Small, short-term goals that lead to the completion of long term projects are the "secret" to my ability to complete several novels in parallel. I normally know exactly where I'm at on every active project, and set daily goals for writing, reading, or editing. Every day.
But when life throws you a curve ball, you have to know when it is time to forget all about that stuff and refocus on what's really important.
This last week was a perfect example.
My wife, Paula, went in for a routine colonoscopy on Monday morning. I considered bringing along my computer to write during the procedure, but decided it was too much bulk to transport for too short of a window of time. Everything appeared to go normally during the appointment, which lasted a couple of hours from arrival to departure. We came home and Paula napped while I organized the kids a bit and then left the house to take the twins to their Monday gymnastics practice.
Gymnastics practice is one of my most productive writing times because after dropping the girls off, I normally go to a restaurant and work, taking only a brief break to eat a light meal. This time, however, I'd only been settled into my chair for about forty-five minutes when I got a text from Paula telling me she needed us to come home. She was experiencing severe pain and nausea.
By midnight, Paula and I were in the emergency room awaiting a CT scan technician to arrive.
It turned out that during her procedure, Paula developed a colon perforation. This is extremely painful and can be life threatening if a serious infection results. She was admitted to Methodist hospital at 4:30AM, about the same time I got home to catch 2 hours of sleep before getting the kids off to school Tuesday morning.
The next four days were an exhausting blur of worry, anticipation, telephone calls asking for help to watch/transport children, and very limited sleep. Even when I did get a chance to lie down I was having trouble sleeping for longer than an hour -- such was my concern for my spouse's condition.
Today, she was released from the hospital, and is resting in our bedroom, just where she ought to be.
It goes without saying that there was no writing this week. Not even any plot-work going on in the background of my subconscious. Writing is great, but sometimes life has to come first.