When Things Don’t Go Your Way: Writing Goals Meet Real Life

When Things Don't Go Your Way (1)

I realized yesterday as I was cleaning feverishly, with a full day ahead of me, that I had no blog post for today. No plans, no outline, nothing. I had the rest of October planned, but somehow today’s post had slipped my mind.

Story of my week.

My week began with much cheer and gusto, and I had a wonderful schedule for my book editing, with flex time built in, that was going to put me (most of the way) on track. I was going to knock this thing out of the park.

And then it happened. Unexpected needs, visitors, blog posts that wouldn’t cooperate, fighting a cold, and a broken well pump all piled on as the week progressed, and by Friday, my beautiful little plans (including the flex time) were thoroughly wrecked.

I tried to keep up. I threw out all extra activities on my list in the hopes of saving my big goal, but even that didn’t help. I was discouraged. I had so little time as it was; why did it have to be me swamped under a dozen things I couldn’t control? And then I remembered that these things, like them or not, were sent from God.

So I fixed my attitude. I decided that I would take on the rest of the week cheerfully, and make the best of what little I could do. I also realized that this would make a pretty good blog post.

And you know what? Despite the fact that I am going to have to scramble to maintain my goals, I have a blog post that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and I’ve had a wonderful time examining the lessons I’ve learned through this.

So here are a few tips to keep in mind when life conflicts with writing goals:

Take a Deep Breath. The world is not ending, and neither are you.

Know that God is Ultimately Sovereign. He is the one who gave you writing in the first place, and there may be something you need to learn more than you need to finish that goal.

Prioritize. What extra things can get dropped off your to-do list until next week? What are the most important things that need accomplishing now?

Use Your Mental Time Well. Even if your hands are engaged, you can pick one plot knot or storyline and mull over it. When the time comes to write, you will have one less thing to worry about.

Reevaluate the goal. Can you rework the goal to fit in the same time frame? For example, doing five scenes daily instead of three? Is there any flex in your deadline?

Use Every Spare Minute. If you have five minutes of time free, use it to write. Jot it down on a napkin if you have to, but don’t let those little chunks of time add up to wasted hours.

Relax. In spite of my last point, don’t be afraid to take a couple minutes to clear your head and just rest if you need it. Sometimes a break here and there is far better than pushing through.

Take Joy in the Little Things. Laugh. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Enjoy the flowers outside, or the laughter of children, or just the fact that you are alive. Have an attitude of gratefulness.

Have you ever had weeks like this? How did you manage your goals?

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4 thoughts on “When Things Don’t Go Your Way: Writing Goals Meet Real Life

  1. It sounds like you met a challenging week with just the right spirit–a courage that can only come from the Lord. 🙂

    It’s so hard to let goals go…I think that’s the thing I struggle most with writing. I hang onto them so tightly, and then stress when they look like they won’t happen. But God’s plans are always best, if I let Him have His way.

    Praying that you will make further and further progress on your WIP!

    ~Schuyler

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    1. Aww, thank you, Schuyler. It isn’t always easy to have the right spirit, but it is definitely what we are commanded to do. I am such a goal-oriented person, it is very hard to miss a goal, even when I can’t help it. But the Lord has been gracious in teaching me the right spirit, and in strengthening me to keep going.
      Thanks for your prayers!

      -Emily

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