Making it Work: Flexibility

It’s funny how the little things in life can affect you. One moment you’re going along, writing your book(s), happy as can be, and the next moment you’re in bed sleeping off powerful pain killers that you’re taking because you had to have a tooth ripped out of your jaw.

As writers, such vulnerability can be a huge impediment to our already uncertain writing schedules. We already have day jobs, demanding family and friends, every once in a while we even have a semblance of a social life, and every single one of those things contends for top priority with our writing.

So how do we keep the words flowing? How do we keep ourselves constructively working on our writing when any little thing can throw our hard-bought schedules and progress to the wayside?

Well, there are a couple of options, really.

Going postal is a great way to show your friends and family what is most important–go ahead, tie them up in chairs, duct-tape their mouths, and sigh in pleasure at the lack of interruption you will face. Of course, this option does have its little (read HUGE) drawbacks. Not only will you lose your biggest fans/support team, you will also be sentencing yourself to life as a fugitive of the law. A lonely fugitive, at that.

The other option (to most, the only option), emerges from the echelons of Chaos, a place many organized writers hate. It is, simply, flexibility. You can’t realistically control your environment. You can’t control how you’ll feel after having a wisdom tooth pulled. You can’t control how crazy your life will be once your professors start throwing homework assignments your way. You can’t control your boss or the weather or the economy or the political sphere.

As much as we’d like to think so, this condition is not unique to writers, either. All of humanity has struggled with the need to adapt since the days of Adam and Eve. Thankfully, we were created with that ability. From the fig-leaf-clothing of our earliest ancestors to the legends of early nation-states and the morality plays of Medieval England, the ability to adapt to environment, political sphere, society, economics, and just life in general are examples of people’s ongoing need (and ability) to be flexible.

The key to success then, hinges on our ability to adapt. We need flexibility, plasticity, adaptability. Successful beings (whether they be people, plants, animals, etc) must adapt to their environment if they want to live to reproduce–or be published. As with all growth, writing growth occurs when we realize that WE cannot control our surroundings, we can only do our best to work with what we’ve got.

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