What to Do When Life Interrupts Writing

I could just as easily have titled this post “Writing Life and Goals Interrupted.”
Silhouette of woman running

When I posted recently on my goals for 2014, my enthusiasm and intention to hit the track running full speed ahead and keep up that pace was undeniable.

Life had other plans.

Often life does. Somehow it manages to stay far enough in the background that you don’t sense it moving in to your plans.

2014 started out with interruptions.

My husband and I were both hit with health issues. For him the issues he’s facing are enough to change the “who does what” around our home. I have assumed the tasks he usually does on top of my own. My appreciation for what he does regularly is growing daily.

Each day I have looked at the list of goals I carefully wrote out, and I’ve despaired that I’m falling behind. But I don’t want my husband to feel guilty. So, I say nothing and my mind whirrs with the schedule that’s already off.

But wait — should our goals be so rigid they make us miserable? 

Where does it say that attainable goals should be met on a given day, unless an outside source has set a deadline?

Is it healthy to be so inflexible as to ignore circumstances around you in favor of goals?

One can strive to complete the goals, ignoring life’s needs, or
one can be flexible enough to adjust those goals to fit them into
the current circumstances of your life. 

I would rather have not been faced with choosing to adjust my goals or set some of them aside temporarily. But it would have been my greater choice not to have my husband ill.

When thinking of goals, we must also think of flexibility, patience, and resolve:

  • Flexibility to accept and adjust;
  • Patience to wait out the current circumstances; and
  • Resolve to return to our goals and continuing striving toward the finish line.

Self-discipline

Do you have thoughts about the rigidity of goals or resolutions? Are you willing to make adjustments and allow the circumstances to take over temporarily?

32 thoughts on “What to Do When Life Interrupts Writing

    1. Rebecca, I agree now that I’ve had time to think about it. I think when I set these goals with the desire to finish my book this year, I was determined nothing would stand in my way. HA! Guess life and God proved me wrong on this one. Things are improving here, and we will be happy when Thursday arrives and Bob can receive his injection for his back pain.
      I love your Linky Party! 🙂

  1. Hi. I just nominated your blog for a Sunshine Award. Sunshine Awards are given to blogs who help bring joy to the world…and your blog certainly lends to that! Thanks for generously giving all the great tips to us writers, so that we can become better writers and maybe bring our own joy to the world.To view your nomination and see how the Sunshine Award works, check it out here: http://angelsbark.wordpress.com
    Congrats!

    1. I am honored by your nomination for my blog of a Sunshine Award. However, I choose not to get caught up in that kind of thing on my writing blog as it is purely dedicated to my writing and sharing with others what I’ve learned. So, unfortunately, I’ll not be participating. Thank you for thinking of me, and i would ask that you pass it along to someone else.

      1. I totally get it Sherry. This was my first time participating and it’s very time consuming to go through the whole process. Thank you for accepting the nominee request in the spirit in which it was given. Your blog does bring me joy because I’m getting so much out of it. So thank you! Have a great weekend,Michele

  2. Sherrey, I feel your pain. With the mission of having One Good Day at a time, I find I have to keep asking where the time goes.
    But your issue right now is more serious. I think everyone our age who has divided up chores with a spouse must recognize that things can change. I am aware that if I had to take on some of my husband’s tasks, I would not only be deprived of my own time but have to do some crash learning also. Blessings and grace to both of you as you navigate each day. They can still be good days. And the goals will just have to adjust!

    1. Shirley, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad I’m not alone on trying to ascertain where the time goes each day. 🙂
      I do appreciate the support I’ve received from the writing community. It is a place of great empathy and camaraderie, and I knew that but once again it has been proven by all the messages of compassion. And the days are good days no matter how bad they seem — we are alive and together! And the goals are adjusting as our sails to navigate the days.

  3. Having dealt with my husband’s health issues for years now, I’ve definitely had to learn to be very flexible. Life is full of the unexpected and we just have to go with the flow. Goals are good and can give some direction, but it’s good to recognize and know when things need to be readjusted for however long that is. Best wishes.

  4. Wise words, Sherrey. Sometimes life interrupts us and we have good and valid reasons for not reaching or having to readjust our goals. Even when we’d rather not have those reasons, adjusting is okay and necessary. I pray that your husband is better soon.
    Blessings my friend!

  5. I completely understand your frustration both as a caregiver and a frequent patient. It is important to retain a healthy approach when viewing our goals. This post is right on track.
    Someone said recently that goals can become gods when we view them in the improper light. I don’t want to worship them, just tackle a few, which is why the wisdom you shared is very essential to bear in mind.
    I pray that you and your husband will both be feeling better soon.

    1. Melinda, thanks for the encouragement and your gracious words. I especially latched onto “goals can become gods when we view them in the improper light.” Powerful! And we appreciate your prayers. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. It’s tough. I’ve been working on a novel for longer than some people understand but somewhere along the way I had a daughter with autism for whom I was the primary caretaker throw a bit of a wrench into my perfect plans. What can you do? Life intervenes at time and you just have to keep plugging away.

    1. When I saw you here, I suddenly asked myself why I thought this was such a big interruption. I’ve read some of your posts and am following you now. Yours is a lifelong interruption making mine seem almost trivial. But I know that whatever interrupts is important to the person who has been disrupted. Yep, we just keep plugging away.
      I think your daughter is a lucky girl. She has a daddy who loves her beyond measure and it sounds like he would do anything within his power to make her life better. Not every child is so lucky or blessed.
      BTW, I loved your post about church. 🙂

  7. OK, so now that I know I can post, I’ll post more. Lucky you! For me, it’s not just that I don’t have time, due to the interruptions. It’s that it has taken me out of the writer-mentality. Even when the interruption is pleasant – like a vacation – I have a hard time getting back into the groove. So, when it’s something difficult, it’s doubly so.
    I plan to post on this very subject, soon. Thanks for letting us know we’re not alone.

    1. Karen, it was coincidental that I read your post today and although not identical in circumstances, you truly state the bigger problem in your comment — it’s the disconnect and then reconnecting. I can’t wait to read your posts. And thank you for letting me know I’m not alone!

  8. I hope you will both be well soon!I can’t believe you posted this. I am feeling so frustrated. I haven’t had one second to work on my book since I don’t know how long and certainly not in 2014. Work and family interfere. I don’t want to feel this way, but it does irritate me.

    1. Hi Luanne! Thanks for the get well wishes and for commiserating by sharing your own struggles and irritations. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because generally the woman carries the brunt of the household chores and care-taking. It seems I either have to let the house go or I choose to write. And then sickness! I’m glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts.

  9. I keep imagining that other writers have “writerly” schedules they adhere to like clock-work whereas mine seems so “catch-as-catch-can.” For example, we just returned from a cross-country, week-long visit to see Cliff’s ailing Dad. We will never regret the trip, and they were so appreciative, but it was an interruption to my idealistic plans for the new year.
    You have many empathizers, I suspect. Prayers and good wishes for both you and Bob at this time!

    1. Marian, you were nearby. Well, not exactly close but I believe on a FB post Cliff mentioned you were in Spokane. I told him the next time you are so close there is an open invitation waiting for you two. We’d love to have you come and visit. Sorry your cross-country trip was for the reason it was and you are right — you’ll never regret it. But there was an interruption. And many thanks for the prayers and thoughts.

      1. Thank you for invitation, Sherrey. I’m sure one of these days we will have a personal encounter. In the meantime, stay warm, be well–both of you!

  10. Well, you certainly have struck a universal chord with this dilemma, Sherrey.Flexibility is the key and , as life goes, that sometimes means one day at a time. I agree, it is frustrating when life’s interruptions get in the way of our daily writing plans but as long as we are clear on your goals, we do what we need to do and get back on track when we can. I hope Bob feels better soon and you can both get back to where you want to be.Hugs,
    Kathy

  11. Who said, “Life is what happens when your busy making other plans?” I understand the dilemma and hope yours and your husband’s health improves. I actually needed to read this post today and have found some inspiration and solace in your words. Thanks.

    1. Funny you should mention that quote. It’s one of my husband’s favorites. I should remind him of it; maybe I shouldn’t. 🙂 I’m glad you found some inspiration and solace here. Thanks for coming by.

  12. That’s one reason I don’t make goals too far ahead. My goal for today –the main one–was to work on my “novel” I had been missing my characters. I did do that, so the day was a success.
    I’m a list person so every day I know what I “ought” do. Well of course they never all get done, but the ones I must do get done.
    I hope your husband is back to his chores soon.

    1. Sue,thanks for your thoughts on goals. I have never set goals before, except on the job at the law firm where I worked for many years and that was a requirement of the eval process. However, because I do want to finish my memoir, I thought this was the year to do it. Perhaps there’s a hidden message in all this disconnect so early in the year. 🙂

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