I know this place. I’ve been here before.

The place of high-seeing. And being lost. All at the same time.

The book is a trail. And the end isn’t really the end at all. This is a rockier terrain, with harder questions to traverse. It is populated by doubts. Questions lurk in its shadows.

Does the book wander? Does each section build to the next? Is there a sense of purpose at the start (even if it isn’t apparent),and an impetus to the completion? Is it single-minded enough? Are the threats meaningful? Are they threatening?

This is the country of making-sure. Of re-walking those familiar paths to discover a better, straighter, more clearly-defined way to the end. Of filling in holes that make the story stumble and fall.

It is a country without maps, this one. The map, the country, they are you. On this long, long walk, you find something quite wonderful about the light through the leaves…but pay too much attention to the small beauties and you’ll fall off the cliff of yourself.

Not a place for timidity, or for whistling in the dark. Not a place to convince yourself that all is well or that the long walk is over. You might just find a mountain that needs climbing; a pit that will demand a stiff, steep climb. You’d best be prepared for those challenges. This is a walk that is inevitably going to ask more of you than you know how to give, even though your legs are quaking with exhaustion.

Here’s the trick, I think. You’ve got to tell yourself that it’s okay to be scared—for a while, anyway. You must accept the journey as exactly that. You must remind yourself of the value of the quest. You must comb the plotted trail for the next place your foot should fall, a single step at a time…and you must walk those individual steps with an awareness of the topography of the whole landscape.

You must not lie down on the path; the doubt-wolves will eat you. And most of all, you must never forget the prime rule in the Land of Second-Guessing: that every path finds its way to a clear place. Eventually.

 

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