What To Do When Life Happens To Your Book

No matter how fool proof our daily word count goals or writing plans are, life will eventually have something to say about them. There will be a cold, a job loss, a move, a season of melancholy. Something will happen to stop progress.

Maybe you are stopped now?

Photo Credit: shumpei_sano_exp3 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: shumpei_sano_exp3 via Compfight cc

I know when a significant life event happens to me I curl inward. I read more, try to get time by myself, and journal. These are all good things. But you know what I don’t do? Keep writing!

I like to be serious about my work but I am no drill sergeant. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve stopped writing before because of something challenging that I knew was coming. If I’m honest, a hand full of times I’ve simply thrown in the towel instead of rising to meet it a challenging time in my schedule.

I view the routine interruption as a disruption rather than an opportunity to show my commitment the craft.

But how do you show commitment to your body of work when something interrupts your schedule? You prepare in advance.

Just like a dieter running into a tempting cupcake, we need to be ready when life events occur and say that we will not give up ahead of time. (Granted some we cannot prepare for and we need a break. It’s just that simple.)

Make up your mind right now. You won’t stop because of that wedding, job change, or move. You’ll be ready to write no matter what.

Meet the challenging time head on. Circle it in your calendar and don’t allow a life hiccup to derail you.

5 Things I Learned From An Unexpected Challenge

Ever have an unexpected change that caused you to dig deep and work hard at a moments notice? It happened to me this past week. 

This week I was out of the office for a business trip. When I prepared for it a few weeks ago, my coworker and I had a discussion about a presentation one of us had to do while we were there. We decided it would be best for him to do it.

Then, last week, on Friday morning, we discovered another topic would be much more relevant. However, I had more knowledge of the day to day. Thus, it was decided that I would do the presentation. I had two days to prepare.

My first reaction to this change was to ask him to do it because I like to be prepared and I was nervous. But I knew the best way to convey this information was to lean on my knowledge and experience.

Below, I list five things that I learned about this unexpected challenge.

Photo Credit: Nick / KC7CBF via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Nick / KC7CBF via Compfight cc

Low Level Stress Can Be Good.

We’ve all heard stress is terrible and to avoid it. But studies have shown that low level stress releases a chemical called neuotrophins that strengthens connections in our neurons which boosts concentration and productivity. Strange eh? Once I told myself I was going to do it, I was able to focus.

Before Saying No. Prepare As If You Said Yes Then Decide

My first reaction was to say no. But instead of doing so, I gave it some thought. What if I did do it? What information would I need? Once I did this I gained a little confidence and I thought it might not be that bad.

Do You Know It? You Can Do It.

The presentation basically surrounded what I’ve done for their customers and what I do day to day. I realized that no one knew more information about this topic than I did.

Think. What’s The Real Reason The Situation Scares Me?

My main concern revolved around the fact that I thought I’d ruin a highly valuable partnership if I messed up. The pressure mounted. Then a realization hit me, one that deflated my fear. I am being entrusted with this presentation because of my expertise. My company trust me enough to represent it.  

Grab The Stage. It’s Time To Grow.

Their are experiences in life that build upon one another. If I am going to speak, I need to practice. If I am going to write novels, I need to write short stories. This was not something to fear. This is what I felt before hockey games in college or grabbing my diploma and heading off into the workforce. This was an opportunity to seize. Not shy away from. And that I did.

What keeps you frozen to the spot?

Can you dissect and tackle it?