An Unexpected Gift

My husband told me earlier this week, unexpectedly, that he could watch my son on Friday morning so I can go to an appointment and then he said he would stay home and I could take the whole day to work on my writing and my business.

My plan is to spend the day writing and creating some content for my website. I have a couple of projects that need a few hours of uninterrupted time to really get some momentum going.

You’d think I’d be excited and energized. A whole day to myself to do whatever I want!


The closer the day gets, the more resistance I feel.

When I noticed I was feeling resistance (at first I just felt irritated and thought it was because of external circumstances) I knew I needed to look at my thoughts.

I believe our thoughts cause our feelings, which in turn cause our actions and, therefore, our results.

So, what have I been thinking about this gift of a day?

  • It’s not enough time to get anything real done.
  • What if nothing comes and I end up with a blank page?
  • What if I waste the day?
  • What am I going to write?

All of my questions are just thoughts in disguise: What if nothing comes and I end up with a blank page? = Nothing will come and I’ll end up with a blank page.

All of these thoughts cause me to feel anxious, which leads me to procrastinate, which will result in a blank page at the end of the day. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now that I’m aware of my thoughts, I can question them. None of them are The Truth, they are just thoughts.

Now that I’m aware of my thoughts, I can respond to them in a calm manner:

  • Whatever I get done is what I need to get done.
  • You will get words on the page and that’s the goal.
  • You won’t waste the day; you will live it. That’s all that’s required.
  • You know what you need to write.

I can reassure the part of myself that generates all these negative thoughts and choose to focus on thoughts generated in another part of myself: All is well.

When I look at the day ahead and the resistance I feel, I realize I may need to take myself on a little Artist Date, rather than just sit at a desk all day. Maybe I’ll run or go to yoga, as physical exercise always clears my mind.

Once I’ve worked through all my negative thoughts, I realize I’m not feeling irritated, or resistant, any longer. I can see the day ahead for what it is: A true gift.

Now I feel energized and excited, which I know will help me get words on the page and make progress on my projects.

What are you thinking about your writing time?

**For all Hudson area NaNoWriMo participants: I’ll be hosting another Write-In at Rodger’s Memorial Library on the evening of November 25, 2014. Come join your fellow writers as we crank out the words! For more information, click here.**

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, family physician, mother and stepmother. The more I examine my thoughts, the more words I get on the page.





13 thoughts on “An Unexpected Gift

  1. It’s hard to adjust to the unexpected isn’t it? It’s funny, I read this from a hotel room -a gift from my husband. He gave me a day to escape, use our ‘hotel points’ and just have an environment of uninterrupted noises and time to work on my writing! We must have really great husbands, you and I. Things like this make me panic at first too – what if it’s wasted?? I have too much to do, it won’t even be enough time.
    It turned out well for me. I hope it turns out well for you!

  2. That could be my mind at work !

    The key, as you say, is to encourage ‘living that day.’ It is very hard not to get caught up in how quickly it will pass and how many choices you have for using the time.

  3. Diane, your post was a godsend to me. Because of “pain issues,” I’ve been fretting about how I will accomplish everything I need to do, including rewrites on my current book. My mind is whirring with other stressful thoughts as well–such as, “Oh, the Holidays are right around the corner! How am I going to manage?” What happens then? Paralysis sets in, and I accomplish nothing. Better to set one small goal every day than be overwhelmed by all of the things you’re worried you’ll never get done!

  4. Today I had a very good writing day. I have been sick with the flu or or something. Motivation strikes when I think I am at death’s door. Thanks for this blog. Whatever i write is what I am supposed to write.

  5. Your post reminds me how vastly different some American women’s lives are from others, even though we share a love of writing. Aside from that, you asked ‘What are you thinking about your writing time?’ There is always so much noise in my head and heart regarding the life that I’m living, that filtering through it enough to write anything like a blog entry is very, very difficult. I usually give up and resort to something safer, my own private fiction, free verse or, occasionally, a small interlude of oddly dreamlike lucidity to a special friend on another coast, who loves to read it. And then I leave writing alone again. I can’t imagine analyzing the process beyond this. My solution, if I know that the correct thing to do is to be writing at some given moment, is to simply sit down at my laptop, say aloud ‘just put in the pin drive and put your fingers on the keyboard’, and then I do it. Otherwise writing would never happen.

  6. Awesome post!

    I think it’s the same thing with worrying. Worrying serves no useful function other than distracting us from being able to adequately take care of whatever it is we are worrying about.

  7. Oh yes, my goodness, I am glad I’m not the only one. I have 6 hours set aside every Tuesday where I do nothing but write. I always start to feel anxious and rushed at not being able to squeeze every drop of goodness out of that day. Really, I should know that I will get done what I need to get done.

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