Twenty-five years ago, I met a girl in my sorority who refused to tell anyone her birthday. Her peers consistantly voted her most popular; she was always invited to parties, always had dates for the weekends. But during her junior year in high school, her parents threw a gigantic birthday bash. They rented a hall and had the affair catered. She invited all two hundred kids from her class.
No one showed up.
Fast forward two years and a half years later. The perennial nerd, I learned the local independent station would air the premiere of the new and long-awaited Star Trek series, The Next Generation, as their Friday night movie, a day earlier than they originally announced. Knowing all my sisters would be out of the suite for parties, dates, etc., I planned my geek evening.
Until two friends nagged the truth from me of why I will not go out with them that night. Well, Anne-Marie was dating Martin, who was not only a sports god on campus, but only other physics major in our class besides me and a fellow Trekkie to boot. He stalked up to me in the cafeteria during supper. "Why the hell didn't you tell me WAUB was airing the new Star Trek early?"
I had no illusions about my popularity. Anne-Marie and Martin were the ones everyone followed. But Martin wanted to watch Star Trek, so the next thing I knew my lovely evening alone had turned into a sorority/fraternity mixer. Before air time, I stood before the crowd in our suite and threatened the lives of anyone who spoke at any time other than commericals.
And surprisingly, the crowd of normally rowdy Greeks was absolutely quiet during the entire two hours.
The point of these two stories is simple. You can make all the plans in the world, but the universe has her own rules. And she has a wicked sense of humor.
So don't fret because your writing career isn't proceeding according to your outline. Keep your head and keep working. You don't know what's coming around the corner.
Oh, and about the universe's sense of humor-
I was teased incessantly over my preference for tea instead of coffee by my friends. So when Capt. Picard ordered, "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot," on that first October evening in 1987, every head in the room turned to stare at me. In my hands? You guessed it--a cup of Earl Grey.