Writing is a journey. Always.
Of patience, usually.
Of endurance, absolutely.
Of self-discovery, unquestionably.
In my carefree days after leaving home and before starting college (several years later), roadtrips were a frequent distraction from my army enlistment and the routine of low-wage jobs that followed. I trawled the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine this way, on a half tank of gas, ten bucks in my wallet and a sleeping bag sharing the back seat with Pringles, Pop Tarts and a case of Mountain Dew. Just jumped in after work and headed off in one compass direction with a vague notion of how far I wanted to go. Heck, I explored half of Europe this way too, now that I think about it. Now, while I wouldn't trade in those roadtrips for anything, I can see now how they could have been so much more meaningful.
Anyone who has ever taken an impromptu roadtrip will tell you, almost without exception, that they never got where they thought they were going when they set out. If, indeed, there was a destination to begin with, as was often the case for me. Too many distractions along the way. Poor planning. Not enough Pringles. Whatever the reason, chance defines such endeavors.
To write with this mentality is fine, as long as you have the right expectations. That is, none other than personal satisfaction. Exploratory exposition can be very healthy for the mind and the soul. Yes, you may be lucky enough to find, when you get to end of the road, that the trip yielded something of value. And not just to yourself but to the world. But it's unlikely.
As writers for publication, there has to be a destination. Otherwise, we're simply, well, wandering.
How we, as writers, set off on that journey will mark how the quickly we get to our destination.
Do you plan your writing roadtrips? Or do you just jump right in and hope the high of junkfood gets you someplace worthwhile?