When A Writing Gig Falls Through

Train WheelSometimes things just don’t go the way we want them to.  I know, not a shocking revelation.  After participating and succeeding in National Novel Writing Month in November, I started to get a little cocky about having my novel’s rough draft down.  Well, heck, it is a pretty big accomplishment; I think I deserved a little time to bask in the moment.

And then an interviewee pulled out of a huge assignment I was writing about him.  Ouch.  That one hit me right in the wallet.  I had been poking around in the research and talking to the guy for a couple of weeks.  I was already imagining where the paycheck was going.  And with one brief phone call it was gone.  Poof.

With that extra time on my hands I began to flounder.  I absolutely work better under pressure, and now there was no deadline looming.  There weren’t even any real assignments.  Uh oh.  I tried to do some research on a few ideas, but then the usual distractions of the internet would lure me away.  Damn you, Pinterest.  Facebook, why can’t you just let me work?  Ugh.

Suddenly, during a routine distraction of blog reading, serendipity struck.  The writer was talking about using scene cards to put down and organize your thoughts to aid in writing a book.  I’ve had a nonfiction book about my friend that I have been trying to write for a couple of years.  I know I’ll need to use some serious kid-gloves to deal with the subject matter, so I just keep pushing it down further into the “someday” pile.  This blogger’s technique could finally be the way to make this work.  I felt re-focused.

I began to delve into the next steps of my book, determined to make something out of November’s “shitty first draft”.  And that’s when it happened; the phone rang.  Yep, just like that I had another big assignment to replace the one that got away.  And the research I started on the original gig?  I’m recycling it for at least a small piece or two that I can sell.

I guess life is funny that way.  When you think your ship has sailed, and try to move on, a new train of opportunity pulls into the station.  The lesson I learned?  Sometimes you just have to do a little down-time and start making a new plan.  Surely something will come along to derail it.

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