blogger: Cynthia Ruchti
Contrary to popular belief, the writer’s theme song is not “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Not that it isn’t wonderful. So much of what we do–musing, creating, building story worlds, research, interviews, developing characters, or finding ways to express what others can’t–fills our souls. But especially now, it’s good to remind ourselves that our actual theme song is “It’s a Flexible Life.”
What’s certain? Death, taxes, and change. Sometimes abrupt change. When have we heard the words pivot and agility as much as recently? How we handle change or disappointment, how we respond to upheaval reveals a lot about who we are as writers.
They paint themselves into wordless corners.
Inflexible writers see pauses as defeat, rejections as demoralizing, interruptions as irritations, and schedule changes as intolerable.
Unless a writer dances to the tune of “It’s a Flexible Life,” he or she will assume a contractless season is a fallow, unproductive, wasted season. But it can be just what the author needed to:
- Write with wild abandon and possibly discover a different genre that’s a more perfect fit.
- Invest time in connecting with people and build an audience (harder to do when you’re on back-to-back deadlines).
- Update a website, start a podcast, bank blog and social media posts.
- Write more books.
- Read more books.
- Emerge from the fallow season stronger, more confident, wiser about the industry, the craft, and life.
You, writer, may be facing upheavals in your writing schedule, your contract terms, the way your mind processes even simple tasks. You may have been told your project is on hold, postponed indefinitely, or not quite there yet. Your plans may be scritch-scratches that seem laughable now.
The writing life is a flexible life.