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Sunday, July 13, 2014


Recovering from Hitting a Speed Bump

Photo courtesy | Flickr: Andrew Rivett
On Friday, a blog post by Mridu Khullar Relph put me in a contemplative mood. One of her great lines from the post is: “The writing life is full of surprises, some of them good, and some of them upsetting.” To me, the upsetting part of a writing plan may be when you find a speed bump (or two) in the path you've decided to take.
No matter how we try, our writing life may not follow the plan we had set for it. Recently I had a chance to experience a couple bumps I hadn't expected.

Last year I wrote the gluten-free eating book and was thrilled with the experience. Capitalizing on the momentum I was feeling, I focused on some fiction I've had rattling around in my head. I expected I would be able to write another book and looked forward to completing it. This spring, I was contacted to write another book for the same publisher.

I put the fiction aside and hit the ground running. I Googled. I went to the library. I started checking out books on the book's subject. I downloaded medical reports. I visualized writing the book and following the same pattern that worked so well last year.

And then I looked at my life. Really looked at it. I looked at it more than just clearing the proposed deadline date in my calendar. There was too much going on in my life as it is: My mother-in-law and ailing father-in-law have moved to town. I have a different, more demanding job than I had last year. I accepted several teaching gigs this summer, which I had rarely done before. I'm traveling a bit in the next couple months. And I wanted to relax and explore new avenues, such as recipe development.

So, I returned the books to the library. Recycled the medical reports I had printed. I removed my name from consideration and scratched my name off the imaginary byline I had already envisioned.

While I enjoy writing and think the book would have been a great challenge, I'm glad I made the decision I did. I’m picking the fiction up, albeit a slower pace than previously, and spending quality time with my in-laws. 

I’m just trying to enjoy my life right now, even if I've hit a speed bump in my writing plans.

Do you make plans with your writing life? How well do they pan out? What do you do when you hit a speed bump?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor living in coastal North Carolina. When she’s not at her computer, she is happily playing in her kitchen.

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Blogger Sioux said...

Elizabeth--I think our writing is like the ocean. (Or, at least MINE is.) There's ebb and flow to consider. Sometimes our writing is at high tide--lots of words, lots of projects, lots of productivity. Other times, our writing is at low tide. Not much time or not much inspiration. Things--sometimes ugly things, sometimes fascinating and alluring things--float in close enough for us to grab onto.

If a writer doesn't take the time to live or doesn't find some balance between their writing and the "stuff" that makes up their life, I think their writing suffers.

Enjoy your in-laws, enjoy the recipe work and enjoy the fiction writing you're doing...'cause soon, it will be high tide again.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

It's an honor that the publisher asked you to write another book! It means you did a great job, and you are smart for knowing that at this point, you can't enjoy life and still get the work done. You did a smart thing that we can all learn from.

8:16 PM  
Blogger bin love said...

Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.
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12:02 AM  

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