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.

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