I make careful plans, with a clear head, and no rushing. I then board my ship, check my charts, and run a finger along the map’s inked path from my port to the island I hope and pray to reach. It will test the limits of my endurance.
The first days go smoothly. The wind of excitement swells my sails, and each checkpoint landmark and star sign corresponds to my plans. Then the wind slackens, like a tired gasp. I’m fatigued, I’m pushing myself hard, and my heart lifts a plea to turn back, to rethink the choices I so carefully made.
Through my spyglass I see a gray storm ahead, churning the waves white. Even worse, I foresee situations that will demand even more strength, determination, and force of will than I’ve yet given. My hand trembles on the wheel and I taste temptation to turn off course and circumvent the troubled waters.
I remind myself that knew those waters would be there from the moment I drew my course, yet the temptation to doubt overwhelms me. I grit my teeth. If I change paths now, I nullify the choices that laid my trip’s foundation and risk complete failure. I breathe deeply and steer straight, no changes made.
The saltwater whips up and stings my face, or is that tears? I feel my soul going dark. How did I ever believe I’d reach the island? It seems so far, so whimsical, so beyond the scope of such young and inexperienced travelers like me.
After hours in this stormy, hellish pain, I see the shape of the beast lurking under the glassy of still waters where I would have sailed to avoid the storm. It’s the Cracken, the multi-armed monster that would have crushed and drowned my ship and me.
Then I know my course was right, no matter how hard or awful. I cannot change it now. I must see this through. I will reach the island.
I used a sailing metaphor and, in my case, it represents my process of editing my second novel. I’m navigating a stormy night of the soul as this story is shaped, carved, and reformed. How about you?