A trickle of stale bread to lead the way – to find one’s way home. There’s no more useless a trick than that of marking a path with edible, highly-popular crumbs of gluten-y goodness. Destined to be sabotaged by everything from birds and squirrels to mother nature herself, you’re competing against a raucous group of scavengers and downpours that’ll wipe out your markers as they fall.
Hansel and Gretal, you done fooled up.
Writing, in its youth, is following breadcrumbs. It’s questionable, to say the least. Deprived of substantial guidance and critique from the onset, you search and subsequently fumble your way down the most inefficiently blazed trail. Lost in all the etiquette of writing, there are generally more misplaced words than there are tangible subjects. Sometimes even when you pick up on those crumbs somehow overlooked by nature’s professional housekeepers, there’s a good chance that the footing presented poses its own challenges. Finding a prose, a subject and a story worth writing are all parts of the process that will require patience and practice and an imprudent amount of drafts.
It’s hard enough to trust in oneself and whatever skill you have or are developing, let alone trust in a series of forgotten table scraps.
I went through a phase when I started to write seriously where I searched tirelessly for a path; A trail, a glimmer of direction, some ghost of the infamous breadcrumbs to lead me into the world of writing that I sought. I scoured countless sites, articles and read books about writing in search of my trailhead. I wanted to feel that my writing was honest – was whole.
I hadn’t known at the time that no two trails are the same. That although they may meet for a brief moment, they will inevitably forge on to their own destinations, without the logic of others or heed of warning. My breadcrumbs would be of my own making. I’d scatter them as I went, not as markers but as milestones to signify how far I’d trekked. Each piece completed, every blog post, my first 50 pages, a first pay cheque, my first freelance contract, reaching 70,000 words, finishing my first book. All of these moments would contribute to my growth and ability to hike this trail I was finding and creating simultaneously.
And I’m still not done yet. I’m still trudging along. Marking what I can with the remnants of both success and failures. I haven’t given up on a search to be better, but I’m not staring at the ground anymore along the way. I’ve found what works for me but am always looking for what may work better.
These breadcrumbs aren’t really breadcrumbs anymore.