My husband had a big birthday this week. For months, we’d planned a vacation to celebrate. With three glorious days off work, my husband and son would golf and I would write. The anticipation built. As I crossed items off my legal job to-do list, I looked forward to the break. I would make so much writing progress during this getaway.

When my throat began to feel scratchy, I told myself it was nothing. Perhaps I’d been drinking too much sparkling water. But then my head–well, it seemed to weigh a thousand pounds. How had I ever held it up? My ears ached and popped. Things might improve overnight, I decided. But the next morning, I could barely lift my head from the pillow.

Thankfully, my husband and son stayed healthy. Off they went to golf in sunny California. I could write from home, of course. I didn’t need a vacation. But between my pounding head and disorienting fever, it turned out that I was utterly unable to focus.

Guess how many words I wrote this week? Zero.

It’s been a letdown, especially since I had All These Grand Writing Plans.

I’m sure you know the feeling. Life often gets in the way of our writing. As I emerge from the sickly haze back into the brightness of health, I’m struck by two things. First, in my everyday rushing around, I take much for granted. What a joy it is to be able to breathe, to have the energy for an afternoon walk.

And second, my writing project didn’t disappear during my absence. What a welcoming reassurance to realize that I haven’t lost my chance.

I can’t get this week back. But now I have the luxury of a decision: spend another day berating myself for the lack of progress, or open the file and get back to writing.