You'd think that since I'm a country gal I'd be the laid back type. Sadly flexibility is not one of my strengths. I always have a plan. And barring flood, famine or threat of death I stick to it. My kids have told me on numerous occasions that I need to be more spontaneous. I’m practicing—honestly.
Life throws detours at everyone so we all need to be flexible, some of the time. When I write I begin by creating plot and character outlines. I depend on them as I work through a book. But one of the fun and exciting things about writing is the detours. I encounter characters I didn’t know existed and discover plot twists and turns I’d never dreamed of. However, going with the flow in my fictional world is easier than in the real world.
The last few weeks I've been hit by unexpected obstacles and I 've had to force myself to yield to necessary changes. We've all been in that place, where something has to give.
In the writing world flexibility is essential. No matter what exciting or heart wrenching scene we may be wrapped up in life doesn't stop. There will always be something that needs our attention. We've got to be willing to adapt to whatever comes along, even if that means pushing back a deadline or increasing writing hours to meet a deadline.
It doesn't stop there, however. When we turn in a manuscript there's always editing still to be done, so be prepared to add those hours to your schedule. Paychecks have no specific arrival date and royalties—well you’re one of the lucky few if you even get a royalty check. 🙂 Don’t lose heart—it does happen. One of the most painful shuffles is release dates that are changed and are sometimes canceled altogether.
I’m compelled to push on, to fulfill the plan or the obligation no matter what. My personality, along with routines imprinted on me during my growing up years, has a lot to do with this. Plus I admit that I have a tendency to trust myself more than God. Sounds ludicrous, but let’s be honest—we all do it.
God has surprises for us. If we’d learn to rest in Him and enjoy the unexpected in the day-to-day we'd experience a lot less stress and have a good deal more fun. I’m all for fun, that is if it doesn't interfere with my schedule. :-]
I'd venture to say, that many of us who have been writing for a long while have traveled through books without enjoying the journey. Writing is a gift. It's supposed to be fun . . . really. Do you remember how it was in the beginning–every day filled with adventure and discovery?
Count on obstacles, blow outs, and even detours. They're part of this wild ride we call authorship. Have fun anyway. And before you miss something truly remarkable, take a deep breath and step out of your plan and into God’s. I’m certain He has something special for you.
Grace and peace to you from God