At the end of last year, I talked about my plans for productivity in 2020. Today I want to talk about something just as important. Flexibility.
The simple fact is, writing calls for a lot of it.
So, your book, “the one”, didn’t land you that agent, or a book deal. You may need to shelve it. Cue anger, sadness, grief, despair. Shelving something has the connotation of putting something away that can never see the light of day, and will slowly grow old and moldy until you throw it out once the misery has mellowed. I don’t like thinking about it that way. Never have.
I prefer to think of it as that book that you just couldn’t finish, weren’t ready for, or the read that everyone loved but it’s just not for you right now. Too long. Too short. Too hard—some books need the depth of emotion that comes from certain events in life, and maybe some emotions were too raw, too incomprehensible, or needed more of your soul than you could impart. It’s just not for “now”.
And that’s where flexibility comes in. Are you ready to put down one thing and take up something new? Can you adopt a new path if that’s what’s needed for you and your work as a whole? It’s something to think about.
Being able to pivot in your course isn’t easy, particularly when it’s expected that a good dose of the stubborns is needed to succeed in writing. But there’s also a need for adaptability, a willingness to have multiple ideas, multiple goals, and multiple stories, and to be able to shift from one to another.
You just never know when you might have to change directions!