Thursday, February 11, 2016

Life And Writing: Always Battling For Our Time by Margo Hoornstra


Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans – John Lennon

Honest, I came up with the idea for this post about a week ago. Before Barbara and Diane put up similar essays on February 7 and February 8, respectively. Must be a trend. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the subject.

It was summertime and I was going great guns on my latest WIP. Bound By Duty, book two in my Brothers In Blue series. For about 30,000 words, I cruised along according to plan. My heroine’s problems were set and she was working through them.

Then she hit a snag.

Enter the hero to the rescue—sort of. You see, he has a mission of his own that is in direct conflict with her agenda. The hero wants to help, but has to compromise his principles to do so. What’s more important? His reputation or the woman he’s falling in love with?

One third done, only 60,000 words to go. I got this. Yeah, right. Then life began to intervene. Other writing projects, those on deadlines, took precedence. Family issues too numerous to mention cropped up. Then there was the part-time paycheck job offer I couldn’t say no to. None of the ‘life events’ were particularly earth shattering, but my writing time began to shrink. My word production waned.

Time to set a completion date goal and calculate the necessary words per day count needed to accomplish it.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

So far I’ve set, and missed, two self-imposed completion dates. I won’t bore you with the gory details. Let’s just say a third completion date failure looms ahead and life has yet to cut me and my writing plans a break.

Granted, I may be down, but I’m certainly not out. Through it all, I’ve been slogging along. All the way to a good solid 62,000 words and counting. Less than 30,000 more to go now. Definitely doable. On the up side (my new favorite term) I did manage to complete a solid 3,000 word, chapter by chapter outline. I know who does what to whom. Even where, when, why and how they do so. I even slipped in a few red herring characters along with their particular who, what, where, when, why and hows, and it’s off I go again.

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

Okay, this is too – you can’t make this stuff upish – not to share. My beloved sister-in-law, literally flying in to the rescue with some of the family pressures I’ve been under. Read - more writing time for me. Then.....
 
She gets off the plane, my son meets her at the airport, they collect her luggage and are about to head our way. Through no fault of her own, she takes a header off the escalator. A trip to the hospital, seven hours and fifty stitches around her ear later, she’s here, a little sore, but doing fine. I’m more than happy to take care of her.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Don’t worry though. I WILL arrive at the necessary 90,000 words in Bound by Duty and complete three and four in the series as well.

It’s just, I’ve learned my lesson. No more planning for me, writing wise. No more deadlines, for now.

Experience has taught me, life just simply doesn’t work that way. Thanks Barbara and Diane. It’s comforting to know we’ve all been there…and lived to tell the tale.

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the stories I write, please visit my WEBSITE
 
BROTHERS IN BLUE - Four heroes who met at the police academy to become life long friends. The dropout, the straight arrow, the movie star and the maverick. All share a passion to serve and protect, each in his own unique way.

 

25 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Oh no, Diane. I hope your sister-in-law is recovering well and the family pressures are easing for everyone. Congratulations on your progress with the book. I know you'll make it!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Leah. Truly one of those you can't make this stuff up moments. She's doing much better now. So much so we've taken to teasing her about landing at the airport twice!

Kristen Brockmeyer said...

Oh. My. Goodness. Hang in there and keep plugging along with everything - I'm cheering for you! (And crossing my fingers that nothing else bad happens...)

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Kristen. Plugging along it is!! ;-)

Alicia Dean said...

I guess the topic is just uppermost in writers' minds. We believe you didn't steal their ideas. :) I know exactly what you mean, setting goals and reaching them is extremely challenging. Just think, though, you are more than halfway there! So sorry about your sister-in-law. What a freak accident!

Nightingale said...

Luckily, I'm retired but I do still find that life interferes with my writing plans. I remember when I was a mother with young children, a horse farm, a full-time job and a desire to write. Enter life. My best to all those who are struggling with time, too.

Dana Nussio said...

You are so right, Margo. I hope your sister-in-law is better and that the words are flowing now. Stories are easy; writing them is hard. :)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Geesh! Most important in my mind...take some of that part-time earned money and take a vacation! It's not good to write on empty! Hang in there, Margo...we're with you!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Well said, well illustrated - yes, life does happen and keep slogging along!

Diane Burton said...

When I read Barb's and your posts, Margo, my problems seem so insignificant. Love the quote from Lennon. I should post it above my computer...or stencil on the inside of my eyelids. LOL I've found that I need deadlines (self-imposed or other). Otherwise, I'll dog around and never finish. Even when I don't meet them, deadlines spur me on. But if they were just added stress, I'd chuck them. I hope "life" gives you a break soon.

Jannine Gallant said...

Lately I've opened Margo's emails the same way you sort of look when you go by an accident...with extreme care. I told her her current life is a soap opera, and she's the queen. I'm just glad everyone seems to be on the mend. You'll finish that book. I have complete confidence in you!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks for the faith in me, not stealing-wise, Ally. I am an independent thinker! NOT! Luckily my son was there with my sister-in-law. (She wanted to rent a car and drive herself!) Would not have been a good idea.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Nightingale. After you retire the biggest question seems to be - 'How did I ever find the time to work?' Always a struggle.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Absolutely right, Dana. My favorite stories are those I haven't tried to write yet! My sis-in-law is better, thank you. Now I'm teasing her about how she landed at Metro twice!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Rolynn. Vacation(s) coming up soon. However, I can't help myself, I still HAVE to write!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Brenda. Sometimes slogging is what I do best!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Inside your eyelids would probably be best, Diane. Less of a chance to misplace those words. ;-) Sometimes deadlines work for me and sometimes they don't. Right now, they don't. Thank goodness for my writer friends, you included.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Nice to be considered queen of something, Jannine. And thanks for listening! Yeah, I WILL finish this one. Don't even want to think about what dastardly deed you'll do to me if I don't. ;-)

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Margo, what a delightful post. Well, not the part about your sister-in-law, that was scary. Writers often get singularly focused. I know I do. Life rolls past me and too often I'm too busy writing to notice. Now, I need to delete my post for tomorrow...because...because...LOL...I wrote about the same time management, goal setting thing. And not nearly as well as you.

Diane Garner said...

Sending positive thoughts for you AND your sister-in-law!

Sandra Dailey said...

I'm the one everyone calls in a crisis. Their reasoning: 1-Your schedule is more flexible, 2-You can write anywhere, 3-I'll help you get caught up later, (never happens).

Margo Hoornstra said...

No, no, no, Vonnie! Don't delete. Join Barbara, Diane and me. It'll be fun! We writers do tend to get focused though at times, don't we? Thank you for the compliment. My sister-in-law is doing fine now. Sore but fine.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Diane. She was very, very fortunate. It could have been so much worse.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Really, Sandra? Me too. I love the 'but you're home anyway' line. Nice to be needed, however..... Thanks for stopping.

MJ Schiller said...

I always enjoy your posts, Margo! So well-organized! Yes, as a writer you have to learn to let life happen sometimes and let the deadlines go. It is easy to let our imaginary lives take precedence over the real life people in our world. We need to live in order to have experiences to write about, after all. But, such a struggle. A daily struggle. And then you just have to let it go and do your best.

Thanks for sharing! So glad your sister-in-law is doing better. I've always thought escalators were kind of scary. Too many sharp metal edges around and the ground shifting under your feet on top of it! Wishing you the best with your deadlines. When all is said and done, the work always seems to get finished at the time it is supposed to. Whether that be before the deadline or not! Sending energy and positive thoughts your way!