The Writer’s Traffic Circle

The blogging portion of this website perfectly illustrates the title concept of this post.

We all know how the driving circle works. (Hopefully, so nobody gets hurt out there.) When clear, one enters the circle, and drives around it, until reaching the road they need, at which point they exit and continue on their way.

There is nothing to prevent someone from remaining in the circle indefinitely, however. One could, without any physical impediment continue driving legally in a circle for as long as one could. Just ask Clark Griswold from the European Vacation movie.

Doing so would be pointless in real life, despite being worth a chuckle in a movie. But in the writing world, it’s no laughing matter.

Discipline is of course vital to completing any writing project. The work won’t write itself. But life happens, and sometimes we lose the time, the energy, the motivation to write. We should allow ourselves that on occasion.

Yet at some point as we navigate that creative roundabout we must determine why we haven’t exited and continued working. Are we truly unable to write, or are we simply unwilling to write today, this week, this month?

Several things can keep a writer in that traffic circle with poor Clark. A big one for me is readership, especially when it comes to this blog. The cold truth is, few people read this. A few do, and I always appreciate that, but by the metric of a “successful” blog, I do not now, nor have I ever had one. It is what it is.

With a large readership eagerly awaiting my next post, I would, I confess probably post more often. Reaching people who become inspired or educated by my content would represent one of the exits from the circle of not-writing. Without that following, it’s easy to just ease past the road, ease past the next, and be lulled into passivity by a nice circular road trip. Round and round I go.

The metaphor works with any writing. Novels, poetry, essays. It’s easier to write when someone’s reading.

There are other less-than-legit reasons I might stop writing for a while, to be sure. But whichever one we’re talking about, I have to be willing to take the exit into writing at some point. Any of the exits. Because even if the road I wanted is closed, I cannot stay in the circle forever. I can’t wait for the perfect opportunity. I have to “make left” and get the hell out of my own way eventually, and get to some kind of writing.

This blog has been one causality of letting myself get trapped in that circle of doing nothing as I wait for the road full of eager readers.

Yet here I am again. For now. Just as I have gotten off of the circle for a bit and posted my thoughts here today, I hope that you will drive away from whatever manageable obstacles you have that are keeping you in the traffic circle. At least for today.

We’ve all seen Big Ben enough for a while, haven’t we?

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