When Shit Hits the Fan

I have something to confess: I haven’t written a new article for the Monday Mailer in more than a month. A new article has landed in your inbox each week, as usual. But each was written weeks ago.

Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster, over the last few weeks. Our family has been dealing with health issues, unexpected expenses, flooding (thanks, spring in Toronto!), and various other problems. I haven’t had much energy for writing.

Thankfully, I haven’t had to worry about the newsletter — I’ve simply published articles I’d already written.

There are two tips I give to aspiring writers and bloggers:

  1. Never make promises.
  2. Write more than you need to.

Both are good advice, for the same reason: you never know when shit will hit the fan.

Take advantage of productive periods in your life, when you have them. A while back, I was really on top of my game; cranking out a handful of new articles a week. When life went a bit sideways, as it does, I was glad to have those pieces banked up.

So far, so good.

Unfortunately, I broke one of my other rules. I made a promise I couldn’t keep.

When I announced my book, Finish Your Damn Side Project, my work was going great. Planning had gone well and I was writing at a prolific rate. I felt confident I could keep that pace going indefinitely.

I should have known better.

It’s a project I know I’ll complete, but I’m done talking about it until it’s ready. I love sharing my writing process and the progress I’m making. The problem is, there isn’t any progress to share. The irony of failing to work on a book about completing projects is fairly obvious, I think.

When the work flows easily, use it to your advantage. And while it’s happening, stay quiet about it.