If you're a follower of this blog, you've come to expect a new post every Friday. You also no doubt noticed that this past week that post wasn't there. There's a reason. Simply stated, life happens, and some things in life just naturally take priority over others. Such was the case for me last week.
Normally, I begin to cogitate on an idea for a post on Monday, if not before. It usually comes together by Thursday morning, at the latest (less frequently by Wednesday), and it's ready for posting by early Friday morning.
Last week, however, there was little time for cogitation and even less for writing, editing, formatting, photo acquiring, and posting.
In an earlier post, I recounted my conundrum about how best to deal with sweetgum balls. Well, I settled on a solution, and the tree came down.
Priority No. 1 on the following Monday, therefore, was to cut up and remove that impediment to lawn-mowing pleasure because the grass (er, weeds) were getting a bit out of hand. That task proved harder for my aging body than my still-young mind expected.
That afternoon, my sister and brother-in-law texted that they were vacationing nearby. Because we see each other so infrequently, we immediately invited them to visit and spend a couple of days with us. Family ties proved far more important than lumberjack duties. Besides, my aching back needed the rest their visit afforded!
Early Wednesday morning, sis and bro-in-law left to resume their vacation. Ten minutes later, my wife and I were on the road in the opposite direction to see our new-born grandson, our eighth grandchild overall and our first Southern-born grandson. Again, family trumped tree removal or blog posting on the priorities list.
During this 3 1/2-day excursion, more than a single newborn kept us busy. We spent evenings and overnights with one daughter and her family, including two lively and delightful granddaughters. Days we spent with the new mother and her family, which also includes two energetic and playful granddaughters. (The new grandson was less energetic, preferring sleeping and eating--and still more sleeping--over playing with grandparents.)
At some point during all this busyness, I remembered the blog post. But by then it was past "post time." Besides, I had more important things to do.
That's often how it is with the writing life. As important as our writing is, life's events often are more important. That's why we must have established priorities. We ignore those events at our own peril. We can't afford to be so tightly tied to our to-do list, routines, or schedule that we don't allow time to deal with life's truly important moments.
I once had a supervisor who said, upon my declining her request that I do overtime because of a family obligation, "Oh, I understand your wanting to be there for your kids' important moments, like graduations and birthdays, but. . . ." However, kids remember not so much our presence at such "big" moments as they do our regular availability at the "little" (to us) moments that are actually big moments (to them). Such as when they need comfort, advice, or encouragement.
Similarly, our writing can be stimulated, not stifled or interrupted, by the serendipitous occurrences of life. We must not, of course, allow such moments to become excuses for procrastination or laziness. But we should be able to embrace them when they present themselves as opportunities. We must then seize the moment while it's there for us to enjoy. Then we can return to our writing enriched, inspired, and energized.
It isn't often that I've missed posting something on my blog according to the established schedule. On those rare occasions, you can be assured that it's for a good reason, at least according to my life priorities.
How about you?
Are you viewing life's occurrences as opportunities to enhance your writing and enrich your life and the lives of others? Or do you view them as mere interruptions and distractions?
That sweetgum tree in my yard will still be there amid the grass tomorrow (however, not much longer, I hope), but my siblings and new grandson might not be. Eventually, I'll get that tree cut up and moved somehow, and I'll do my best to post to my blog on schedule. But I won't allow either task to prevent my enjoying family members while I have them.
I hope that's your attitude, too.