"Life is what happens when you're making other plans." John Lennon said it first (I think).
Most of us have said it since -- or at least acknowledged the truth of it.
My plan, back in September, was to go to England and France for two and half weeks, then come home and spent the next four and a half weeks working on a book due this coming Saturday.
The book had been stewing about in my brain for quite a while. I had lots of notes and I even had three plus chapters written and a rough idea of the rest of the progression of the story when I flew across the pond.
I intended to do research there for two other books -- and I did. For two and a half weeks, including a whirlwind trip to Cannes, life went according to plan.
I should have known . . .
While I was there my 8 year old granddaughter was diagnosed with mono and was missing lots of school. Her working parents -- who work two hours apart during the week -- needed someone to stay with her. So when I got home, my plan to settle down with the book evaporated. I did my laundry and caught a plane to Texas.
I just got back.
I discovered several things about life -- and writing -- in the past three weeks in Texas:
- self-entertaining 8 year olds (yes, they do exist; at least one does) are wonderful focusers for the mind. If you want to keep them self-entertaining, you must at all costs be busy yourself. Thus you get a lot written.
- writing is one of the careers you can take anywhere and it moves in a backpack. You can do it in doctor's offices, on planes, in rocking chairs while Webkinz are having a tea party all around you. You tune them out and thus you write a lot.
- not being in your own house relieves you of the responsibility of seeing the food at the back of the refrigerator or that the oven could use cleaning. Thus you write more.
- Wii Fit is not necessarily for elementary school age children and their mothers. Writers needing to stretch their muscles can also benefit. And I personally am hell on wheels at Table Tilt. You go back to the manuscript refreshed and smug because you've tipped all those little balls into all those holes -- and, rejuvenated, you write lots.
- The Asus EEE PC (which I have had for over 6 months now and have taken everywhere) is God's gift to writers and gets online in places that confound me. It also allows you to write in places no one ever wanted to write - and thus you write more.
- That I would not want to write a whole book on an Asus EEE PC because my fingers are too big and the space bar doesn't like me. But if you are not traveling every day you can take a bigger laptop as well which has room for fingers and an accommodating space bar. And thus you write more.
- Skype is not quite as good as being home, but darn close. My dogs think I look funny on Skype. (So do they). But when I see them I'm happy, and thus I write more.
- Flash Drives are another of God's many blessings, and you can name them (Mine are Kingston, Aruba, Thingy and Big Red) which makes them seem like accomplices or collaborators, and thus you don't feel quite so alone -- and then you write more.
- That if your characters have been eating pizza for a month in chapter four, and you can't get them away from the dining room table, there is something wrong, and it is probably not the pizza. It probably even happened before you got them to the table. And if you figure out what it is, you can probably keep them away from the table and get past the scene and then you will write more (and get beyond chapter four and make your deadline -- and your editor will be happy).
- That until you figure that out, you are perfectly within your rights to skip ahead and write the ending of the book and then go back and see if the rest of the cast is still dawdling over the pizza. Sometimes the perspective you get from the end will allow you to forego the pizza altogether (not always, but sometimes). In any case, when you're writing chapters nine and ten, you're writing more.
- That spending one-on-one time with a grandchild (even a self-entertaining one) is a great joy -- and if you should happen to include a child of the same age in your book, the grandchild doesn't mind if you pick her brain for research. In fact she offers suggestions. And then, because she's reading over your shoulder, you write more.
- That I can write 35,000 words in three weeks (who knew?) and type The End before a deadline.
- And that when I do, I don't have to write anymore.
Or I won't until the book comes back for revisions.
Can you write with distractions? Or if you don't write, do you multi-task well? Do you like it or would you rather focus on one thing at a time? Do you have writing tools you wouldn't want to do without?
Stop by my blog and meet Big Red -- and check out my list of tools I wouldn't want to be without.