Going Off Script

A script is a great comfort as a guide in life, but going for a wander can be far more rewarding.

I've done a couple of careers events in the last few weeks where I set myself a challenge. 

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These are some of the fine youngsters of Exeter School, who came along to listen to my ramblings (the ladies in the army gear weren't there to arrest me; the school has proud links with the forces and it was a training day.)

Anyhow, I decided rather than have a script of what to say for the sessions, I would pop down a few bullet points and talk around them. 

I was a little nervous about how it might go. But I'm delighted to report it worked beautifully and was so very uplifting.

I felt much more free, not being a slave to the strictures of a Powerpoint presentation.

And I spoke from the heart, and might just have truly conveyed what it means to be a writer and journalist.

The pleasure and privilege of a job which is, essentially, chronicling human life in all its highs and lows, darkness and light. 

Going off script is also something I've often found powerful in writing books.

Yes, you need some form of a plan to make it through a reasonably coherent 100,000 words. But you also need to be free to do some exploring. 

If a character, or event, proves more alluring than you expected, it would be a shame not to follow along and see where it all leads. 

And perhaps that's also the case in life. 

For all the endless plans we put in place, it's being taken by surprise, and having the courage to head off the path for an unexpected journey, which can be the most fulfilling by far.