It's ironic that my Facebook colleague chooses to use the "unmapped drive" example to criticize what he terms the wastefulness of unplanned writing. Going for a random, unplanned drive is the example I always use in my workshops and coaching sessions to celebrate the magic of discovery. It's also the basis for what I call "writing on the Muse Stream," which I explore in Organic Screenwriting: Writing for Film, Naturally and all my books for writers.
Other Writer: The problem I think a lot of screenwriters have is not being able to nail down exactly what your ending is before starting. That would be like getting in the car for a weekend getaway and not having any idea where it is you're going... just driving... aimlessly, wasting a whole hell of a lot of gas. This is where the idea of mapping comes in... if you know where you're going, you'll get there, and usually in the most direct line.
MDG: I'm glad you used the analogy of going for a drive without a fixed destination in mind because that's precisely how I like to go for drives. It's much more fun to get in the car, start it up and see where it will take me. Nearly always, it takes me to a place I never could have imagined going, along a route I never would have thought of taking.
As it turns out, it's also how I write and live my life. It can be scary sometimes. It can certainly feel out of control. But those are the places where magic resides and miracles thrive. And what's life and creativity if not a magical, miraculous journey of wonder and surprise?
To go back to your "out for a drive" analogy: When I write, I sit in the passenger seat of the experience; the story is in the driver's seat. The story is in the driver's seat because it's its own entity, if you will, one that knows its direction and imperative far better than I ever could. And if I let it take charge, it will introduce me to characters and situations my controlling mind would never have thought up.
As for my life, if I had set a fixed destination and mapped out the journey, I would never have written 12 books and a trio of optioned screenplays (in fact, it's unlikely I ever would have been a writer), I would not likely be living in the U.S. (I'm Canadian), and I doubt that I would be a parent...just to name three pretty amazing life-altering experiences.
Just like the greatest bulk of an iceberg, my deepest desires and greatest stories often lie largely hidden in the ocean of my unconscious mind. The only way I know to access them is through those leaps of faith that keep my controlling mind out of the process.
In the end, my directions in writing and life are neither aimless nor energy-wasting. Rather, they're guided by a wiser part of myself that knows the destination and the way to reach it far better than the limits of my conscious mind ever could, as powerful and wonderful as that conscious mind is. That guidance is the best GPS there is.