Thursday, January 24, 2019

Directionally Challenged in Life...and in Writing

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan

About twelve years ago I had driven our oldest son to Boy Scout camp about two hours from our home where he had been spending his summer working as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.

My husband usually drove, but he had to work, so my sister agreed to go with me. Two directionally challenged adults are better than one, I say.

Common sense would’ve dictated that I should’ve paid closer attention when Hubby drove, but the trip was long and boring with windy roads and miles upon miles of trees. Rural? Oh, my, yes! Instead of noting directions, I kept my nose buried in a good book. 

That day, though, before we left, my husband had rattled off directions faster than an auctioneer. But being the visual person that I am, I needed something to look at, so I printed out the route from Mapquest—no, I didn’t have GPS...or a handy dandy iPhone with the Maps app. When I searched the routes, I accidentally clicked the shortest distance box. No. No. No. Always go for the shortest time. 

As I followed the directions, I needed to turn right onto Fire Tower Road. Okay, no problem. We were three miles from camp with time to spare. I had this trip in the bag. Nothing to worry about.

Except Fire Tower Road was an impassible logging road with ruts that rivaled the Grand Canyon. Road was a definitely a tongue in cheek term for this donkey path.

Determined to get my son to camp, I pressed on hoping we’d end up where we needed to be...and ended up coming to a gate across an even narrower impassible footpath.

Frustrated and angry, I called my husband at work. He told me how to get to camp from where we were located. Less than three miles, but it took me over an hour to go that short distance. Not to mention the paint damage my car received from that nasty little jaunt.

Thankfully, we can look back on that event and laugh. And, of course, I used it as novel fodder. My family continues to poke fun, but they’re right.

Yes, I’m sometimes directionally challenged trying to get from Point A to Point B, but at times, I’m also directionally challenged while writing, too. When my characters lack defined motivation, they wander all over the place. If I read reviews, my confidence can be shaken. If I receive feedback from too many sources, then my story voice gets lost as I try to please everyone else.

For clarity about my writing, I need to stop and focus on God’s direction. Instead of poking our noses in the proverbial books in life, we need to look up from our current chapters and pay attention to the routes we’re taking. Taking shortcuts in our spiritual and writing lives leads us down rutted, bumpy roads that can cause damage if we’re not careful. When we trust in Him and focus on His Word, He will make our paths straight.

How about you? Are you directionally challenged? How do you keep your focus?



Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. Her latest book, Season of Hope, releases in March 2019. She is the Operations Manager for My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for almost thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn't writing, Lisa enjoys family time, kayaking, good books, and creating with words, stamps, fibers, and photos. Visit her at lisajordanbooks.com.



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11 comments:

  1. Lovely blog post, Lisa! And so true. I received insight from God this very morning about my WIP due Monday. So glad I had asked His help on a particular plot point...and then listened to hear His voice and His suggestions!

    Season of Hope looks like a great read. I want the hero and heroine to get back together...and I only read the blurb! :)

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    1. Thank you, Debby! Don't you just love those unexpected insights??? I had pulled in my driveway and was walking into my house yesterday when a character conversation popped into my head. Now I can add the necessary tension to my scene. :)

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  2. Lisa, I can so relate. My husband usually drives, so I don't always pay attention to which roads we turn on getting to a certain place. When it's my turn to drive there, I ask him for directions and he can't understand why I don't know the path by heart. Love your post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Mary, I'm one of those women who needs things written out. My husband can rattle off directions and I'm lost after the second turn, but if it's right now with road numbers and exits, I'm good to go. :)

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  3. Oops, the above comment was from me...I was signed in under my work account. :)

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  4. It is so easy to get distracted and off track in listening to even well-meaning advice. God needs to be our touchstone for everything, including our writing.

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    1. You're so right, Lisa. Once we get off-track, it makes it more challenging to get back to where we need to be.

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  5. Cute story, Lisa. That road would have scared me. And good writing advice. A reminder that we needed to hear.

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    1. Thanks, Marie. I wasn't scared about the road, but I was concerned about the damage it was doing to my car. But turning around and heading back the way we had come helped us get where we needed to be.

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  6. I love this connection to getting off track. To get back, I have to reconnect with my Navigator, too!

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    1. Oh, yes! So true, Sally. Jesus is the True Navigator who never points us in the wrong direction.

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