Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Dipping the Quill Deeper: Along the Road to Getting Lost in Writing

by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it. ~~Charles de Lint, Dutch-Canadian author of fantasy fiction

I search for quotations about writing by published authors and am so often moved by a particular quote that I feel the urge to share it. Simultaneously, I feel the need to research the author ‘lest I upset the masses.

“God is love” quoted by a current celebrity does not pack the same punch to the heart as when read in its original text written by the apostle John. 

Yet, at the same time, I find myself wondering why we often focus more on the one quoting as the actual quote. For example, I wanted to make certain not to offend anyone with the above quote, so I did a little research on de Lint, who is known for his mystical fiction. If I have offended anyone who doesn’t like fantasy fiction (because I know you are out there), forgive me … but the lines lead me to a point.

I recently took a car trip with a friend who shall remain nameless (unless, of course, she wishes to admit her identity in the comments below). Before setting out, we entered our destination in the car’s GPS and waited for the automated voice to tell us to “drive 100 feet and turn left.” After hearing the words, the car was put in drive and off we went! 

You should note that, according the to GPS, the drive to our destination was 2.5 hours in time-distance. According to our personal estimations (we had studied a Google map earlier in the day), this was correct. All systems were go and on point … as were we.

Two and a half hours later we heard the anticipated words: You have arrived at your destination. Only we hadn’t arrived at our destination. We were slap in the middle of some stranger’s farmland! We’d been so involved in our conversation and the sheer enjoyment of our friendship (not to mention the beauty of the landscape around us), we hadn’t noticed that something wasn’t quite right. Towns we should have driven through never materialized. Road signs that should have specified various locations as being upcoming … didn’t. Landmarks we expected to see simply were not there. 

To be honest, upon realizing that we were, quite frankly, lost … I began to laugh. After all, the joy was in the journey (to quote from another source), not in the destination. And so it was that, another 2.5 hours later (for we were way off course), we arrived where we’d intended to be all along. A little tired to be sure, but oh, but what we would have missed!

Charles de Lint understands this—we can roadmap our writing all we want. We can think we know where a project is going and head in that direction. We can believe our characters (or our subject matter) and plot points will fall in line with our plans. And, if we stick with that notion, we’ll miss out on so much! 

The writer’s mind is not like any other. Give us a single topic and watch how far we go with it. Give us a single subject or object—let’s say a wedding dress—and one author will turn that piece of fabric into a romantic novel while another will smear it with blood and turn it into a clue in a murder case. Still another will make it the focal point in the lives of five women who live in 1950s Chicago (Five Brides, Tyndale). 

When writing, let your mind go! Draw up the road map if you must (you planners) because, in the end it will help get you where you eventually want to be. But at the same time, allow yourself to get lost in the conversations, in the landscapes … in the sheer enjoyment of the moments along the way.


Eva Marie Everson is the multiple award-winning and bestselling author of over 35 books, both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and North Georgia Christian Writers Conference. Eva Marie and her husband make their home in Central Florida where they enjoy a lake view, their children, and grandchildren. They are owned by a very small dog.


  1. So good to read your post this morning ma'am. God's blessings.

  2. My favorite way to travel ... simply go. I do plan my books to some extent, but like I love it when the characters' conversations take it in a whole different direction. What joy there is in following them!

  3. Beautifully inspired. Thank you

    1. Thank you DiAnn! It's good to be back at The Write Conversation!

  4. Something about how man plans but God...
    Good one, Ms Eva

  5. Loved your post. Being the suspender and belt person that I am, I always back up my GPS with directions from one of the online maps. So when my GPS took me to a mental health clinic instead of a library, I pulled my directions out and...ended up in a soybean field. Then we tried the old-fashioned way--we stopped and asked directions. And arrived.

  6. There's a lot to be said about "being led by the Spirit" in our writing. I'm a hybrid author--not only in terms of publication, but also in terms of planner / pantser writing. I like to have an idea of where I am headed, but I'm adventurous enough to let Holy Spirit be my Tour Guide. Thanks for an inspiring post, Eva Marie. Blessings to you! :)

  7. I thought I'd first publish a YA novel I've worked years on. But my first published works have been mystery short stories. And I'd loved writing them. If I'd stuck to my plan, I'd have missed out on the most rewarding writing experience of my life.

  8. The journey is part of the joy! Loved this post!

    Peace and grace,

  9. This message reminds me how we make plans and then, God can change those plans at any time. :-)

  10. I love this post, Eva Marie. And I’m enjoying Five Brides now!

  11. I love it … So glad He gave you joy in the journey! thanks for sharing. Great post!

  12. Well said and inspiring, Eva. Thank you.

  13. In the early days of my family using a phone GPS, we wound up in the middle of a cornfield on a family vacation, and my children - who had been subjected to the movie, Children of the Corn, by their youth minister (yeah, I know - apparently it was his idea of the scariest movie he'd ever seen), were terrified! Obviously, we made it out safely, and we laugh hysterically now about that event years later. It's the journey that matters ... Thanks for the reminder!