- Things never go as planned. I know this isn’t a revelation, but it’s true. It began with the move on Oct. 20th. Well, it was almost instantly postponed to
the 27th. I was on schedule until the 28th when it was again postponed to Nov. 3rd. We will be moving on the 3rd no matter what. I have no winter clothes and it’s cold.
Just like writing, we always think we can get more done than we really can. We set self-imposed deadlines only to be disappointed when we are unable to meet them. It’s hard to deal with life getting in the way. We need to plug in time for all kinds of things; appointments of all kinds, and the unexpected (Unless you’ve got a working crystal ball, I don’t see how this one is possible).
2. There are outside forces we just can’t control. Sometimes all the planning in the world isn’t enough. You can have all your waterfowl lineally arranged just to have a random dog scatter them. In my case, it was sub-contractors who all of a sudden discovered their portion of the house should have been done last week. The problem arose when they hadn’t even ordered the supplies. It wasn’t like this was a surprise. Everything has been lined out for the last seven months.
It’s sort of the same way with writing. You go to a conference and the editor you meet with says, “Send me your first five chapters and I’ll have a look at them, and if it isn’t right for me, I’ll pass it along to another section of the publishing house.” So you polish and tweak until it’s perfect. Satisfied, you mail (or e-mail) it off. Then you wait…and wait…and wait some more. Or that manuscript the other editor requested falls through a cyber-crack somewhere. The point is there is only so much you can do. You can follow up, but it doesn’t always help. Sometimes it’s just a matter of luck.
3. No matter what they tell, you don’t count on it. I know that’s a pessimistic outlook. As a true optimist, it was a hard lesson. I believed it when the contractor told me we’d be moving in July—I packed all my winter clothes…then the promise was August—I tucked away the extra towels and knick-knacks…then September—I packed all the holiday dishes and extraneous kitchen hardware (Note: we will be going out for Thanksgiving). Since you don’t have to drop a house on me, I was skeptical when I was given the third move-in date. I’ve decided I’m moving today no matter what.
In writing, be careful. I once had an agent who promised me the world and delivered nothing. Do your homework and know what you’re getting into before you make a commitment. My friend Gail is the best at this. I don’t know how she does it, but she knows just about everything about the different publishers and agents.
This move has taught me a lot. I’ve moved a lot in my life. The preparation and the act of getting from point “A” to point “B” is the easy part. The hard part is getting all the rest of the world to do what they’re supposed to do. There are things in a move, as in writing, that are out of your control. You can’t get the guy building the doors for the house to actually build them on time just like you can’t get a publisher to buy your book. All you can do is your best and roll with the ups and downs.
How do you deal with the ups and downs of life and writing?
And even happier when they can retire on the profits of my best