- Ann Schwarz
- I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Focus Under Derailed Conditions
We all have days like this where we've planned for our day to go one way when something else happens and not a single one of those plans seems feasible any more. How does that saying go? "Man plans while the gods laugh," or something to that effect.
Despite my efforts to live in the moment doing so brings its own set of frustrations and limitations. For me living in the moment right this minute is adding more stress than it is helping.
This might be because I know that today I must go to the grocery because we are getting low on essentials, one of them being toilet paper. However, I also have a sick kid at home who might have a strep infection again. Apparently, the strep bug is really bad this year. My daughter who I suspect might be sick with it again hasn't had any problems with this since kindergarten when she had her tonsils out. The fact that she might be sick with it twice in three months is a bit worrisome. Added to that concern is the insistent need I have to go to the store at some point today to buy toilet paper, chicken noodle soup, bread, and milk and you can see why my mind is having trouble focusing. You see even living in the moment doesn't help when you face sudden derailment and planning ahead seems laughable. So what do you do when you're stuck? You do what you know you can accomplish moment by moment and trust that somehow things will slowly work out the way you need them to.
My first order of business today was to get an appointment for my daughter to see the doctor. Once that was accomplished I ate breakfast and worked on my next order of business, getting some much needed reading done and out of the way while I let my sick kid sleep. She got some much needed rest to help her feel stronger when I have to take her out of the house to see the doctor and I got a task accomplished that I'm working under a deadline on for later this week. Why you may wonder does a writer need time to read when writing is their job? Reading is often a big part of writing. In the case of today it is instructional for two reasons, first it will help in the research I'm going to need to focus more on in the coming months for a novel sequel I'm going to be starting soon. Second this particular book I'm reading also happens to be the work of a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, and reading work by masters of that caliber can't help but give me ideas on ways to improve my own writing craft. But I digress. After I got some reading done it was time to wake up my girl child and that was quickly followed by the need to feed her. One hopeful sign that she might not have strep (because I'm still hoping she doesn't despite obvious blistering in the back of her throat) is that she isn't feverish and she hasn't lost her appetite. I guess technically those are two hopeful signs, but hey I'll take both, thanks.
After I got her fed and set to work on finishing her homework I got my own lunch, took a rapid assessment on what I absolutely must get at the store sometime today, and then let the dogs out. While playing a short game of fetch with one of my dogs, who demands that as part of our lunchtime routine, I gathered my thoughts on what to write about for this very blog post, which I am now working on. And that is a rundown on how I've managed to focus under unexpected circumstances beyond my control. Do I regret that my blogging may have to count as my writing for the day? Yes. But I knew that December would be a hard month to accomplish a lot of writing in, any way. I factored that in to my goals for the month from the get go. Despite my efforts to live in the moment each day, I still can't help but set goals for the week and the beginning of each month on what I'd like to accomplish. Doing so helps me on days like this. It helps keep this temporary derailment in perspective as a small bump in the road. Tomorrow my daughter will hopefully be feeling better and be able to go back to school. And perhaps we won't run out of toilet paper if I'm lucky until then. If not I guess I'll be gathering my thoughts while pushing my shopping buggy around the store later tonight hoping to find inspiration in the everyday adventures I face as a novel mom.