Imagine you're in your car, intent on reaching your destination, when you spot a wide yellow stripe across the road ahead. And in case you needed confirmation, on the side of the road is a warning sign.
Speed bump ahead.
What do you do? Accelerate? Maintain speed? Slow down? Your decision will affect the shocks and undercarriage of your car and jostle any open beverages. However, once you adjust to the consequences, you are free to continue on your way.
Why this discussion now? I've been facing several speed bumps in my own journey toward my writing goals. I'd originally hoped to revise and polish two completed novels by Christmas. Then, for the past month and a half, my day job piled on a lot of extra work with tight deadlines. So instead of 20-hour weeks, I've been putting in 35 to 40 hours a week on top of Mom duties, leaving very little time, energy, or inspiration for writing. The result? I backed off my goals to simply getting agent queries, proposals and the first three chapters of each ready.
Then, with a little breathing room at work (i.e. a 25- to 30-hour week), I hoped to get caught up with my critique groups. Until we had an internet glitch at home and I couldn't download the chapters I needed to look at.
What did I do? I slowed down, took a mental break, worked on a puzzle, read a couple short stories, and took a nap. Once the computer guy got me back online, I was ready to get back to work, with my sanity intact.
There's much to be said for a steady pace toward the destination. But when life tosses in a speed bump, I found there's nothing wrong with slowing down and getting over it safely. For now, it's time for me to get back to work on my goals.
What about you? When life gives you a speed bump, do you slow down or do you try to continue at your original pace? What have the results been?