winding road up mountainThere are two ways to climb a mountain. One way is to charge straight up the slope in a direct line to the destination. But this path can be extremely steep and often treacherous. The other path to the top of a mountain winds around with numerous switchbacks. This allows the traveler to gradually gain altitude while avoiding dangerous spots.

So, how do you know which route to take? Those who thrive on a challenge may be willing to take the risk and plunge ahead to the summit. On the other hand, those with a more cautious bent take time to study the terrain and plot their course carefully before starting out. Even better is to tap into the knowledge of someone with a higher perspective who can see the lay of the land from the top and help chart the easiest course even if it includes a series of hairpin curves. However, no matter which path you take to get there, once you reach the summit, the same scenic panorama awaits.

In my journey toward publication, I jumped right in and charged up the mountain. Momentum carried me only so far and then I hit a dead end. Stuck in the brambles of rejection letters and facing the un-agented cliff, I took a break and stepped back to evaluate a more realistic path. My meandering journey since has included a lot of practice, craft books, critiques, contest results, conferences, queries, more rejections, and accumulating word counts on new projects. The winding road has led me closer to the goal and I’ve caught glimpses of the breath-taking views from the top before the trail turned another corner and ducked back into the trees.

I’m on a winding road but at least I’m making progress. And someday I hope to round a corner and find I have reached the top.

What about you? What mountains are you climbing? Are you more of a direct-route explorer or a winding trail traveler? How did you know what path to take?

Winding Roads and Scenic Views
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