When you’ve spent the last few years with a decent writing schedule (kicking out a good two thousand words a day), a goal and the motivation to make it happen - it makes it difficult when life gets in the way. And it will happen. At one point or another in your life, you’re going to have to work through an issue, or a number of issues, and decide what the most important priority is for you and your family.
Writing has been a dream of mine since I was very young. I’ve written off and on for fifteen years and finally got serious about it two years ago. I've developed a tough skin from rejection. I've scheduled time EVERY day to write and planned out a long and short term career goal sheet. I know what I wanted and how to get it. I will be published, of that I am certain.
But life hit me hard at the end of October in 2010. After determining life was going great and I could quit my job to stay home with the little one and pursue my dream of writing in the process, suddenly my husband got laid off. The blow was so unexpected and jolting my husband and I both suffered a little shell shock. But we couldn’t wallow. We had to pick ourselves back up and take care of business. And so must my writing.
I haven’t given up my goals or my dreams. So I’m here to give a short list of advice to those of us who must suffer a little set back in our lives from time to time.
1. I had to realize that this wasn’t permanent. It’s temporary and I will be able to get back on the bandwagon soon enough. Sometimes life is a hard pill to swallow, but when you realize that this too shall pass, it becomes so much easier to bear.
2. Find a solution. Even a temporary one. I had to make quick decisions and one of them included putting off writing until I could reevaluate our lives. Putting aside my writing freed up time to search for a job. I had to go back to work and managed to weasel my way back into my old job. It was a difficult decision to make but make it, I did. This relieved some of the financial burden and stress. Now, weeks later, I can write –even if only a little- stress free.
3. Perfection isn’t possible. I can’t work full time, take care of the house and the kids, and meet my writing goals. So I had to ask the hubby to take more of the chores off my shoulders and allow me some free time after work to relax and write. It’s okay to ask for help, we all need it at some point in time.
4. Learn to be grateful for what I can do. After work one day last week, I managed to eke out a whopping six hundred words in under an hour. Not much compared to my usual goals but it was more than I’d managed since the life-altering event occurred, and I was ecstatic. If we can’t meet our daily goals every day, accept it and hope for a better day tomorrow. But make sure to sit down and try to write every day.
In the end, only you know what’s best for you and your family, but setting goals and priorities for yourself will get you where you want to be in life. Make decisions and stick with them. Life’s little temporary set backs are just that, temporary. If you remember this and work through them you can have your cake and eat it too.
There’s a little quote I’ve learned to live by... “Obstacles are placed in our paths to determine whether we really wanted something or just thought we did.” By Dr. Harold Smith.
Take an obstacle and overcome it, keep moving in the right direction and you’ll get to your destination no matter what happens. My goals for this year are smaller than last year’s but just as satisfying. I plan to finish my fifth manuscript by the end of April. Finish editing my current wip by the end of March and query at least twenty agents in May and start a new project –number six- by summer’s end.
So my question to you is this what advice can you give when life throws a wrench in your plans? And what are your goals for the new year?