Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Trudging Through ‘Maintain’ Mode

Sometimes in life, you can’t help but feel beaten down. It seems that anything and everything can go wrong all at once. This week has been one of those for me as a homeowner. My dishwasher is dead, my refrigerator’s motor went caput, my carport started leaking, the check engine light on my car popped on days before my emissions test is due and my furnace has decided to only kick on when it feels like it.

On top of that, I have 60 papers needing grading that keep staring at me with the evil eye and several freelance assignment deadlines this month.

I’ve declared this week my ‘maintain’ week. I can’t possibly trudge forward with zestful energy; instead, I must go through the motions and ‘maintain’ to keep my sanity.

Journalists and writers face the same obstacles. Maybe an expert source drops out, a story lead just won’t work itself out, a writer misses a deadline … again or an editor breathes down our backs at the worst possible time.

We go into ‘maintain’ mode to not only protect our sanity, but to keep our commitments and complete the work that needs to get done. While ‘maintain’ mode is not ideal, it is a necessary evil. During this time, we may not be producing our best work, we may not be inspiring others and we may not feel good about ourselves, but we are accomplishing tasks nonetheless.

The challenge is moving beyond ‘maintain’ mode. It’s not a state of mind or physical state that should be abused or overused. The key is knowing that just maintaining is temporary.

Eventually, the lead of the story will come together, another source will surface and that editor or writer will get it together. And with any luck, my furnace will kick on and thaw my frozen fingers so that those papers can be graded.


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Feb. 27, 2011

© Shannon Philpott, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



February 27, 2011 - Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing


  1. Shannon,

    What a great post! I love your personalization of all situations.

    I am taking a fiction writing class this semester and still have you to thank for wanting to continue with even more writing classes.


    Comment by Ruthie Braun | February 28, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thanks, Ruthie! It was definitely a pleasure to have you in my class. Fiction writing is a really exciting, challenging course – I hope you enjoy it and continue to write as much as possible.

    Comment by sphilpott | March 3, 2011 | Reply

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