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Monday, March 19, 2012

Dealing With The Unexpected (March Madness Check-In, Day 19)

 How do we deal with the unexpected?

Sometimes things come from out of left field. We can't always be prepared for all things all the time. Whether they're good or bad, news, events, and even feedback about our work can throw us out of our rhythm.

My plans for the weekend went out the window on Tuesday. A spontaneous family invitation out of town, one that was worth accepting, meant that I'll be away from home until late today. And so I canceled appointments, booked off tomorrow so I'll have some time to wind down when I come back, and early Saturday I left for a relaxing three-day Vancouver Island getaway.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Not exactly something to complain about. *grins*

I am of course grateful for this. I needed it after a stressful week. But it wasn't exactly what I'd planned. I'd set goals for the weekend! Places to be! Don Rocko and I were supposed to catch a movie! A dear friend and I were going to hang out (and those plans, I forgot to cancel. Oops.) And on top of all that, I had this post to write!

But when my plans changed, I had to readjust. I spent time that I would have normally devoted to my creative endeavours packing and getting ready for the trip. It threw me off my game. Fortunately, in this case everything worked out well, but we all know that isn't always going to be the case. So as easy as it is to fall into the comfortable, planned pattern of our daily lives, we've got to be ready to accept surprises when they occur.

How do you deal with the unexpected? What strategies do you have? March Madness folks, have there been any surprises thrown your way this month that you weren't expecting? How have they affected your goals, or did you find a way to work with them?

So far I've had ample opportunity to devote time to my March (WIP) Madness goals, which included catching up on my reading and working some more on my WIP. I finished my second pass last week, and now I'm onto a third (and hopefully final) list of items to fix before I send it out into the wild. This weekend away has proved fruitful, with intense epiphanies about how to make the story better. And earlier last week, I also got some research done on my other novel project, as I researched the character's identity and roots. How about you?

I might not be able to respond much until I get home tonight. And don't forget to stop by Denise Jaden's blog tomorrow, where she'll draw for more fantastic March WIPmadness prizes!


  1. I also readjusted my writing plans yesterday after I got a text from my mom saying my brother was coming for a visit. So very little writing done, but I got to see my family, so all worth it.

    I've got beta reading to do today and maybe a scene or two on my own WIP.

    Have a great Monday, everyone!

  2. I think the best way to deal with the unexpected is to just try to be in the moment. Realize that things happen and roll with it. Flexibility is key. Glad you had a great weekend.

    This morning I slept in because there was no drafting to be done. But I have printed out my manuscript and will start spread-sheeting my scenes for my bookmap this evening. I also finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone and that is one amazing book.

    Great week all!

  3. I think I like your unexpected much more than mine :)

    Actually, this past week has been somewhat humdrum on the homefront. Humdrum in a good way that kept me working on my goals - but I will need to find a way to juggle going back to school to get a medical office specialist certificate, along with writing, home, and So for now I'm appreciating the humdrum because it's going to get hectic in a couple weeks.

    This morning I added 1k to story, am revising a short story, and have edits to do. I should clean the house a little...maybe...we'll see :)

    Have a great week!

  4. My life is just one unexpected occurrence after another. LOL. I'm slowly getting through this project, whenever I can, sometimes in five minute spurts. My latest challenge is that The Shiny New Idea has appeared in the recesses of my mind, promising to be much much better than this current project. Ugh. Go away, SHINY NEW IDEA! Come back on April 1st!

  5. I hate to sound like a holy-roller here, but I use this proverb to help me deal with the unexpected: Proverbs 16:9 - "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

    So, when the unexpected happens, I take it and roll with it. :)

    March Madness update: no writing yesterday, but thought about what I want to write; will write a little this afternoon and kick it into high gear tomorrow.

    1. That's a great verse to keep in mind, Linda. I believe God has a plan for me as well as for my writing, and I just have to be diligent in doing my part to fulfill the plan. If he changes the course of my day, I expect he has a reason.

    2. Thanks, Carol. :)

  6. LOL that picture is funny! And I guess I just roll with things too, cope the best that I can!

    As for check-in, I worked like crazy writing on Saturday, but took a break yesterday. This morning I did awesome checking blogs, and I'm ready to write this afternoon! Also getting my query ready! :)

  7. I'm good with the unexpected at work or anywhere that isn't home. But if my wife changes the day's plans or something happens I wasn't expecting, it's difficult for me. It's weird.

    I wrote 2579 words today. My brain is slush and I work in three hours so I'm finished.

    Good luck, all!

    1. 2579 is awesome, Brandon! That's more words than I've managed all month (although admittedly I was focused on revisions for much of the time). If I could get that many words down in one sitting I'd be thrilled. Good for you!

  8. I think having goals and readjusting them for the unexpected is better than never setting goals anticipating your writing time will get interrupted. Does that make sense? I am this close to getting my 1500 words in today. I did not get my 2 blog posts written this weekend, but I did get a start ~ something I wouldn't have done except I thought I should at least try considering I set the goal. I fell short, but I'll get there. I plan to get back to the blogs this week.

    I really am a planner. I like to go to bed the night before, knowing what's on my schedule for the next day.

    It's nice seeing how everyone else is doing. Makes writing less solitary.

    Good luck.

  9. I wish the rock in my road were that enticing. Hope you had a good time. Even when the distraction is a good one, it is frustrating when you have a WIP goal to meet.

    Mine has been the day job through monkey wrenches in my plans, but then again, that's the job that actually pays me to do something. So I had better do that something. Invariably, family crises fall on my shoulders more than the hubby's. I'll just roll with it and daydream my WIP while I'm running a kid to the doctor or cleaning the carpet where the dog vomited six times or making that last minute banquet for whomever...

    Today, I was bogged down with writers who needed my help. Students. As arduous as it was today, it was still satisfying to watch that light come on for someone else.

    The good news...I am halfway through the final chapter! Woohoo!!!

  10. Our hot water system busted over the weekend, but fortunately it coincided with my day off after finishing the latest draft.

    My Monday accomplishments included researching agents and starting to plot a new story, which I'm really excited about.

    I also got feedback from a CP that really has me flying. It's amazing when someone really gets your story, loves the bits that you love, and can point out areas that need strengthening. CPs are a fairly new development for me - no one outside my immediate circle read my last book - and I have no idea how I survived without them.

  11. Your opening question started a chain of thoughts, and brought to mind that I *don't* deal well with the unexpected! Given a choice, I prefer a nice orderly run of days... but then, doesn't everybody? I guess I'd miss out on a lot of life's little adventures if I had my way.LOL.

    Most times when the unexpected turns up I just carry on, one step at a time, dealing with whatever it is and trying to rework the other parts of my life to fit everything in. Sometimes I can; sometimes I can't, and have to let something go. The problem with that is, the "something" is usually what I consider selfishly "just for me" stuff, which can mean my writing or time to read, etc. Until I'm published it's hard to justify my writing as a top priority.

    As for today's #wipmadness, I'm writing a bit this afternoon, and planning to write a lot this evening. Hopefully it all goes according to The Plan. :)

  12. Oh, I love your unexpected, too! What fun! My unexpected starting last Thursday (which lasted until Sat. night) was making a Sock Monkey pinata for my daughter's Spanish class. Not the easiest task. Saturday afternoon I nearly had an anxiety attack trying to come up with ideas on how to cover our base paper mache monkey. The project cost us $29, and 3 days of our spring break. Fri. & Sat. are usually spent on my free writing, needless to say, I didn't get much free writing in.

    I'm not so good with just rolling with it. Lol!

    Got quite a bit of rewrites done yesterday. I'm at 22k done. :)

    Hope everyone has a super, great day!

  13. Okay. I am officially done with this pass at this particular MG Humor revision. For the rest of this month, I shall be putting the final touches on the YA Historical, Chlöe. Unless, of course, the unexpected happens. ^_^

    Party on, Wipsters!

  14. Congrats on finishing, Angelina!

    I'm trying really hard to ignore the unexpected and concentrate on revisions. Plugging away, one chapter at a time ...

    Happy #wipmadness to all!

  15. Yes, I know all to well about things just happening. It seems like there's always something going on around here. I just have to go with the flow and do my best.

    Today was able to tackle one revision chapter. I swear this is almost becoming a rewrite. I'm trying to flesh out my story. So far it's gone from 50K to almost 60K. And I'm not even to act 2 yet in my novel!

  16. Evidently, the unexpected for me was burn-out or something. I only barely wrote anything today. I know where the story needs to go, but I didn't get there today. I may try working more tonight, but I'm starting the week behind. At least I did some cleaning. Still doing some heavy thinking and it might be why my production has dropped.

  17. No writing for me today. I'm in my "post-nightshift fog" -- I knew I would be, lol, so I planned on doing housework today so tomorrow, after some sleep, I'll be free to work like mad on my revisions.

    Re: the unexpected -- I read a NF book years ago, and although I don't recall what it was, one thing has stayed with me: the author's way of looking at all those distractions and "unexpecteds". She chose to think of them as blessings rather than interruptions, trusting that in the big picture (or in hindsight) she would see that indeed that's what they were. It really helped her "go with the flow". I should adopt her attitude more often, I think -- sometimes I'm good at rolling with it, but sometimes I get annoyed when things take me away from my planned writing times.

    1. Hmm, I don't think she used the word "blessings", but you get the point.... ;)

  18. I've learned to go with the flow, roll with the punches, etc.

    Since the gear switch from the MG WIP to the Crime Thriller Series WIP, I've returned to stories that I haven't looked at in two years. Looking at the stories with 'fresh eyes' has proved helpful in the editing process.

    I'm also in research overdrive for my Script Frenzy entry, trying not to get bogged down by all the information. I want to ensure that the plot lines are plausible, especially if I'll be referring to and writing about some notable figures in history.

    My aim is to stick to the essence of the story and not get caught up in the details. That might lead me to go off tangent and delve into a lot of potentially tricky concepts in philosophy, religion, psychology, science, etc.

    Recent creative developments and obstacles have taught me that a deviation from the itinerary isn't necessarily a bad thing. Now that I've opened my mind to accepting all possible ideas and scenarios, I've found many new useful nuggets to use in my WIPs.

    I'll continue with the mantra: Get the story out first, then worry about the rest.

    Hope everyone's forging ahead.


    Tonette dela Luna

  19. Couple of surprises came my way last week, lol. But what's helped me is having this routine of reading writing and blogging in place. Sort of get pushed off track, but then find it easy to jump back on. Or, easy-ish.