True success is a labyrinth.

It takes action. It takes logic. it takes perseverance. And
it takes courage.
the labyrinth
A moving maze

Granted, my experience with labyrinths is pretty much
restricted to a yearly corn maze adventure around Halloween and enjoying some
James Dashner, and his book The Maze Runner
on a cold wintery day, but from what I do know, there are a couple hypotheses I can make.

1) You don’t get out of a labyrinth by sitting curled up in
a corner with your laptop, sucking your thumb for fear of trying, and resolving
to tacet compliance after a few consecutive “failed” attempts.
2) By treating each goal (e.g. “publishing my book”) like a
labyrinth, you stop hopelessly flailing at possibilities and are forced to
think logically about where you have come from, where you are, and where you
have yet to go.
Admittedly I’m being rather hard on you as writers, but to
follow a cliché: it’s because I see the potential that can be reached when you
take the same approach to your writing career as you would a labyrinth. So
stand up, grab a bit of gusto and let’s take this crazy and confusing walk
together for a few minutes.
To the first point, how are you supposed to navigate a
labyrinth if you don’t make an effort? A few people have been very honest on
our blog about sitting on their writing out of fear or uncertainty in
themselves and this is incredibly admirable and brave of you to admit. I
commend you. But I know there are many more of us out there doing that same
thing. It seems like a long rather painstaking process that might not lead us
where we really want to go. What if we get lost along the way? What if we just
get stuck and never see our goal accomplished? What is the point in putting in
all that effort?
Reality Check: You WILL get lost. You WILL get stuck and see
dark corners and challenges that truly seem insurmountable. But there is ALWAYS
a point to the effort.
In a labyrinth, every attempt you make to reach the exit
(your goal)- if you keep track of it- might seem like a failure but in reality
it is one more attempt that acts to teach you that what you tried in that
specific instance was unsuccessful. So, you know not to try that exact same
thing again. Don’t be stubborn. The labyrinth will not be changing for you. Be
smart enough to know that sometimes we have to make subtle or even dramatic
changes to the course we were taking in order to truly reach our goal. Maybe
you only took one wrong turn… but then again, maybe you took every wrong turn
and you’re currently on the exact opposite side of the exit. “That’s okay,” you
tell yourself, “I know that what I want isn’t here, so I can explore other
options.”
To the second point, by treating each goal you have like its
own individual labyrinth, you avoid crossover and inefficiency. We can become
complacent and think that just because something worked for us once or worked
for someone else it will work for us. To quote one of my favourite “break up
books,” “You are not the exception, you’re the RULE.” Occasionally we get lucky
and take every right turn on our first try. But the labyrinth changes for every goal, so you’re only wasting time
thinking it will be as easy taking the exact same route every time.
answer to a maze

I know. That’s more work. But shortcuts are like winning the
lottery. 

There is OF COURSE a chance you could win. But if you do happen to
catch that lucky break, understand that the mathematics of probability say that
you are no more likely to win again just because you won the last time.
Challenge yourself to map out a different route for each goal (even if the
differences are only slight). Not only are you more likely to achieve your goal
in a timely fashion, but you’re more likely to grow from the experience.

Have I lost you yet? The good news is that this labyrinth of
a post is over and hopefully you learned something along the way. Don’t be
afraid to take those first few steps towards whatever your goal may be. Don’t
forget that logic and perseverance are your friend when you are trying to accomplish
your goal. And of course, courage is the only way you will find the strength to
not only start the pursuit of your goals but continue travailing that sometimes
dark, confusing, and overwhelming labyrinth to the eventually light of your own
accomplishment.