Sometimes the best laid plans come to nothing, to paraphrase Shakespeare. As writers we often run up against a wall, despite all we can do. This week showed that no matter how well organized we are there are powers at work beyond our control. Yes, don’t we hate to admit that, those of us who are determined to control our writing lives.
Last week I joined a new promotion site on invitation when I followed a link put up by another writer. Bublish advertised that it was for writers and our books would be displayed on shelves in what they call bubbles. If I would furnish information for a bubble for my latest book, it would be displayed at the New York Book Expo beginning Monday. The information was due Monday.
Following all the instructions and writing something for each request: a short synopsis, writer’s input, an excerpt, a bio, images of the book and myself. I filed this away as it was supposed to be sent Monday, June 4. Not by Monday, but on Monday. These books posted by invited authors would be shown at the Expo. The site is free.
Sunday night a crashing thunder storm hit. The wind blew, thunder shook the house, lightning lit up the mountains, rain poured in sheets. At 4 a.m. the electricity went off. It came back on around 9:30 a.m. and I eagerly sat down to my computer. My chore on Monday is to take care of the pile of emails that pour in from Saturday evening when I stop work through Sunday, when I don’t even turn on this machine and into Monday morning. But my first job was to send my information to Bublish. Didn’t want it to be late.
Well, you remember those powers that be which I spoke of earlier? They were at work. No Internet. Okay, nothing unusual. I’d wait. Called my daughter who lives next to me out here on the mountain to make sure it was the Internet and not just me. Sure enough, DSL was off, so I worked on formatting a book to send off to my publisher. She called in a couple of hours, said the Internet was back on. So I eagerly hit Chrome Browser and waited, and waited. Nothing. A quick check and the computer said no deal. It couldn’t repair the connection.
Okay, downstairs to the “hotspot.” Unplugged everything, waited, waited, plugged everything back in. Still nothing. No WiFi to TV or other computer, so it wasn’t mine. TV and DVD worked fine.
Last resort. Call computer guy, who also has a part time job. He can’t come till Tuesday afternoon. Guess I lost my spot on Bublish. Expo goes on all week, so maybe if we get it fixed by this afternoon I can still make it. No way to know but to wait and see.
So this makes me think of a lot of things in life over which we absolutely have no control, no matter how we plan, or put things in order. Things will go wrong. But there are ways to remedy this, much like I’ve done following our storm:
1. Make sure what you’ve tried will not work
2. Try fixing your submission
3. Call someone for help
4. Search for another solution
5. Know when to put the piece away and write something else
When I was younger I would’ve gone from frustration to anger to a crying jag over something like this. Now that I’m older and more mellow, I just figure whatever happens happens. When we’re young anything that deters our plans seems like the end of the world, but later we learn that isn’t true at all. Something else will come along. But only if we help that to happen.
When the line I was writing for in New York closed after I’d just begun a good start there, four books published, sales rising, no best sellers yet, it spelled doom for my contract as it did many others. Some tucked their tails between their legs, quit writing and went on to something else. I couldn’t quit writing, still haven’t. I learned that out there somewhere is a place for all of us in which we can do what we love to do.
Now, to look at this properly, those who stopped writing and went on to something else to satisfy their creative needs, also learned how to solve their situation. That was best for them. Those of us who couldn’t quit writing found our solution in other ways. We dug in and moved on. And along came small publishers, Ebooks, Kindle, with new opportunities.
So my lesson for this week: Do your best, organize, plan. If it doesn’t work out turn to something else. Don’t bemoan your dreadful fate and give up, because while you’re doing that you could, instead, be organizing and planning something else. If we sit back and wait for good things to happen, they won’t. If we keep putting our writing out there, more often than not, good things will happen. Some will come from the most unexpected places.
Ten years ago who could have imagined what is happening today in the writing world. Just as we can’t imagine what is to come in the next few years. But if we don’t stick around to experience it, we’ll be missing out. So weather the storms, stand up, dust yourself off and get to work.