4 Tips for When Your Writing Plans Go Awry

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You’ve been waiting all day to sit at your desk and fill up page after page with your amazing story ideas. Yet, when you pick up the kids from school, you find out about a project that’s due tomorrow and you realize you forgot to thaw the meat for spaghetti night. You’ve got to put your plans on hold--again. 

While it may be frustrating when your writing plans don’t go as expected, there are four tips to help you make the most of the moment. 

Be grateful. 

The last thing you probably want to do when your plans go awry is to focus on gratitude. Guess what? It’s exactly what you need to do. Being grateful shifts your mindset from the negative “woe is me” attitude to powerful, uplifting thoughts. Embracing gratitude will help you to see exactly how blessed you are in spite of this damper in your plans.  

Not many people are aware but a local news reporter reached out to me to do a segment with some other writers. When I read the email request, I convinced myself it was a scam. In my mind, there was no way my name would come up on a news reporter’s radar. Even though the TV network’s supervisor had a change of heart and the segment didn’t happen, I chose to be grateful. Knowing someone recommended my name to even be thrown into the hat spoke volumes. 

Whenever your plans or opportunities don’t work out, I challenge you to choose gratefulness--even if you don’t understand what happened. Your mood will be lifted and you’ll be able to see other avenues you can pursue to showcase your work.

Write about it.

I’m a writer. So it’s no surprise that writing is my preferred coping method when plans go awry. When life deals you a “bad card,” consider writing your way through it. Grab your journal or open that Google document and pour your heart onto the pages. You can write your stream of consciousness, use writing prompts like these, or focus your writing on creating a story from your experience. Don’t feel pressured to show your writing to anyone else. This can simply be your reflection journal. 

These reflections can serve as a reminder in the future that although you endured a challenging experience, you made it through. Regardless of the shame or sadness you may feel, you realize you eventually got to the point where you chose to rise again. 

Be truthful.

Truthfully, sometimes your plans don’t go as expected because it’s simply not the time for you to have your heart’s desire. Guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that! You just have to keep at it, friend. I’m a firm believer that God’s timing is perfect. Instead of giving in, though, we’ve got to keep marching forward. Get better at our craft. Invest when we need to and be open to learning and accepting positive criticism. 

David was anointed to be king over Israel years before he ascended the throne. That didn’t make him less called or anointed. He simply had to wait. While he was waiting, he still used his gifts, served God and others, and learned invaluable lessons along the way. 

If it’s your waiting season, be confident knowing that your time is coming. Don’t be complacent or jealous of others. There’s a place for you at the table. You just gotta keep waiting and working to get there. 


If you’ve pitched the same piece over and over again only to receive the same dreaded rejection letter, you’re not alone. Before you throw in the towel, consider the power of the pivot. Without pivoting, we may have never heard of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. No one wanted to publish her classic tale. Instead of giving up, Potter decided to self-publish her work instead. She knew the value it had and wasn’t going to allow any publishing company to make her think otherwise.

You can do the same. If one method of marketing your writing isn’t working out, try another. If one product isn’t selling well, you can choose to improve it or focus more on the items you sell well. Don’t allow frustration and rejection to stop you from pursuing your writing dream. You have that burning desire for a reason. World-renowned motivational speaker Les Brown puts it this way: don’t think of hard times as “bad days” but as “character-building days.” So, learn to pivot, my friend, and strengthen your character in the process. 


What about you? What do you do when your writing plans and opportunities don’t pan out? Share them with us in the comments below!