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This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#IWSG: Ask Arlee: Getting Off a Plane in Flight

      Sometimes I get a bit insecure about how quickly time seems to pass.  Can you believe another summer is almost over and it's already August?   In addition to that, today is the first Wednesday in August and that means it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.   Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting #IWSG every month.  Be sure to visit his site for more information.

Ask Arlee: 
 How do I get off when I've already started?

        Periodically I present my Ask Arlee feature in which I answer questions submitted by readers.   If you have a question you'd like me to explore, please include it in the comments and I'll try to take a stab at it in some future Ask Arlee post.  

         Today's question comes from Gregg Metcalf who asks:

The problem I would like solved is how do I get off a non-stop flight?

        Now, of course, I realize that Gregg was just jesting a bit, but he does raise an interesting question with #IWSG implications.  Maybe I'm finding metaphorical meaning wherever I can, but that's part of what writing is all about isn't it?

         Once you're on the plane there's no getting off.  The airlines are not in the habit of handing out parachutes to disgruntled passengers.   However if you're in the middle of a novel and decide you want to bail out then that's doable.  Would you want to though?   If you've conjured the dream and started putting the effort to put that dream into written form, it can be difficult to leave the work behind.  Then again, if you no longer believe in what you're doing, maybe jumping ship is the right thing to do before you keep investing in a sinking vessel.

          I have several works that I've put on hold for one reason or another.  I'm not quite ready to bail on any of them, but I can't bring myself to finish either.  Yeah, I know a lot of solutions, the main one being "just do it!", but--well, I don't know.  Excuses, excuses--and none of them really very good.

          When I set out on my current vacation I had travel options open to me, one being travel by air.  I didn't like that option because it's too darn confining and rigid.  A road trip gives me flexibility and lets me travel at my own pace.  I don't have to worry about getting off of the non-stop flight because I can stop all that I like.  And I can combine multiple trips with different endpoints.   Roadtripping is fun because it provides more freedom.

           The bottom line is that writing is like taking a road trip.   You follow the journey for as long as you like and map the route out as whim takes you.  Sure there are always some confining factors to consider, but if you're the driver (or the trip planner) you are limited by your means and dreams.

          My writing dream is infinite, but eventually I'm going to have to take one of my projects home.  Wandering in the desert for forty years like the Israelites looking for the Promised Land seems to be part of my nature.  But I know it's time to go home.

           Now to figure out which home to go to and how I'm going to get there.  


         Battle of the Bands

        My previous Battle of the Bands results will be posted this Friday August 8th.   If you haven't voted yet you can do so until Thursday (August 7th) afternoon.   Please visit my Battle between two versions of an ethereal jazz tune.  To vote on this click here.

          Do you have a problem finishing projects?  Do you tend to have more than one project going at the same time?   When traveling do you prefer flying or driving?    Why?


  1. I have more than one writing projects and craft projects on the go. I find it helps to be able to make progress on one, when another is not going so well.
    I am also part way through reading a few books!
    Your analogy works well, Lee.

  2. Wandering in the desert - that's one of the reasons I spend so much time plotting. My stories would indeed wander into the desert and never return if I didn't.

  3. Lee, I hope you do zero in on one of your books and take it to the finish line. I'd love to see what you've written.

  4. I always have more than one story I'm writing and like four books I'm reading at a time! I prefer to FLY over driving to my destinations--I have kids. The quicker the travel time the better;-)

  5. The only way to learn to write an ending is to write some.

  6. I always have several projects started at once, but I focus on one the most and work on that until it's done. Then I move to the next one that needs my attention the most. When I struggle with writer's block, that's when I work on something else for a while.

  7. I love the way you related writing to taking a road trip. Some people can study the map, take the freeway and go from point A to point B and not deviate to their destination. Good for them. Others will take the longer route often the roads forgotten. It may be hilly and their may be turns here and there but one stays the course even when the road turns left and then right. It may take you longer but you get there. Still others will take that same journey but go off on other roads because they saw something that tickled their fancy. One may even get lost but eventually you get to where you want to may take 3 days longer than the first one but one gets there. Each have their own way. I have a feeling you are # 3 but you love the journey and love to be side tracked. I believe you will finally get to the destination:)

  8. I don't often struggle with finishing projects, but I do find myself pulled in many directions, which can be frustrating. Sometimes, it just takes focus.


  9. Hi Arlee, I have several novels that I started but just could not write beyond a few chapters. They have all been put on the back burner to be worked on at some later point.

  10. There definitely comes a time when you have to "get there."

  11. I try to always finish projects...even if they are left around for years (except a Mt. Rainier cross stitch that's 2/3 done and hasn't been touched in 10 years). I also routinely have craft projects going in the craft room, livingroom and kitchen. I move between them as I wait for each one to dry.

    As for travel, I'll take driving any day if you have the time. You see more, and it's more comfortable. Flying in the 21st century sucks.

  12. I had to put aside a novel I'd been working on for several years (and for many reasons) but I don't think I'll ever completely give up on it. I think every idea is worth saving, even if you don't believe in it at the moment.

  13. I've got some books on hiatus, but I'll definitely be returning to them. I've even been inspired to resurrect some characters I last worked with over 20 years ago. If I remembered them and their stories all these years, they were meant to be. It just wasn't the right time yet to bring them to fruition when I was so young.

  14. Having more than one project in the works keeps me from getting bored with any one WIP.

    I wrote a novel for 2013 NaNoWriMo, planning to take my writing in a bit different direction. After long months of contemplation, I decided to move forward with my original series instead. I did my own NaNo in Jun/Jul and have 69K words for the new WIP.

    No writing "goes to waste" though.


  15. Having more than one project in the works keeps me from getting bored with any one WIP.

    I wrote a novel for 2013 NaNo, planning to take my writing in a bit different direction. Then, after months of contemplation, I decided to stick with my original series. I did my own NaNo in Jun/Jul and have 69K words toward my next novel.

    No writing is "a waste of time" though.


  16. I have more than one story IP and I'm not making progress on any of 'um.:(

  17. Don't remind me this year is flying by. HOW?!?!?!

  18. Sue-- I wrote this on the fly.

    Alex-- I've been driving through the desert all day today and now I'm home--at my house.

    Karen-- I'd like for a few people to see what I've written, but see it in a book.

    Jennifer -- Flying is fast but it's also pretty annoying sometimes.

    L.Diane-- I've written lots of endings and many beginnings. Now for the middle and I'll have an Oreo.


  19. Chrys -- I don't get writers block, but I tend to go around the block a lot.

    Birgit-- I always get to where I want when I'm roadtripping. Guess I'll manage with my writing as well.

    Loni-- Focus? What's that?

    Rachna -- I know that feeling.

    Andrew -- I'll get there when I stop getting so distracted.

    JoJo-- You and I are of the same mind on travel I think.

    Sarah -- I totally agree with your thought on ideas.


  20. Carrie Anne-- If you liked it once then there must be something to it.

    Gail-- Writing is like food. Don't forget the starving people in the world.

    HR-- Let's go out and celebrate! Margarita's anyone?

    Patricia--Ah, my misspent youth--wherever did you go?


  21. Hi, Lee! Smart that you've decided to prevent anonymous comments from appearing--I receive tons of them every day!

    As for your post, there was a book where I was gung ho and was nearly done (reaching the climax), then suddenly, I lost all interest and shelved it! Strange, isn't it?

    I do have many starts (seedlings), along with summaries and stuff, but those are for when I am done with my current books. I work on them one at a time and almost always finish a book once I start it!

    I'd rather drive than go by plane--less hassle with long lines and stuff. :P


  22. Loved how you handled the questions Lee :)

  23. Hi Arlee... I have to admit that the title of this one caught my eye a bit! Actually, the most spectacular way to get off a non-stop flight is to be sufficiently horrible and rude to the flight attendant. Then you can either get off before you start (with some "special" escorts) or, if you're horrible enough, the crew will make a special landing just for you to get off (with "special" escorts), or you can have those same "special" escorts when you reach the original destination! Thankfully that doesn't happen too often!!

    Anyway, you were talking metaphorically, and mostly about writing. I'm not really a "writer", just a "blogger" but I think your metaphor pertains to other projects, too... so to answer what you've "tossed out" :

    Do you have a problem finishing projects? Sometimes. I go through phases with stuff. I have several unfinished knitting projects and a closet full of yarn because I am not currently in a "knitting phase." I imagine I'll get back to it one day.

    Do you tend to have more than one project going at the same time? Yes! I read several books at once, I am currently trying to learn the art of Zentangle, I spend a ton of time learning French (where I am also reading several things concurrently, in the middle of two video series, and have several half-finished posts for my blog in French), and of course, my blog is always a project in process, too. I have a handful of "drafts" which I do think I will either finish or trash one day very soon.

    When traveling do you prefer flying or driving? Why? Generally I prefer driving if possible. I also hate hotels because it just feels like I'm at work. I choose B&B or vacation rentals.
    I'm not a fan of going to the airport on my days off. I don't like riding in the "back" very much, with the rest of the passengers. Mostly, I hate listening to the conversations floating around me, whether I am in uniform or not. There is one in a million passengers who ever has anything positive or nice to say about traveling by air. It gets old. Yes, I've heard every flying horror story that you can dream up, and I've spent more hours in an airport in one year than you probably will in your whole life. Yes, I understand that it's not pleasant or exciting anymore because of TSA and cramped planes, and companies nickel-and-diming you to death, but *none of that is under my control or the control of my flight attendants*! We don't do things specifically to target a particular passenger. Delays happen. Mechanical issues happen. Weather happens. We do the best we can. Our butts are on the airplane too, and you can bet your own butt that we won't take off or do anything unsafe because *our butts are more important to us than your butt* (not to be rude, but self-preservation is human nature :-) ) If you are hot because you are in a metal tube on the ground in Phoenix in August...guess what? We are hot too. If we could fix that, don't you think we would? And speaking of metal tubes, you should be more amazed because, in the words of comedian Louis C.K. "You're sitting in a chair, in the sky!"

    Sorry, Arlee. Rant over. I promise to behave now. I think I'll go finish a "work-in-progress" of some sort :-)

  24. Elizabeth-- I guess what you've experienced with your writing is a good argument for putting a work on the shelf for a while before proceeding with the steps to publication. Fire can die down when left unattended and if you can't rekindle it maybe it wasn't so hot to begin with.

    Donna-- Thanks!

    Forty-- Well, wow! You really tackled this topic. I certainly have more unfinished projects than just my writing as well as many former dreams never fulfilled.
    "Sitting in a chair in the sky" wouldn't be so bad if I were in total control, but I'm in a chair connected with a bunch of other people and we're all at the mercy of others. I wanna go where I wanna go when I wanna go and not have to be so close to other people. Don't mind hotels so much because I like the idea of in and out short stays as I move on.


  25. My husband and I were just talking about how the year has been flying by. Seems to go faster and faster the older we get.

    Don't care for flying anymore. Would rather drive to wherever we need to or want to go. Then we can stop whenever we feel the need or want.

  26. I haven't flown since Eastern Airlines went belly up.

    Lord do I have problems completing things. You should see my monster slush pile. All kind of goodies in it.

    Father Nature's Corner

  27. Susanne-- That thing about stopping is an important part to me. Also the idea of being more in control of my travel plans.

    GB-- You haven't flown in a long time. Eastern was my first flying experience. Flying was more exciting and laid back then. Now flying just seems to be a big expenditure for a lot of hassles with few amenities.


  28. P.S. if you haven't seen this a million times already, it's good for a laugh: "Everything's amazing and nobody's happy"

  29. Travelling? Well that would be by car. Always hated flying, despite the fact that growing up my dad worked for BA so flying was a given. About 15 years ago I had a major panic attack on a plane and had to get off before it took off! What made it worse was we were holidaying with another couple. Apparently after take-off the pilot was given the usual welcome speech "..... we are travelling at a speed of 36,000 miles, anyone else wanting to get off, it's too late!" So, even the pilots discourage getting off mid-flight LOL! x

  30. I'm learning how to finish - but I do have a habit of rewriting novels into novellas, or even short stories, then deciding to make them longer again. I used to think it was because I was learning - my poor first book has been cannibalised so many times - but I did it recently too!

  31. Forty-- Very funny stuff. I hadn't seen it before.

    Suzanne-- I get apprehensive being packed in s small space with other people. I'm claustrophobic.

    Annalise -- Kind of like a "variations on a theme" done by composers?



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