“You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” German Proverb
In the last two months, this German proverb has been a way of life for me. Progress on the new manuscript–oh wait. Hurricane break. Progress on the new manuscript–oh wait. Another hurricane break. Progress on the new manuscript–oh wait. Another interruption with something else that just won’t wait.
I started to get irritated. (Sorry, irritation is the best I can muster when so many are suffering.) And then I thought about it, back through the last decade of writing, and I realized that that proverb is actual a natural guidance system for writers. It warns them that regardless of when they’re writing that new manuscript, there are always going to be breaks, interruptions and other things that just won’t wait.
Whether it’s gallies coming in on another book, plans for booksignings or appearances, workshops or website updates or your agent or editor needing a new proposal, a marketing blurb, your ideas for that new cover or judging a contest, teaching a class, answering questions or doing interviews. There’s always a running list of things to do and often many come in and need to be done now.
That kind of makes even “irritation” seem like wasted emotion, doesn’t it? Maybe nitnoy annoyance would be more appropriate.
Some things can be planned into the schedule, but many can’t. Sickness, sick spouse, sick kids come to mind. Last minute opportunities. First chance opportunities. Hurricanes. And hurricanes. And hurricanes. (It’s been a very active season!) An unexpected morning, afternoon or day with the gran. (NOTHING is a better surprise than this! Sheer bliss!!!)
Mmm, a question strikes: How often does ANY writer NOT have a new manuscript in progress? Thinking back here…
I usually work on three or four books at one time. I don’t remember a time since 1987 when I haven’t had at least one book in progress, but more often than not, I’ve been working on four of them, and they’re all in different stages. That means the only way to not have interruptions to a new work is to not have a life.
Uh, no thanks. Uh-uh. Not me. That’s too expensive a cost to pay, even for something you love.
So upon reflection, I believe it’s wiser–and healthier–to not be upset at all by interruptions to the new manuscript in progress. Life is in the interruptions.