Writer Quotes: Doctorow.

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” -E.L. Doctorow

Maybe it’s just that I’m not quite awake yet this morning (one of the risks of being a morning blogger!); maybe I just haven’t had enough coffee quite yet (one or two sips…usually doesn’t kick in until it’s cool enough to gulp it all down), or maybe it’s just true, but this quote captivated me a little when I went rummaging through words of wisdom to find one to post today since I didn’t have anything else to really write about. These days, lately, I’ve been a pantser in my writing; way back when I first started writing, I was an adamant plotter. So I’ve been on both sides of that fence, and I’ve found that both sides agree with this quote.

Usually, if you’re driving somewhere, you know the destination. You probably even have a vague idea, if not a specific route, on how to get there. So you start driving, night falls, and that’s when our analogy comes in. You can only see as far as your headlights. You know where you’re going, but you can’t see how you’re going to get there , so you just keep driving. Eventually, you find your location, and you look back and think, “That was a pretty good drive.” Or, possibly, “Ugh, that was terrible, I’m never driving that again!”

I feel that even when I plan my routes through my novels, somehow, the path changes anyway. I had meant to go this direction, but, as it turns out, there’s an accident or a detour, and I have to go a different way, but it turns out that this way was much faster or more efficient or scenic. Sometimes, you discover a shortcut that leaves behind a lot of knotty traffic and bumpy roads.

So, essentially, what am I saying? To just go ahead, fill up your tank, put in a great mix, and enjoy the drive, my friends. Vrooooom!

…yeah, it’s way too early for metaphors. It’s not too early, though, to thank my newest subscribers for jumping on with following the blog! Welcome aboard, Nelvin and Barun Jha! Thank you guys so much for following, and I look forward to following you, too!


    • Oh, it can definitely help, that’s for sure. But now I’m reminded of this one time we got lost in New Jersey. We took a completely wrong exit out of Pennsylvania and wound up with no clue where we were in the middle of the night, no helpful maps or anything. So we just drove around, and, eventually, we still managed to find the place we were headed.

      It probably had more to do with the fact that New Jersey’s a pretty small state, anyway, but it was still pretty cool.

  1. When I have the chance, I drive pretty much the way I write…which maybe explains why I can’t just throw words to a page and have them “work” anymore. 😉 I hate getting lost.

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