Wednesday, March 11, 2020

When Life's Not Convenient

I hate inconveniences. Of any kind. I like things to be handy and efficient, to function the way they’re supposed to function. And I have a fond affection for neat and orderly as well. The mere thought of disruptions to the convenient, normal establishment riles my senses. Things like a missing remote control, an appliance that takes twice as long to complete its task, the continually malfunctioning dog-perimeter-boundary system that had me running home at all times of the day to round up the dog. And then there’s the woes associated with remodeling. The no-toilet-for-a-day situation, the no-shower-for-a-week scenario, the gutted-to-replace-everything kitchen. Which happens to be our current reality.   

For years we’ve put a major kitchen remodel on the back burner. A job loss, unpredictable income, and I will admit, a complete inability to fathom how we would survive a project of such mega proportions kept the remodel on the back burner. But a growing impatience with the functionality of my kitchen, and yes, the inconveniences it poses, won out over the fear of remodeling inconvenience.

Friends offered advice of varying levels of helpfulness. 

“Put meals ahead in the freezer.” Helpful.

“You can always wash dishes in the bathtub.” Not helpful.

“You’ll have a good excuse to eat out.” Okay . . . sure.

“Next year at this time, it will all be over.” Soooooooooooo not helpful! This guy’s lucky to have escaped with his life.

"Hey, where's the ice cream scoop?" 

We chose a gradual demolition timeline that would leave us with a partially functioning kitchen until the very last minute. My idea, to minimize the inconvenience, of course. The men assisting us with this monumental undertaking went along with the idea, grudgingly at first, but eventually agreed to the wisdom therein.

So far, I’ve survived. Oh, there have been days I felt completely undone and even depressed. But for the most part, it hasn’t been that bad. We’ve continued the tradition of Tuesday Night Family Dinner, resorting to take-out only once so far. Meals have taken longer to prepare, but we’ve not succumbed to the eating-out temptation too often, nor have we gone hungry. 

What I thought I could not handle has become a challenge from which to learn patience and flexibility. I’m thinking of getting t-shirts made to memorialize the “Great Kitchen Remodel of 2020.” But since the project has not reached completion, I’d better put a pin in that idea.

While I’ve managed to cook and maintain our home despite a mountain of inconveniences, I’ve not managed to resume progress on finishing the third and final book in my YA series. When life hit us with a series of blows last fall, I allowed myself to take a break. I really had no choice as so many other things begged for my attention. But when things calmed down after the new year launched, I promised I’d get back to it. Reminding myself that I’d planned/hoped to complete this book by the end of March, I knew I had to get crackin’.

Still, week after week brought nothing but a stream of rationalizations followed by more promises. Vows that as soon as this or that was resolved or finished, I’d seriously get back to work. I planned specifically to get started a couple of times, even earmarked a few hours as book-number-three time. But each time, something interrupted and spilled into that set-aside time. And nothing book-number-three-related happened at all.

It dawned on me that I’ve been waiting for it to be convenient to plunge back into Preston and Maggie’s YA world. Waiting “to feel like it” or to have my plate completely cleared of any other concerns. Better yet to have an entire, uninterrupted day to immerse myself in their story. Hey, why not several days away from the daily grind, maybe in a hotel like I squeezed in a couple of times in years past.

While that sounds positively dreamy, it’s not likely to happen. Hello . . . In the middle of a kitchen remodel, remember? With paint colors and faux finish techniques to finalize, a tricky ceiling to prime and paint, a pantry revamping that looks different to every person involved in the project. And the list goes on.

Only one thing is for sure. The book will not be finished by the end of March. The setback last fall was beyond my control, but I owe it to myself to finish this series. Readers are waiting for the conclusion to Preston and Maggie’s story. We both deserve to see this series completed.

But I need help. So, I’m asking for your best tips on getting back to a set-aside project. On how to write through the inconveniences life throws at us. Seriously, leave your best bets in the comments below.

Beth immerses herself in the world of YA via substitute teaching, by connecting with the teenage staff and patrons at the fast food joint where she claims the back booth as her office, and by reading YA fiction.

She's a "cheerleader" for saving sex for marriage and an even bigger supporter of "renewed waiting" because it's never too late to make wiser, healthier choices. She welcomes questions and topic suggestions for the “Waiting Matters … Because YOU Matter” blog that inspired the Waiting Matters series. 

Check out her Choices Matter series that follows Preston and Maggie as they navigate the choppy waters of high school, guy/girl relationships, and sex.Beth is also active in the adoption community where she writes and speaks about her experiences as a "foundling" who located her birth parents and is enjoying making up for lost time with her biological family.

Connect with her at for all the news on upcoming releases. Find her on Facebook at BethSteury, Author; on Twitter @Beth_Steury; and on Instagram and Goodreads. She loves to hear from readers! Write to her at


  1. Social distancing! The answer to your dilemma! For a more serious answer, this is what I've done when a long time has gone between books in a series. 1. Read what I wrote so far. Not written yet? Then check my notes, outlines etc. 2. Pray for guidance. What does God want me to do with this WIP? (I don't pray first because my mind is still so foggy as to what I had wanted to accomplish in the first place.) 3. It's been my experience, that God immediately fills my mind with new ideas, or I know what I should write next.

  2. Yes, social distancing SHOULD help, right? Thanks for the pointers.

  3. Social Distancing...I thought I would make huge strides in my edit of Book 2. This is the first day, though, that I didn't check on Mom, an elderly friend, other friends, my sister -- you get the idea of where my time has gone!

  4. I've found actually writing down a schedule helps me. I had to do that for this new "work from home" season. I have blocks of time scheduled out for various tasks, including writing. If you schedule time to write each day - even 30 minutes- you'll get back into the world and the magic of that will will draw you in more until, before you know it, the first draft will be finished.

  5. Good thoughts. Thanks, Rebecca.