The Long, Winding Road

If you knew how long the road ahead was, would you have ventured on?

My husband had the day off yesterday so we drove up the coast to Pismo Beach for brunch. We walked out on the pier, let the kids play in the sand, then headed home the back way, down Highway 1. As we neared Guadalupe, a road sign caught my attention. It was for Oso Flaco Lake, a place I’d never heard of. We decided to check it out, see what we would find.

The road dead ended in a parking lot. We walked down a gravel path that led to a foot bridge that crossed this 75-acre lake. On the other side of the lake, the boardwalk continued for a mile, over a wetland area into the Oceano Dunes. At the end of the trail, we were staring at the Pacific. The wind was howling in our faces, but staring out at this beautiful, protected expanse of sand and water was totally worth the discomfort.

When we started up the road, my son asked how far it was to the lake. None of us had any idea, but we were so excited by each new part of the trail we encountered, that the distance seemed irrelevant. We were just having fun together discovering a new place. When I came home and found out we’d hiked 2.2 miles, I was surprised because honestly, it didn’t feel that far.

My writing journey has been like this. And I wonder, if I had known ahead of time how far I had to go, how much I had to learn, how much ground I had to cover, would I have been overwhelmed? Would I have given up before I started? Would I have been brave enough to keep going?

I don’t know. Because there are still some days when I feel like giving up. But then I read about a friend’s success after eight years of trying to get published and I see other friends announcing their book deals. And I realize I can’t stop trying. Perseverance is key to success and really, the harder you have to work, the more it means in the end. Right?

No matter how long I’m on this road, I’m going to enjoy the journey. And someday, when I’m staring a book deal in the face, I’ll know. Every part of the journey was totally worth it.

19 thoughts on “The Long, Winding Road

  1. Sounds like a fun day exploring!
    When I started writing, I hate to admit how naive I was about it. I seriously thought I'd write a book and it would be published in the next few years. I had now idea how competitive this business was!
    But I will keep at it. And I'm glad you are, too. Our day will come, Sherrie!

  2. It was 8 years for me, too … will be 10 by the time my novel hits the shelves. Our dream is not for the faint of heart and I am so so so glad I didn't give up at year 6 or 7.

  3. I know this feeling. You can't let other people's success bring you down, because they don't take away from your future success! Took me a while to realize this.

  4. When we were kids my mother used to take us on driving adventures all the time. We'd get lost but it didn't matter.

    The long and winding road that leads to your door… wasn't that the Beatles? Well, if it's the door to publication, so be it. I don't care how long or windy it is. I'm on it.

  5. Sounds like we ventured out into the same thrilling wind yesterday. I just about blew away but loved it.
    I had no idea this was such a long journey, either, but I hope to find it adventurous. I sure have met some wonderful people along the way.

  6. What a great post. Just hearing about your little adventure made me long for the ocean.

    And it's a perfect analogy for this whole writing journey. I'll admit that there are many times I feel like giving it all up. Sometimes I take encouragement from the fact that all around me people are selling their novels, many to major publishing houses, and though I'm always thrilled for my friend's success, if I'm honest, sometimes it's disheartening, too, in that always-the-bridesmaid-never-the-bride kind of way.

    But I think we always have to just keep on trucking and look at it the way you did, as the adventure that might just lead you to a beautiful, magical place.

  7. Good words of inspiration! I'm on that same road as you (or a different road pointed in the same direction, you know what I mean), and the journey is worth the end result. Heck, the end result is worth the journey. Sounds like you had an incredible day.

  8. We all travel different paths, and some are shorter or longer than others, but I think you're right that if we persevere we will get somewhere worth the journey. I also think that enjoying the journey is a huge deal, too. I write because I love it, and publishing anything is rewarding, but not the absolutely reward for me. Keep going! I know you're heading somewhere great. 🙂

  9. Great thoughts. It's true, if I had started this process realizing how many re-writes I would have to go through (and I STILL don't know if I'm anywhere near to professional writing quality) I might have given up. But the satisfaction of getting something down on paper keeps me going. And I love discovering new places while traveling, too.

  10. I wonder the same thing…I have a much bigger appreciation for every book, movie, tv show, and magazine article I read now (compared to three years ago when I began my writing journey). I ask myself if I should be doing this, but then what would I do if I didn't write? I don't have a clue…clean? cook?

  11. That sounds like such fun. 🙂

    I've only begun my writing journey, and if I think about how long and arduous it will be (the average seems to be a decade — 10 more years of nonstop writing before I'll even begin to go somewhere!), I'm afraid I might give up. But I'm just looking at the moment, my current project. I'm just enjoying the scenery, and hopefully, the road won't seem so long.

  12. What a great comparison! Sounds like a FANTASTIC day you had. I don't know the answer to that question either. I do know that 'perseverance and patience' has become my personal motto. And, yes … it will definitely be worth it! 🙂

  13. Sherrie! What a great post. I've felt this way so many times. Wondering how long to hang on. I remember an author gave great advice a while back, she said if you're getting good feedback from editors, agents, critique partners, etc, then it's just a matter of time…all you have to do is wait in line for your turn.
    Love that! That totally stuck with me.

    Let's meet up in Pismo or SLO sometime soon!!!

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