options; turn back and end the journey right there, or find a detour. We can choose to get where we want to go by taking another way there.

Sometimes, we learn things by taking a different way there. Maybe we find a better route, or a more scenic one. Maybe we find that the route we never thought we would take is the one we’d like to make the regular one from then on, but never would have even known it existed if the roadblock on the route we always took wasn’t there. Roadblocks aren’t always bad. Sometimes, they’re a clear sign from something/someone bigger than ourselves, saying, “no, not this way,” and sometimes we grouse and kick and scuff our shoes in the dirt, because, dammit, we wanted to go that way.

When I first knew I was a writer, I honestly thought that the only genres open to me were mystery and hard science fiction. Neither are a good fit for me. Romance, though? That’s my home. But I didn’t think it was “allowed.” So I tried and tried and beat my head bloody against a mental brick wall, trying to drum up some enthusiasm, but nothing. So okay. Not those things. Romance. Romance, good. Romance natural. Historical romance as natural as breathing. Even though a good chunk of my current reading is realistic YA, every single time, there’s a part of my brain thinking “this would be amazing set in Prior Era; how would that affect Plot Point or Character?” That’s how I’m wired. So, that’s what I do. Pretty much anything I take in is going to get filtered that way, and I am fine with that.

When I first knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career, I honestly thought there was One Way to do it and it was some trade secret, accessed only to a privileged few. Time and experience taught me that was about as well informed as the only two genres rule above, which is to say, not at all. Must pants, because that’s true creativity. No, must plot, because that’s the only way to have structure. Must count words because that’s what Real Writers Do. Must write linearly because, well, just because, all right. That works for some, but if it doesn’t work for an individual (like the individual writing this blog post, for example) then that’s a big ol’ “detour” sign. If X doesn’t work, try Y. As K.A. Mitchell says, change your seat. Do something else.

If one computer doesn’t access the internet, then that isn’t the internet computer, easy as that. If there’s no H key, get an external keyboard (or only use words without the letter H, which I am sure can be done, but not by me.) Real Life Romance Hero said earlier today that he’s proud of me for slogging through when getting the job done means jumping through electronic hoops, and I am grateful to him for that, but I think the explanation is easy. I don’t have give-up in me when it comes to this writing thing.

My original plan for writing Her Last First Kiss was to make an outline, write the scenes, get a draft done by Date X and…well, no. Man plans, God laughs. Instead, I learned how I’m not really a plotter or a pantser, but a puzzler, and a layered one at that. Find a new thing about story or characters and go back and factor that in and that changes this, which changes the other thing, and that only proves that the story is alive. I can’t drive it to the end, like I’d planned to do, and I can’t let it drag me behind it, but we can work together, this living story and I, going over, under, around and through whatever life throws at us.

2 thoughts on “Roadblocks and Detours, pt 2

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