The last few weeks have been brutal.
Felled by sickness (I’ve been calling it the conference crud, because it started right after the San Francisco Writers Conference) a month ago, a lingering malaise that lasted nearly three weeks; moving on to moving my daughter-in-law back from Grand Rapids and seeing her back off to San Francisco after a non-existent job offer; followed by minor eye surgery (STILL surgery! and my EYES!); and capped off by the serious illness of my #1 Day Job office girl (in the hospital with double pneumonia, nearly died, OMG) – can life throw out any more lemons?
The answer is probably.
All of these major setbacks have thrown my writing schedule completely off kilter. I still have the ideas bouncing around. I have this Donald Maass online class I signed up for back in January, and I haven’t been able to keep up with the exercises, much less apply the exercises to my WIP. I probably should have dragged myself out of bed while I was hacking my lungs out, or tried to write via touch typing while my eyeballs were covered in miniature baggies of frozen peas, even though I’m pretty horrible at typing while blind.
In the meantime, I’ve tried my hand at writing some online articles, which I used to be able to whip off in my sleep. Okay, maybe not in my sleep, but back in the day, I could concentrate on work and writing at the same time. By the looks of it, this is a skill I have lost with the onset of old age. This one article alone took a full three weeks to write. Even the restaurant reviews are lagging in queue.
I have been harboring a huge case of regret at not being able to write. Fretting, actually. I miss my 3 p.m. time slot where I escape to my quiet house and write. Time is precious, and I don’t have a lot of it. I moved heaven and earth to make 3 p.m. my Good Time to Write.
All of this mayhem lead me to an observation: There is never a good time. For anything.
Think about it. Some people wait to get married and have kids. The excuse? “It’s not a good time yet.” They’re waiting for money, maturity, a pinpoint in the horizon when life will be carefree and the backyard will be a replica of the Garden of Eden.
People sometimes wait to buy a house. They’re waiting for a raise, a drop in the interest rate, or a market collapse. They’re waiting for their Uncle Charlie to die and leave them a boatload of cash to make the down payment.
Some folks will wait to quit a job. I waited 12 years to quit my crummy job at the Post Office, and the reasons were many. I didn’t have to drive very far. I couldn’t get another job to match the money or the benefits. Never mind that I was miserable in a hostile work environment, I had two little kids who seemed to get sick every other week. My husband had just started his business, and he wanted me to stay on in case the business tanked. We might have been left with only my income. It took a local postal shooting before I re-thought my mindset.
I know people who will wait to take up hobbies until they retire. They’re full of big ideas of the places they’ll travel to and the things they’ll do, but then Life grabs them by the balls. They run out of money. They get sick. They die. Unfulfilled.
As writers, we have to be diligent about writing. There’s never a good time to write. There’s never a good time to do anything in life. You have to get out there with your machete and carve out your own little niche.
Which I will be doing for myself later today.