You know the quote, right?
Steinbeck used it as a title.
But I had to do a little Googling to find it’s origin is in a Robert Burns poem. (I’ll admit to not loving Burns as much as someone who says they enjoy poetry probably ought. But I’ve always preferred Yeats or Wordsworth. And that’s neither here nor there.)
And still, the phrase–and the idea behind it–is somewhat ubiquitous.
I tend to go out of my way to make sure that, insofar as I’m able at least, I don’t put myself into situations where my plans can’t adapt to the changing tides of life.
But last year, when I was setting up the pre-order for the final book in my Billionaire Next Door series, I goofed.
I thought giving myself until the end of February–a solid six months–was plenty of time. It should have been! But as I’m sitting here writing this blog post, I’ve also got the mental math of how many words the story needs divided by the number of days until I’m supposed to be publishing it (minus the days that I need to give my editor, gulp) and…I might be panicked.
Fall of 2023 was strange. Out of nowhere, the five year anniversary of my mom’s death, my sister’s continuing battle with terminal cancer, some challenges from my husband’s family that are going to impact us, and just general stress from all the normal things that are part of being a wife, mom, daughter to an aging father, and person came crashing down all at once. And I froze.
Every time I’d open my Word document to work on Tristan’s story, I would freeze. There were no words. There were no ideas that might turn into words.
I managed to force out some progress through gritted teeth and force of will. But it’s been slower and harder fought than anything before, and honestly I’m scared to finish and go back through it and see if it’s even salvageable. (I will, mind you, but the prospect is daunting.)
And so I’m keeping in my back pocket the idea that I may have to crawl over to Amazon, throw myself on their mercy, and ask about pushing the pre-order deadline out. Something I’ve never had to do before (and really don’t want to do now). I hear that they’re generally pretty nice about it, but it feels like failure. Like I’m letting everyone down.
I don’t love that feeling.
Having hit this wall, has been very influential in how I’m approaching my planning and “goal setting” this year. Generally, I like to plan on publishing four books every year. One every quarter should be doable.
But there’s that “should,” you know?
So maybe in 2024 it’s going to end up as three.
And that’s okay. Because while the best laid plans of mice and men often come to ruin, the plans of God never do. I know that He has a plan for my writing. The wall I hit didn’t surprise Him – in fact, in some ways, that wall has been good. It’s forced me to let go expectations surrounding my writing – something that had been creeping in more and more over last year, and stealing a lot of joy from the process.
Tristan’s book will definitely come out in 2024. And, hopefully, at least two more books. Beyond that? I guess I’ll just be waiting to see what God has in store.
In the meantime, the first two books in my Peacock Hill series are free through Sunday. If you haven’t read that series, I hope you’ll give it a try!
I’d love to chat about plans you’ve made and had to change and how that worked out for you.