Moving Forward, Retracing Steps

What if the only thing you could do was move forward?

But moving forward is moving backward in the opposite direction.

So moving forward isn’t always desirable. Or maybe it is just a metaphor.

Just a metaphor?

Yes, a metaphor, a way of thinking, a rule of thumb, a heuristic.

If you’re on the edge of a cliff, moving forward–even one more step–wouldn’t be so helpful.

So let’s not get too excited about moving foraward to anywhere. Let’s strive for progress, but be thoughtful in our approach.

This is a lesson I’ve learned in writing several unpublished novels and several drafts of a novel I really want to be great. Word count matters, but only up to a point. Eventually, once you have built a habit, word count is a vanity metric, like user signups for an app. Unless the words are good, and they form great sentences, and unless the user signs up and actually tries the app, loves it, then what is the effort for?

This has been the important lesson.

It’s okay to retrace steps, take a magnifying glass to the lonely bit of rubble along the dirt path. There might be something worthwhile about the way it looks, feels, or the way it makes you feel when you hold the earth in your hands.

It’s okay to play. I think sometimes, it’s necessary.

October 30, 2016


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