Interruptions. Life is full of them. There’s no avoiding them. Sometimes it seems we spend more time dealing with the things that interrupt us than on the things that are being interrupted. So it was for me this past weekend. And here is the main culprit:
Like many of life’s interruptions, I didn’t see this one coming. On Saturday morning, this adorable little girl showed up in our driveway where my husband was moving some things out of the garage. And she hasn’t left yet. After long walks in the hot sun in search of owners to claim her, a trip to PetsMart to have her checked (fruitlessly) for an identifying microchip, a drive to the SPCA to register her as a ‘found pet’, then another stop by PetsMart to buy all things dog and have the vet do a closer inspection of her, our little Saturday surprise had used up all of our free hours.
Except those weren’t exactly free hours for me. They were hours not claimed by day-job work or family obligations or house projects. They were some the rarest and most coveted hours of all in a writer’s life – leave-me-alone-I’m-writing hours. Sunday wasn’t much better, as I had fewer writing hours set aside and we spent that precious time reaching out to friends to find a potential forever doggy home, and buying all the rest of things dog we forgot to buy yesterday. In the end, we had success! – our foster puppy will meet her potential new family in a few weeks, after we take care of a few of her health issues. But my writing plan that involved adding approximately 5000 words and crossing the midpoint line in my novella, that one didn’t work out so well.
It’s not like those hours dropped out of the sky. I had rearranged plans, worked long days, and lost some sleep to carve out those chunks of writing time. But I decided this writing interruption was one of those situations I had to accept. Life interrupted, and the happiness of an abandoned animal took precedence. Writing is a long game, and as long as I write more days than I don’t and come close to hitting my own targets and deadlines, I’m progressing. It made me think of the serenity prayer (paraphrased):
Grant me the strength to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I’m proud to say I had the wisdom to realize sacrificing my writing time could not realistically be changed, and was absolutely right thing to do. There’s a sweet, formerly abandoned dog who now has a safe foster home, a get-well plan, and a future forever family. James’ and Jessamine’s HEA can wait until next weekend or later, if necessary. This weekend, my husband and I helped a puppy with such a sweet face get her HEA.
What has interrupted your writing lately? Was it worth the time it took away from your story? And how do you plan to get back on track? I’m still not sure where I’m getting my make-up writing hours, but I sure am going to enjoy rubbing that fuzzy belly and getting doggy kisses for the next few weeks.
Writing is our chance at immortality . . . but I do think taking care of sentient beings takes precedence over imagination. You did the right thing, and who knows? Maybe you’ll get a story fragment out of it down the line. (And that is an adorable dog!)
My writing interruptions were less noble. Salsa and pickling, guests and just a sense of entitlement that I deserved some reading time, goddammit. (-: I’ve read about three books this week, mostly re-reads, but gosh, how delightful it is to read again. Maybe (maybe!) my excuse is that I want to reacquaint myself with some magic so I can bring that to my WIP. I’ve got some unanswered plot questions, and I’m not sure it’s time to confront them directly yet.
Doesn’t mean I can’t write. Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write. Just means I’ve got to talk myself into tackling what I know I can do right now.
(-: I keep typo’ing “write” for “right.” It must be a hint to get off the internet and . . . write.
What a cute dog! It reminds me of the Raymond Chandler/Jenny Crusie thing I fell back on with my book: when you run into trouble, write in a man with a gun/a dog. And voila! Here’s the dog.:-)
Of course you had to take care of the dog, but it’s always frustrating when you lose writing time. I made time for writing this weekend, which meant working for money suffered, and I’ll be doing penance tomorrow, big time. What I didn’t get done: I’d wanted to do a one-, three-, and five-year business plan for my writing life, as I used to have to do for work, and I didn’t get to it. Didn’t even get started. And I think that would be good to get on paper. So, maybe, next weekend.
If you want to set up a writing business plan, I highly recommend Mindy Klasky’s Rational Writer. She has templates, Q&A, etc. you can use to set up your plan, schedule, etc. Although you might not need it, if you’ve had to do such plans for your day job. It’s something I’ve been able to avoid in my day job, so templates and guidelines were really helpful for me!
If I ever include a dog in a book, I will have to include something about how much work they are (compared to cats). Also, maybe because this little girl had been on her own for a bit, she was desperate for our attention. But she is also full of unconditional love for everyone she meets, so we are appreciating her while she’s with us.
I spent my free hours this weekend reading a draft of The Magical Librarian of Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Nancy Coiner, one of my fellow Golden Heart finalists. It didn’t get The Demon’s in the Details (I have a title!) any further along, but it sure was fun.
Although, maybe it did move the book along, because this morning I sat down and filled out a Goal/Motivation/Conflict worksheet AND a conflict box for the H/H, including the three main turning points.I’m trying out a new way of approaching a manuscript–figure out the GMC and the turning points, then pants it from there. So, after several weeks of sittin’ and thinkin’, I’m actually ready to write.
Congrats on the title, Jeanne, I like that a lot!
Love your new title! I also loved Demons Don’t, but this one is a bit crunchier. BTW, I think I read part of TMLT for a contest, and it was fun! Please pass along my name if Nancy needs another critiquer :-).
Love the title!!! And congrats on the GMC. That can be such a struggle.
(-: That is a great title. “The Demon’s in the Details.”
She’s adorable, Nancy. How could such a cutie just be wandering around with no chip or name-tag or anything? Clever of her to pick your doorstep to turn up on 😉
My brother came to stay last week for a flying visit, and we don’t see much of him, so we spent a day catching up and talking about family stuff and reminiscing. Then he left and we went to stay for a few days with a friend we’ve known since university days. We don’t see her very often either. Now my brother is about to arrive for the return flying visit, on his way back to the airport and homeward bound. These are positive and healthy interruptions, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of them. Plus (bonus!) our university friend lives in a small village near Bristol, so we spent a day pottering around Bath and I dragged everyone to the Fashion Museum. There’s quite a bit of vintage fashion in my current WIP and I got some great ideas, saw a dress that I’d especially wanted to see, and bought another stack of fabulous research books with gorgeous pictures. So I didn’t write much, but I touched my story. And tomorrow the interruptions are done, at least for this month, and I need to put my head down and write, write, write.
Good luck on immersing back into your story! Sometimes it takes me a day or two to get reacquainted with a WIP if I’ve been away for several days or more, but other times I hit the ground running because my brain has been churning in the background and now there’s stuff to get onto the page. I wish the latter for you as you get back to Cam’s story!
Nancy, I wish my interrupted writing this weekend could be blamed on something as adorable as your homeless pup, but I’m afraid it was the heat that did me in. Between the smoke from the fires north of here and the 100 degree temps (no air conditioning here), my brains just melted right out my ears.
I’m hoping this morning’s earthquake will prove more helpful to my writing targets. Normally I work in a high-rise building for my day job, but the earthquake (minor, just located a few miles away) was enough to put the elevators out of service (safety precaution), so we all got to the office just to be told to to turn around and head back home. On the plus side, the lack of a homeward commute later today should give me an hour+ of unplanned writing time. Fingers crossed that I make good use of it.
100 degrees with no air conditioning – yuck! That kind of heat is exhausting. I hope you get some cooler weather and some respite from the smoke soon.
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