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Have you ever found that some things just happen at the right time? You are driving into the supermarket parking lot and a car pulls out of the spot nearest the door just as you are coming in? A lame example, maybe, but it happened to me this morning. But finding convenient parking spaces is not what this post about. It’s about a newsletter I received from an author I subscribe to. Yes, I subscribe to a lot of newsletters so I can learn new things. Anyway, this author doesn’t mind me writing about her because I have her permission to reproduce her article in its entirety.

For quite some time, she has been battling cancer. This post has to do with the results of her latest tests and why it is important to have a plan B. The reason I’m writing this is because I too have to have a plan B. In a few weeks, I’ll undergo a procedure to burn a mass on my kidney. I never thought it could happen to me. I have always been healthy, but hey, it happens to the best of us, and this is why Beth’s post is so timely and so encouraging.

Here it is:

Plan B.
Beth Ann Erickson

I just got off a great roller coaster ride called the “cancer checkup.” At first, this “vigilant monitoring” by my cancer team felt reassuring, comforting. “If they find something,” my doc said, “they’ll catch it early.”
Okay. Fine.
Except, the luster has worn off this gem. Last year, docs suspected I had ovarian cancer. After a nightmarish gauntlet of tests, poking, prodding, and general angst, it turned out I was ovulating. (What? A female ovulating? Whoda thunk?)
This year, it was plump chest lymph nodes that landed me in the test tube. With nearly two months of my summer burned up in uncertainty and stress, I like to think I’ve become fairly proficient in working Plan B.

Here are a few tips for when you need to formulate and implement an emergency Plan B:

When faced with uncertainty, whether it’s emergencies blasting your schedule, health emergencies, the echos of other people’s actions… here’s tip #1: Keep your editorial schedule flexible. Hard deadlines will add stress to an already difficult situation. Give yourself lots of lead time to ensure you can handle your projects with finesse.

Tip #2: Understand that some days will sweep you away. That’s just the nature of life… especially as you, and those around you, age. One trip to the MD can burn through an entire day. Easily. This is a big reason it’s important to keep your schedule flexible.

Next, be kind to yourself. Watching other writer’s success can be bitter sweet at this point. It can be difficult to look at your own circumstances and compare your career to another person’s. That’s an unfortunate trap you should be aware of and actively avoid.

Every human earth plays a part in their own orchestra. To compare your song to another’s is a futile activity. Enjoy your music. Allow others to play theirs, no comparison necessary. Truth is, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, mostly you live between these two points.

Also, be sure to have a contingency plan to adjust things fast. When I was in the middle of the latest, and quite serious, cancer scare, I had a way to swap around every project at a moment’s notice, relying on trusted team members to take care of essential tasks. I also worked ahead, for example, mailing royalty statements early to give me lots of wiggle room if my publishing schedule got decimated. I figured if I had my ducks in a row and everything went south, I could exit the office a while before all heck broke loose.

Lastly, treasure your faithful readers, team members, and be sure to thank everyone who supported you during your rough patch. Life can be difficult. None of us will make it out alive. The kind people you meet along the way are precious. Always remember that.

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”

While this article is targeted to writers, I believe most, if not all of you can benefit from Beth’s words of wisdom. As for me, I’m taking each day as it comes, doing the best I can, and trusting God to do for me what I, or the doctors, cannot do for myself. Until next time, I covet your prayers.