How To Stay On Course Even When You Suddenly Lose Your Compass

Sometimes You Need To Let Your Own Stars Guide You

P.G. Barnett
5 min readFeb 2, 2020


Photo by Jack Cain on Unsplash

This afternoon while I was working on another Henry James series, I kind of lost track of why I was doing what I was doing.

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but I was typing along, hammering the keyboard, painting scenes that were playing out in my head, and I suddenly began wondering why.

Why was I doing this?

Why was I sitting in front of this computer screen watching words pop up as my fingers moved across the keyboard?

What’s the purpose of all of this?

It stopped me cold for a bit. You know, made me sit back in my chair and kind of tilt my head quizzically like the old Victrola dog and stare at the screen.

I knew my purpose, my goal. I’d already hit the end of my first year of solid writing here, and although I hadn’t made the kind of progress I’d hoped for, well, I’d done okay.

I’d even mapped out this year’s strategy and had moved away from the dock and entered deep waters and was starting to gain a full head of steam.

And then, quicker than you say — how the heck did that happen, I thought I had a handle on this because I really knew what I wanted to do with my writing career this year and I thought I had it all under control — I found myself floundering about, drifting aimlessly as if I didn’t have my sights set on a correct direction.

I’d lost my compass.

The interesting thing about losing your compass is that it’s not like pulling out your phone and turning on GPS tracking. All GPS will do is tell you where you are and which direction you’re heading when you change course.

You’re probably saying to yourself, uh, P.G., a compass does the same d*mned thing doofus.

Well, I submit to the court that my compass operates entirely different than most.

My compass not only tells me when I’m drifting just a bit off course, but it knows exactly where I need to go, and helps show me how to get there.

My compass is a lot like aircraft…



P.G. Barnett

A published author enjoying married Texas bliss. Dog person living with cats. A writer of Henry James' stories. Featured In MuckRack. Top Writer In Fiction.