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Writing Obstacles Come in All Sizes


The schedule fell into place and 6000 words flowed easily onto the pages. It felt great to check off the work projects and make time for personal projects along the way. Day two may not have been as productive, but 4200 words still felt like an accomplishment.

Wednesday morning started off in a way that will never be forgotten. The air sirens announcing a tornado warning woke me just after six in the morning. The last warning ended just before ten that night. Wave after wave of storms tore through the community and left our lives flipped upside down.

There have been some good reasons for me to fall out of my schedule but having a tree in my house has to rank up there as one of the best excuses ever. Top that with no electricity, internet or phone and you have the grand prize of excuses.

Balance in my writing seemed like an impossible goal and I just wanted to regain my footing for the basics of daily living – getting up, eating, bathing, sleeping. My own words came back to knock me into line. “One distraction is as good as the next.” My dad pointed out that it might seem like a tree in my back room but it was just one giant distraction.

Climbing Over the Obstacles

    1. Write something – it was several days before I found the energy and focus to do actual work. But I kept writing – with pencil and paper at first and then with the laptop once we got a generator and it could be charged. I am still working on what to do with all of those words, but at least I kept the word gate open.

    2. Make the best of it – things will never be perfect and waiting for the perfect moment to get something done means you will be putting it off until the end of time. I wrote at the picnic table while waiting for the coffee to brew in the campfire pot on the propane eye. I wrote in the bed with a pen and pad while the youngest was still sleeping. I wrote in the car while we were on the road. It would be easier to sit at my FINALLY ORGANIZED work space, but I am not there and will not be there for many months to come. Give up or go one – so I am going on.

    3. Back down a little – there is so much to do at this point in our lives that every one thing we get done reminds us of another dozen that need attention. It will not happen all at once. We are sticking to the normal things of our day and adding just two or three additional items that will help us get beyond the obstacles and back to a place of normal.

    4. Quit waiting – for the first few days I just waited. I waited for the insurance adjuster, the contractors, the volunteers and the other laborers. It finally dawned on me that I would probably spend the next several weeks waiting on someone or something so I might as well get something done along the way. Waiting will get you nowhere.

    5. Be patient – sitting around waiting is a waste of time, but being patient has its benefits. There will be periods of adjustment and readjustment along the path. Keep a focus, but allow the changes to happen without the pressure of expecting it all RIGHT NOW.

Chaos comes in all shapes and sizes. My current chaos came in the form of a swirling wind. Eight confirmed tornadoes affected my county and at least two did damage within a few feet of our home. Reaching the success that I desire requires that I push past the distractions (even those that come in the form of an eighty foot tree in the back bedroom) and determine to move on.

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