Planning Ahead & Falling Behind

We had company for seven days last week. It is part of living in Florida: People want to come visit. (We’ve had more visitors in two years living in Bradenton than when we lived in Muncie and Kokomo, Indiana, where we lived for ten years of our post-college married life.)

When company comes, I try to plan ahead, especially with the blog. Last week, for example, I posted three blog posts which I actually wrote more than a week earlier. I scheduled them to appear last week, even as I was enjoying the company of our friends Matt and Kathy Crow.

At the same time, I can’t “pre-plan” responses to the blog, or replies to email and Facebook messages. I can’t work ahead when it comes to interacting with other writers via social media. I can’t do the writing and editing that is next on my to-do list ahead of time.

And, it’s that last area where it becomes difficult to “re-start” the engine. I know it is true: When you fall out of the writing routine (even if the routine is a very loose one) it can be difficult to get back into the groove. What do I have to do? More so than at any other time, I have to strip away the distractions. Unplug the internet if I’m working at the computer. Work on the manuscript while sitting on the porch. Lock myself in the guest room. Fire up the Pomodoro timer. Just DO IT!

I have a deadline for Thursday, and as I look at my manuscript, I realize how much work I’ve created for myself in this revision pass.

Which is to say, if I don’t reply to your Tweet or email or blog comment, if I ignore your phone call, if I turn down your request to substitute teach, this is why: I have to focus today. I have to focus. (Repeat until it is true…)

Have a great week, friends. Happy Writing!

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