Ever hear the one that says: Obstacles are things we see when we take our eyes of the goal. Yeah? I hate that saying. Now, I’m into motivation as much (or sometimes more) than anyone, and I believe that a positive attitude can be an amazing asset. But obstacles are a reality and no matter how much you ignore them, they will not miraculously disappear.
And obstacles are a way of life.
Life is an obstacle in and of itself sometimes.
For example, when I introduce myself to someone, I introduce myself as a writer. But there are many obstacles to my writing, like the fact that I have to work full-time. Now, don’t get me wrong on this – I like my job. I appreciate not only the fact that I enjoy what I do and am paid well for it, but the very fact that I am capable of holding a job and being successful at it. This job provides the insurance coverage for my family, and it adds necessary income for my family’s budget. While I do not make anywhere near the money that my husband makes, I feel as if I am an equal economic partner in our marriage because I am able to contribute in a variety of ways rather than simply being taken care of and using his resources.
But the job eats a lot of time and energy, and that leaves less for me to work on my writing. It’s an obstacle.
Even within those hallowed realms of full-time writerdom, there are obstacles. You wait months and months to hear from editors and agents (if you hear at all). You listen to the jealous rantings of other writers who would rather tear you to shreds than acknowledge you might know more than they do on a certain subject. You have to schedule time for book signings, school visits, and other promotional activities to make sure that you are able to remain a full-time writer. While much of this may seem less like obstacles and more like a pretty good deal, I know several writers who are very content to sit in front of a computer day in and day out, but who are loathe to confront the very people for whom they write.
In reality, every aspect of life comes with an equal proportion of challenges. It’s a frustrating reality, and no amount of averting your eyes will take it away. So what does one do?
Creative problem solving.
Obstacles are used to being stepped over, ignored, or otherwise dismissed, so they make themselves bigger and badder in order to be noticed. Dealing with them requires some clever devices and a bit of “out of the box” thinking. I did at one time consider giving up sleep so I’d have more hours in the day, but psychosis isn’t a good way to function. I can’t quit my job, but I can try to make it conform more to my expectations. I attack it with a chair and a whip and it tends to cower in the corner and whimper. And I look at every spare moment as a moment for writing. If I’m sitting in front of the school, waiting to pick up a kid, I have a notepad with me to write on. I keep a notebook stashed in my bags I use for classes so that I can jot ideas or dialog while we are on break or if we finish a few minutes early. I keep a notebook in my purse so I can write story ideas or plot summaries or character details while I sit in meetings or listen to presentations.
I grab a few minutes here, a few spare moments there, and eventually I add them all up for significant progress on a project. No – I won’t be putting out a book every six months, but for now that will have to be okay. I’ll be putting them out when they come out, and they’ll be well-crafted, published by reputable publishers instead of sophmorish efforts produced by unkown vanity presses. I not only acknowledge the obstacles in my way, I willingly step on them, kick them, and do my best to keep moving in the right direction.
A better quote: Obstacles are those things we stomp on, climb over, and celebrate having trumped as we work our way toward our goals.