Winter writing retreat, day 4

I figured folks might find this post useful, so I thought I’d go ahead and write it before I get to work.

Yes, you’re reading that right. It’s 10:30 at night and I’m just now getting to the writing.

The plan today was to take the morning off — we had some errands to run — and then I could settle in to write all afternoon. But, as my wife reminded me today, “Sometimes life happens.”

We had a mishap in the kitchen this morning, a stuck drawer and, consequently, a broken drawer pull (we’re strong in this house!), which just made the drawer that much more stuck. So after our regular morning errands, I had to then make a run to the hardware store and, at home, fix the drawer. And today we got our gutters cleaned, which I thought was a stroke of brilliance (pay someone else to do the chores so I can focus on my writing!) but it turns out the gutter crew was more distracting than I’d expected. Not a bad thing — I enjoy talking to crews who work on things for me, and I learn a lot — but between that and my kitchen drawer, my afternoon was pretty well blown.

No worries, I figured. I’ll just write a bit after dinner.

But first I had to make a batch of my homemade salsa and a dozen chocolate-covered strawberries for an event tomorrow, and fixing the drawer had made a mess of my kitchen, so I had to clean that up before I got to the cooking, and then I had to clean up from the cooking . . . .

Oh, and my sister gave birth to a new niece today (happy birthday, new niece!), and I’ve been engrossed in baby pictures.

So here I am at 10:30 pm, finally getting to work.

And this is okay. I mean, I’ll be honest, there were several times today when other things were going wrong that I added “I’m not writing” to my list of frustrations and let myself get pretty pissed off. But ultimately, this writing time is a wonderful privilege, and I have to remember that this is the way I usually work, writing whenever I can get the time. And, actually, I did get a little writing done today already — a couple of paragraphs and some research in a lobby waiting on an appointment this morning; half a chapter at home this afternoon between chats with the gutter crew. And besides, it’s not like the writing is going anywhere. Look: here it is, waiting patiently for me. Hi, writing. It’s good to see you again.

So if you ever want to set up a writing retreat for yourself, remember (and I needed reminding today, so it’s okay if you forget): sometimes life happens. And the writing isn’t going anywhere. So relax, and enjoy the writing time you have, whenever you happen to have it.

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

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