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Traffic Patterns and Writing Routes

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Do you remember the last time you went on a vacation that required a lot of driving? My family and I recently made a trip to visit friends and relatives in Pennsylvania. The trip out was easy and uneventful but the trip back home was a bit more complicated. That’s frequently how my writing journey has been and you probably have a few of those trips on your own previous itineraries.

1.      Take it to the limit

The legal speed limit is different depending on what area of the country you may be driving in and I know it’s also different in other countries. We have friends who lived in Morocco and the stories they shared were enough to terrify race car drivers. Okay, maybe not race car drivers but you get the picture. I like the legal limit most of the time but have been known to get a heavy foot. My writing speed could be described as definite slow lane travel. How about you? I’ve admitted in the past that I’m a turtle when it comes to writing. I am finally getting a better personal route to achieving daily or weekly word count after three books. I don’t know how those NaNoWriMo speed demons do it. I’m in awe.

The first sign of trouble came when a police officer detoured everyone on 70 West. We never did find out why but not long after that traffic slowed and then came to a dead stop. We were only about thirty minutes from our next scheduled stop and it took us more than an hour to get there.

2.      Detours

I don’t like detours regarding traffic or writing issues. That’s not to say they aren’t good and are in fact sometimes necessary. We discovered the slow traffic was do to construction efforts. That’s what my writing detours are usually about too. Plot construction, character construction, etc. My current novel, Chameleon, that released in May was a construction nightmare. I wrote in scenes that never quite melded together the way I anticipated and caused me no end of headaches. But eventually I was rewarded with a wonderful novel and a story I think you’ll enjoy.

While we were eating at Bob Evans we asked a couple different people that lived in the area if there was a road that ran parallel to the interstate. We were told by both people that route 40 would get us to Columbus.

3.      Check Your Facts

Don’t take others advice too quickly. We tried. Really we did. We never did find route 40 but we did notice that about 10 minutes out on the very curvy road we were on that the interstate traffic had started to move. We went back and got back on the interstate. No more problems after that, but it had been so frustrating. So even though we’d asked for help we still got lost. Writing is like that. We have to check and double check our facts to make certain we understand where we are really going or we may end up wasting time and turning around.

Have you ever experienced similar frustrations on the road or in your writing routine?


  1. Oh indeed I The M25 here in UK (the ringroad around London) is very eventful. Just like writing, you can be speeding along quite merrily, and then suddenly come to a stop where you could be sitting for 3 to 4 hours with no progress what so ever. Try and take a detour to avoid this road and who knows where you'll end up.

    Great post.

  2. OH my gosh, DRC. 3-4 HOURS!? Now that's awful. You've got to take a detour sometime just for the heck of it and let me know where you end up. Maybe you'll find a new way to get around, or not. :) I wonder how many drivers run out of gas in that situation? Thanks for dropping by.