Flexibility. No, I'm not talking about the ability to touch your toes or do the splits - I can do neither - and I'm not talking about anything related to the writing craft.
Instead, I'm talking about your writing schedule and the need to make it flexible.
The longer I'm involved in this writing business, and the more writers I talk to, I understand that one method that works for me will be devastating to another writer and throw them off their game. So with that caveat out of the way, let me tell you why I think flexibility in a writing schedule is beautiful...
It involves this girl.
Tuesday night, I had plans to write. I went on my evening walk and was about to hit the shower, then head on up to the office, when my daughter approached me. "Mom," she asked, "would you like to spend some time with me?"
My heart melted, and of course I said, "Absolutely." Any plans I had of writing went out the window. This was far more important, this moment, this time with my daughter who is growing so fast that sometimes I want to cry.
We played several games of UNO, laughed and talked. By the time 9:30 rolled around, I knew I wouldn't get much writing done - but I didn't care. I wrote about a half a page and that was fine.
Last night, to my surprise, my daughter joined me on my walk. We always have a blast - her sense of humor and her incredible imagination are a delight to behold. When we got back, I was outside cooling down with my husband and she came out with her glove and softball. Suddenly, I was on my feet again, helping her with her pitching and her catching, and then the neighbor and my husband got involved, and we spent the next hour and a half playing softball in the backyard.
Did I have plans to write last night? Yes.
But this was more important.
I finally went inside around 9 p.m., took a shower, and climbed into bed (I used some muscles I forgot I had while playing softball!) with my laptop and managed to write another page. It was enough.
That, my friends, is the beauty of flexibility. It's the ability to know when to put the writing aside for more important things. In this time when my daughter is growing so much and changing, I truly believe she needs her mama more than ever, more than even when she was a toddler. She needs me to be there for her emotionally and physically, and there is no way I will deny her that.
The writing can wait. It can be done in snatches of 30 minutes here and there. It can be done on lunch breaks at work, or during the weekend, or even when I really should go to bed after a long day, but decide to fight sleep and squeeze in just a few minutes of writing time.
The work will get done, some way, some how. It's important to me that it gets done. I'm not denying myself anything by putting it off for a few hours, not when I'm spending time with my daughter. There will come a day, not far from now, when she will fly from the nest and I will long for her sweet voice to ask me if I'd like to spend time with her.
Flexibility. Yes, it's a beautiful thing.
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