I was talking with a writing friend at the end of last week. She’s trying a new schedule this year to keep herself organized and focused with her writing, something that isn’t easy as she’s raising kids.
She and I agreed that it’s very easy to feel guilty if you aren’t able to work on your writing on a given day. Especially if you’ve gone to the trouble of setting a schedule so you can keep track of what you’re “supposed to do” and when. Personally, if something comes up unexpectedly that interferes with my schedule and my work, I get pretty darn frustrated. And I get down on myself sometimes for not being able to accomplish the work I’d hoped to.
It’s important to remember that life happens. If we work a wage-paying job, sometimes we have to take sick days or time off to go to a child’s appointment. Sometimes the car won’t start and we can’t get to work at all. Sometimes there’s bad weather.
In our writing careers, things are going to come up. We aren’t just plot-bots spewing out words in fifty seconds or less. We’re humans. We might have wage-paying jobs, or family, or get sick. We need to give ourselves time and understanding when things impact our writing. The world will not end if we don’t finish that novel when we’d intended. Even if it’s already been pitched to a publisher or agent and has a deadline attached, we can contact the other party for more time. Chances are, they’re human too and will understand.
So be gentle with yourself if something keeps you from writing or completing other tasks. It’s okay. Life happens.