Start Without a Destination
I just finished writing what was supposed to be a “travel writing” piece that you might pitch to a newspaper or magazine about night kayaking in Puerto Rico. It was supposed to be about the moonlit bubbles that you only see in a handful places in the world thanks to some weirdo bacteria that lives in the water and when you splash your hands in the water at night, it lights up like a sparkler on new year’s eve. It’s really quite impressive.
But I barely even got there. As I was working my way towards the fourteenth wonder of the world, my son said something that moved me so much I couldn’t get past it.
OK, fine, start with a destination, but allow yourself to detour.
I was truly trying to do the journalist thing with useful and compelling information, a bit of story, and then addresses of kayaking companies complete with seasonal schedules. But I just couldn’t do it. OK, fine, I’ll get the address in, but it’s the whole cliche “journey not the destination” bit. The evening wasn’t about the glittery bubbles as much as it was getting to the glittery bubbles. It was the two-and-a-half-hour trek through the highway jungle to get there, counting the number of Burger Kings (13) and the number of police cars with lights ablaze we saw the entire night (38). It was the comments from the kids, the peanut-butter-and-mango-jelly-that-turned-into-dinner snack, it was the Find My Friends app actually Finding Our Friends. The GPS that knew only two streets on the whole island–and not where we came from or where we were going.
Maybe it’s actually a problem. Maybe if I mapped out or outlined my work more accurately, these detours would be less “problematic.” Or maybe at least less drastic. Maybe they’d be smaller and shorter. Not completely change the tack of the ship. Maybe I can try outlining more. Maybe I can try not to. Maybe I’m doing OK just writing for now.