Out walking the other day, I came across a detour sign – it wasn’t there earlier when I walked past.

Isn’t that like life though – detours turn up unexpectedly.

If you are familiar with the area – you think – okay there’s a detour but I know it will probably mean I’m going along this street and around into that street and then a right and I‘ll be back where I need to be.

In an unfamiliar area you’d have no idea where your vehicle was headed, and you need to trust that the signage will eventually put you back on track.

Sometimes a detour takes you marginally out of your way and other times you go so far from the original path you wonder if you will ever get back. Some detours will show you scenery you didn’t know existed – sometimes the going will get tough and you doubt the wisdom of embarking on the detour – maybe you can still turn back.

Writing can take unexpected detours as well. Some take your story in a totally new and exciting direction. I had no idea the younger brother of the lead male in my current story would have the personality he did – a detour. Then his French backpacker girlfriend arrived at the family dinner with him one night – didn’t see that little detour coming either!

Sometimes you follow an unexpected path but eventually you find it didn’t get you where you needed to be, and you will have to go back and see if there is another way.

I have a love/hate relationship with the GPS, I reluctantly use sometimes in the car.

The detours it employs at times drive me crazy. I often find myself arguing with the voice. We were traveling to a wedding earlier this year and I wasn’t sure which highway exit was best – but I was sure it wasn’t the one the GPS insisted we take – should have trusted my instinct on that one and then let the GPS recalculate and catch up to where I was because we went all ‘around the mulberry bush’.

Ultimately, we ran late and didn’t have time to check in at our hotel and we had to change in the bathroom at the wedding venue.

Writing detours can be every bit as stressful as driving detours.

Oh… a detour.. this quote by John Irvine….

“Along the (writing) way, accidents happen, detours get taken….But these are not ‘divine’ accidents; I don’t believe in those. I believe you have constructive accidents en route through a novel, only because you have mapped a clear way. If you have confidence that you have a clear direction to take, you always have confidence to explore other ways; if they prove to be mere digressions, you’ll recognize them and make the necessary revisions. The more you know about a book, the freer you can be to fool around. The less you know the tighter you get.”

Hmm, okay, so writing, writing and ultimately, more writing after mapping out a path. Of course!

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