Monday, September 14, 2009

Needing Direction

On Saturday I climbed into my Xterra to drive a couple of hours in Seattle-esque weather to the cozy town of Chandler, Ok. Even though I'd been awake since 4:58, I was in a good mood because I was heading to Oklahoma's SCBWI fall conference. This organization always provided valuable information and great speakers. Once my bag and drink and phone were all in their travel-ready positions, I realized my GPS was missing.

No problem, I thought. I had printed directions off the computer the night before just in case weather caused satellite interference. I was prepared.

So, I went on my way. An hour into the journey I realized that I could have been in the same place in half an hour if I'd taken a left, instead of a right, when I turned out of my driveway.

No problem, I thought. In fact, I was a tad smug that my geographically challened self had discovered this fact without the aid of maps or computers.

Twenty minutes later, I panicked. My missing GPS had not dinged and announced, "Recalculating" as it often did when I took a wrong turn. Instead, my inner GPS (which should rarely be trusted) announced, "Are you sure you're going the right way?" In The Middle of Nowhere did not seem like a good place for a turnpike exit, so I whipped out my iPhone and plugged in directions. (Yes, I pulled over before doing so.) My heart beat in a way that had nothing to do with morning caffeine. The GPS on the phone told me I was on an entirely different road than any near the directions I was attempting to follow.

After thirty five minutes, a frustrating conversation with a guy at a gas station, and a quick chat with a police officer, I learned if I'd driven a few seconds longer and actually gone over the hill I would have seen the exit. I was on the right track all along.

After another quick stop to ask directions, I arrived and enjoyed some good sessions.

During the conference, self-doubt crept in regarding my writing and my current project. However, as I've written this I've realized the lesson in metaphor the driving experience was.

If you've created a good map, don't listen to self-doubt or secondary directions. Trust yourself.

Excuse me. I need to get my outline and work on my novel.

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