When Plan A Doesn’t Work Out

Ice crystals sparkle in the air, a silent symphony to accompany the winter sunshine. My boots crunch a pattern in the new fallen snow, weaving a path as I wander through the garden checking the birdfeeders and replenishing their supply of seeds. I wish it were as easy to renew my enthusiasm as it is to top up the feeders.

The world held its breath as one year transitioned into another. Now January exhales and we begin again. Tomorrow businesses reopen after the Christmas break and children return to their classrooms. There are a few more days left in my holiday but soon my office will beckon me back to work. I’ve been writing every day, but the plans I made earlier for one of my manuscripts have been thwarted and I’m full of impatience and indecision. I need to do some re-evaluating, and that’s not what I expected to be doing as this new year shifts into motion.

Like the birds that visit my garden, I trust in God’s provision and look to him for guidance. His timing is always better than mine. I know that. But….


On my bulletin board there is a plaque sent to me by Keli Gwyn that says, “Life is all about how you handle Plan B.”  When life throws a monkey wrench into your Plan A, how do you develop Plan B?

“Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” [Luke 12:7]


Facing the Unfamiliar With Confidence

We’re into a brand new year – a pristine wilderness awaiting our exploration.

Among the comments on one of my recent posts was one that has stuck in my mind. A writing friend admitted that she faces the publication of her second novel with a degree of fear…. something she recognizes as mimicking an earlier fear that “if I didn’t somehow [fulfill the dream], life would be incomplete and I would be a failure.”

Did you ever see the 1981 movie, On Golden Pond? I’ve been remembering the part where Henry Fonda goes hiking in the woods behind his cottage – I think it was in search of wild strawberries.  His memory fails him and what was once well-known terrain becomes terrifyingly unfamiliar. Lost in the trees he eventually finds his way back to the safety of the cottage. When he tells Katharine Hepburn why he came running back he says, it’s where “I could feel safe. I was still me.”

Not everyone faces this New Year with eagerness. For some of us who have spent the past year(s) writing in the secluded comfort of our homes and offices, the unfamiliar now looms out there on the horizon. The focus changes from putting words on a page to approaching agents, submitting manuscripts, sending our work out into the public eye. No longer are we just writing for ourselves, but marketing our creation to the world.

When we find ourselves faltering in unfamiliar terrain, and in need of finding a safe place where we are “still me”, instead of hesitating, procrastinating, or running back to the familiar, we need to seek that glimmer of light beyond the fear – to be reassured by God’s promises that he is the light, he is our refuge, and he goes before us into every situation.

It’s a new year. Step out boldly and explore with confidence.


Is there anything upcoming that is causing you distress or fear? How do you plan to deal with it?


Light arises in the darkness for the upright. [Psalm 112:4]

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. [Psalm 119:105]

Getting the Gears in Motion

Everyone but me seems to be packing away Christmas decorations, evaluating the past year and making resolutions for the new one. Everyone but me. Other people are clearing away their mental and physical clutter, ready to dive with fresh determination into 2010’s challenges. Me? I’m less than enthusiastic.


Part of me is ready to move out of holiday mode and return to routine while another part is procrastinating because I’m not quite ready to tackle what’s waiting for me.


You see, I have two works in progress, both novels, one of which has been haunting me for months. I put it aside last fall in favour of making a start on something new during NaNoWriMo. Why I put it aside is perfectly explained in a post by Katie Ganshart. I swear she was reading my journal when she composed it!


She starts out saying, “I’m reading through my rough draft of Wishing on Willows. Makes my stomach knot up like a tangled string of Christmas lights. I keep forcing myself to take deep, calming breaths. I keep reminding myself that this is how I always feel when I read through a first draft. My reminders do very little. Panic has its way. It perches inside my chest and heaves like a raving lunatic. Can you really fix this? Is this story even redeemable?”


Oh, how I know that feeling! I’ve revised, reorganized, reworked, revamped, attempted to revitalize. I’ve done it all and still it reads like the pages of yesterday’s newspaper. Or the telephone book. Or an outdated shopping list. You get the idea. So I took a break from it. Now that it’s time to get back to work I would be happier returning to my newer novel but that know-it-all part of my conscience says I need to finish the other first.


Katie’s probably right. She says, “The only remedy? Roll up my sleeves and get to work.” I guess it’s time to get the gears in motion.


Now that the holidays are over what project is beckoning for your attention?