Best laid plans. Dropping back to punt? No stress.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

Robert Burns (or John Steinbeck, if you prefer....)

January is not what I expected. Nor what I had planned. And I am perfectly okay with that.

I’m good with winter. While some people think of pretty winter wonderlands, I think of warmth and coziness and burrowing in. While others think of snowy, icy days filled with gray and gloom, I’m like—please snow me in so I don’t have to leave the house and I can get things done. I’m sorta like a squirrel. I gather what I need for the winter and hole up in my safe place for the duration—and generally, I write like crazy.

In November, I decided to take the last six weeks of 2020 off from writing in order to spend time doing author business planning for 2021, and to do some much-needed maintenance on all the things in my author ecosystem—you know, website, blog, newsletter, covers, blurbs, backmatter.... You get the picture.

I talked about that a bit on this blog post, if you want to check that out.

I spent quite a bit of time plotting out what books I wanted to complete in each quarter, which resulted in an aggressive release schedule. For the past two weeks of 2020, I itched to write but held myself at bay to finish some of those pesky tasks that I knew would never get done, if I did start writing.

I'd set my first writing day for Monday, January 4. On the evening of the 4th, at a little after eleven o'clock, my dad called saying, "I'm having chest pains."

Those words launched days of appointments, doctors, hospitals, tests, procedures, and well, a lot of worry and yes, quite a bit of stress. Dad ended up with three stents, the 4th one coming, and I'm now half-moved into his house—the house I grew up in.

I should be stressing about the writing schedule. I’m not.

It’s not the first time in my nearly 25-year writing career that my writing plans have been waylaid and I’m quite sure it won’t be the last. What I’ve learned over the years is that with me, my writing waxes and wanes, sort of like the tide. When I was working a full-time job, there were periods when I could balance the two—writing and day job—and times when it was impossible. I used to stress then.

But now? No. I’m telling myself that I’m being flexible. No stress allowed. At least not about the writing.

Plans are good. So are schedules. Burrowing in and working hard through the cold winter months are my manna. But stressing about what’s not getting done is not part of my dialog right now. Being flexible and present in the day, is.

One day, one task at a time. Things will get done.

There will be another phase of my life when I can drive myself crazy writing. I’m okay with that.


That said, my one task for January has shifted—and that is to get my new release out and in the marketplace on schedule. Ethan: Black Sheep Cowboy, is a second chance western romance, book 7 in my Parker Ranches, Inc., series. Who can resist a Navy SEAL back home on the ranch?

This release will happen on time. I hope you catch it!