A day late, and a whole bunch of words short

This years is off to a rough start. That’s OK. Shit happens and I have 355 days left to fix it. My total word count should be 10,000 by the end of the day. I might bit half of that. If I bust ass.

Being a trucker taught me a lot about dealing with being behind schedule. Dispatch doesn’t like to leave much wiggle room when making loading and delivery appointments. You’ve got a set number of hours you can drive every day. And you have to get every mile you can out of those hours, or you’ll find yourself way behind schedule. It was a regular occurrence to have a 1,500 mile trip with a grand total of an hour of leeway. This makes being behind schedule almost a natural state for a trucker. Bathroom breaks, road construction, traffic, weigh stations, etc all conspiring to put you further behind schedule.

One thing a trucker can not afford to do when behind schedule is cut corners. When you start cutting corners, things get dangerous. Sure, you might exceed the legal speed limit a little. Or you might fudge on your logbook a little. But when you’re piloting an 80,000lb rig from one side of the country to the other, cut too many corners and someone is going to get hurt or killed. Driving faster increases your safe stopping distance almost logarithmically. Driving tired has a severe impact on not only your reaction time but also your general decision making.

So what do you do when you are behind schedule? The answer is simple on paper but harder in practice. Accept it. Do the best you can to get back on track, but understand that you are limited. Showing up a little bit late and having to reschedule the delivery appointment is preferable to not getting there at all. But no matter what, you just keep on trucking.

Writing is much the same. Without the risk to life and limb. If you try too hard to “catch up” your output will suffer. You risk burning yourself out. You risk writing stuff that you have to spend twice as long editing than if you’d paced yourself.

So don’t stress. Accept it as a fact and do your best to get back on track without putting yourself further behind in the long run.

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” – Douglas Adams

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