“Zigzag: A line or course that proceeds by sharp turns in alternating directions.” --The Free DictionaryIf you’re the kind of writer who zigzags through the water, turning from one idea or project to another in rapid succession, you know that zigzagging can be both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing when zigging and zagging brings you up on an unexpected discovery, helps rekindle your passion, shows you a new way to approach a story that you might have missed if you’d stayed on a straight line.
But it can be a curse if you find yourself zigzagging only to escape a difficult problem, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, or when you’re trying to avoid a particular issue, even if you’re unaware of what you're trying to avoid.
How do you know when to zigzag and when to remain on a straight path toward your intended goal?
I think you have to listen to the sound of your heart as you zigzag.
Is it panicky, frightened, running from some unknown or unnamed fear? Are you afraid of standing still, being a target, getting bitten by a shark or stung by a stingray while in the water?
These are the times when I suspect we zigzag as an escape, a convenient way to avoid the difficult issues or problems that we must eventually face.
When is it good to zigzag?
Perhaps when you find yourself losing interest in a project. Or when you feel bored or tired of a certain approach, in need of a new perspective.
That’s when zigzagging can be invigorating, give you new inspiration, help you find your way back onto the path you were hoping to carve for yourself and your characters when you first embarked on your project.
It takes courage to stay in one place and face one’s demons.
And it takes courage and wisdom to know when to cut bait and set off on a new, different, untested path and zigzag into the unknown.
You’re the one who has to decide when zigzagging is in your best interest or when it’s a ploy to help you avoid the challenges of facing a tough, sometimes painful, issue.
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