My Compelling Vision
The View from Inside My Writing Process
First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
Then there is.
-Donovan, There Is a Mountain
Some mornings, like this morning, it’s difficult to take the next step on the path I’ve chosen. It’s as if heavy fog has rolled in overnight, obscuring the landscape around me. There’s a stillness to the air, and the distant birdsong is muffled and faint.
So much of my life is “on spec” right now. The blog writing. The novel editing. The time spent on various social media platforms. The posting and sharing and commenting and responding. The research. I’m reading advice and following recommendations and making my best guesses and doing what most excites and resonates. I’m learning about keywords and SEO and ebook formatting and distribution channels.
And while it all comes with an immediate personal benefit, because nothing is wasted, it also requires a large dollop of trust, and a modicum of hopeful expectation: that I will make the connections I want and need that will put my writings in the hands of those who want to read them, in such a way that it brings value to us all.
But the path from here to there is filled with peaks and valleys and sharp, blind curves, it seems. And when the fog rolls in, it’s easy to forget where I am and which direction I was heading. And that distant peak I was able to see so clearly the day before, shining like the golden city in the late-afternoon sun, now seems little more than a mirage or fading dream. When you build on spec, you take a risk up front, with no sure promises.
It’s at times like this that I have to stop and consciously remember that dream, bringing it as vividly to mind as I can. Because without that vision, the cold fog would stop me in my tracks. Here on the beginning part of the journey, there’s simply too little camaraderie or feedback to keep me going. Without vision, I’m sunk.
So here’s my vision, shared with you on these pages. It’s as big as I can make it, and bigger. It’s fun, wild-ass, and exciting. It’s worth my doing, and challenging and enticing enough to compel me to take the first step, the step close in, the step I don’t want to take. And I post it here so that those few of you who are sharing this journey with me now can help me to hold it, and keep it in your minds and hearts even when I forget, and remind me of it when the fog rolls in.
We’re three years out. Rumi’s Field has found it’s audience and Imbolc, the third book in the series, is out now as well. All three books of the None So Blind series have hundreds of good Amazon reviews, and are widely available in print and ebook formats through a great many distributors. A non-fiction book, subtitled The Asperger’s Experience, has precipitated out of my blog postings, and that is available as well, and is helping others discover and speak the truths of their own lives. I’ve begun working on a second series of science fiction novels, this one centered on the human-alien hybrid Alice, and her quest to understand her origins and find her place of true belonging in the Cosmos.
But wait, there’s more. Not only am I in the development stages for a Netflix series based on my Asperger’s writings, but I’m about to head to Montreal, to meet with the team of producers, writers, and directors who have just begun filming the first season of All of the Above. I’m so excited, because I’ll finally get to meet Gillian Anderson, who’s playing Linda Travis, and John Cusack, who’s playing Cole. And if I’m really lucky, maybe Robert Downey Jr, who just signed on to play Obie, will show up as well.
Robert Fritz, in The Path of Least Resistance, outlined how you could create a “structural tension” which would compel you along “the path of least resistance” by holding in your being, at the same time, both a clear understanding of exactly where you are in the present time and a clear vision of where you wish to go. As Sally would often add, it’s not what the vision is, but what it does.
All of which resonates. When the fog rolls in, I’m fully immersed in “where I am.” But when I allow myself to bring to mind this fun, fascinating vision of where I might be headed, I end up holding that as well, and can begin to feel the tension, the psychic rubber band that will cause me, even in the fog, to put my foot forward one more step along the path. It may feel like a hill I’m climbing, and the climb may feel difficult, but the great thing about hills is that they rise up out of the fog, and bring you closer to the clear sky, and the sun. And then there, in the distance, that golden peak appears.
And it won’t really matter, when I reach that golden peak, whether it looks, close up, like it looks now, from a distance. Maybe it’ll be bestsellers and Netflix series and lunch with Gillian Anderson. But maybe it’ll be something else. And no matter how it looks on that peak, the path doesn’t really end there anyway. There will be another peak rising up even further down the road, and more foggy mornings along the path.
For now, the vision serves its purpose. I breathe in, breathe out, and put my foot forward. And then I take another breath, and do it again.
photo credit: Freezing Winter Fog in Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire, UK via photopin (license)