You train yourself to follow a set routine and you give everyone in your family a printed copy of your daily schedule just so there'll be no confusion about when you are available. You follow your routine religiously and it works for you. You get your writing and related tasks done efficiently and on time. You're gaining ground on procrastination and you have a ready strategy for dealing with writer's block.
You've got this writing thing down pat.
Good for you. But wait a minute, what do you do when in the midst of your writing schedule, an idea comes calling, beckoning you to switch gears? And no matter how much you resist, it will not leave you alone? Jotting it down for another time doesn't silence it. It keeps calling.
It is admirable when we can be so focused on the writing at hand that we are not sidetracked but remain steady, rivited to the page or screen until we've completed the task. But being so rigid with our routines and writing schedule can be stressful in the long run and deprive us of the enjoyment in poncing on the unexpected spark of inspiration and running with it, just to see where it leads us.
Flexibility even in our daily writing routines makes for variety, discovery and adventure. Are you flexible?
Flexibility entertains inspiration.
We could be cheating ourselves of our best work when we are too rigid with our writing. When we are willing to be flexible, we are more in tuned to the gentle flickers of inspiration and what we put on the page (or screen) is more moving, more insightful and more in line with our true voice and our passion for our favorite topics or writing specialty.
The next time you approach a deadline and settle down for the final edits, make sure that you are flexible enough to recognize a new direction coming on. It may take you off your pre-determined course and on a adventure that takes you out of your comfort zone and into new horizons.
Flexibility explores opportunities.
Staying flexible ensures that we do not miss the opportunities that flash across our path as we travel on our writing journey.
If we are too stringent with our routines, our niche areas and pet topics we might miss great opportunities to advance our writing careers. When an opportunity calls us to be adventurous, to wade to the deep end of the pool or simply to dip our toes in the cold water of unaccustomed writing, we might dismiss the idea outright without serious consideration. And we might do that out of fear that the project is beyond our capabilities and we will fail.
That mindset can keep us stuck in the same old round of topics, markets and circle of writing friends but if you want to get out the rut and take your writing up a notch, learn to be flexible.
By all means have a plan, an outline, a vision for whatever you’re working on. Honor your editor’s requests, fulfill your writing obligations, meet and exceed your deadlines and follow the rules of submission for print and online publications. But stay flexible enough to hear the unexpected voice of inspiration. Stay flexible enough to recognize, examine and accept a great writing opportunity.
You never know where inspiration and opportunities will lead you. So stay flexible, switch gears, take chances, spread you wings and explore the writing world.