Some people have orderly lives.
I am not one of them.
It happens, all too often, that Real Life laughs in the face of my writing ambitions. It's happening now, as a matter of fact. I am THIS close to finishing a draft of a manuscript. I've got "The End" by the tail and I desperately want to catch that damned elusive beast.
Tarot clients to read for. A crit partner who needs a read of a manuscript in short order because she has an actual contract. A chronically ill feline requiring extra care - you know. Life. This is also the weekend randomly selected for the garage sale that is meant to divest us of our last earthly possessions - the ones that we kept around for that off chance that we'd ever move off the boat and back to earth. Lots of stuff. Come one down. There's even a Harley Davidson Sportster for sale. Special for you, Saturday. While all of this is happening, you can bet I won't be making word count.
What to do?
Write in the cracks. Keep pen and paper, or a voice recorder (the IPhone has a good one) or some other means of jotting down notes, ideas, snippets of dialogue, flashes of 'Oh! I know!' brilliance. You want something that has to boot time. Instant on. No batteries to be dead. You'll scribble notes in the rare down moments between one client call and the next. Or you'll voice record a clever dialogue bit while idling at a stop light. So long as that's legal in your state. There's no scene writing unless you find you have an extended wait for something (doctor's waiting rooms are good for this). The point is to scribble scene notes so that when you return to your keyboard for the real thing you can hit the ground running. This story shorthand serves to keep me immersed in a story even when I can't make major strides in pursuing it. It keeps me thinking about the characters and the conflict - keeps my head in the game, so to speak. That way, when Real Life untwists her knickers and lightens up, I don't lose a day going over what's already written to remind myself of where I left off and who these people are.
I've mentioned my other strategy before, too, but it bears repeating. Orders of precedence. This entails ranking things in orders of importance. When Real Life is cranky with me, mine looks like this.
1. Keep myself alive.
2. Keep husband alive.
3. Keep felines alive.
4. All other living things relying upon me for sustenance kept alive.
5. Day job because it enables number six
6. Bills paid and food acquired.
8. Everything else on earth can wait unless they rise to the point of threatening well-being (that old container of sour cream at the back of the fridge develops sentience and begins making demands) or getting someone arrested (there does come a point with the laundry...)
I would strongly prefer that none of this was necessary - that life unfolded in an orderly fashion with little to no drama. I'd like an organized life. It may be that my priorities are the issue. It may be that I'm simply not wired for well laid plans. But if I don't write, I become crazy. And not in a fun way. So I adapt to grab what writing bits I can steal from any given day. Perfect? Not at all. But necessary.