Writing a Book When Life Gets in the Way

Getting Through What You Can't Get Over Book CoverI should have known when I chose the title, Getting Through What You Can’t Get OverLife threw me plenty of fresh material, as one tough thing piled on top of many little distractions. Anyone relate?

With the greatest of intentions, you plan your life around that contract, basking in the after-glow of signing your name. You cut back, say no, and schedule in ways conducive to writing the next great masterpiece. But then…life.

For me, it started right after I signed the contract in April, with the loss of a dear friend to cancer, and my father-in-law’s diagnosis of a new brain tumor. This aggressive grower would require a second surgery, less than a year after he’d been through the same procedure. Only this time, he would undergo radiation five days every week, for a period of two months. Add other appointments, follow-up visits, side-effects requiring care, and my mother-in-law’s freshly broken ribs. Let’s just say as their main care-giver, it was one rough summer. And all the while, hovering over my shoulders, the contract deadline. September 1st.

So what’s a writer to do when life wants to get in the way of the writing? You take the problems and solutions, questions and lessons, the painful and the purposeful, and you write from the heart of your struggles. But there were a few practical/spiritual tidbits I acquired as I walked that long valley. I pray someone finds a nugget of help here today.

  • Don’t discount the value of brief moments. One of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read was the story of a man who wrote an entire novel two minutes at a time, because that’s all he could muster everyday due to his job/financial responsibilities.
  • This truly is a no-brainer, but bears saying anyway–turn off the social media for a while.
  • No matter how frazzled, far behind, or feverish you feel about the work you need to do, take a Sabbath rest. I can’t tell you how many times I was tempted to pick up my computer and write on Sundays, but I stuck to my commitment to honor God with that day set aside each week. I firmly believe He honored my obedience with supernatural strength and inspiration.
  • Look at your commitments through a microscope. Are there areas you can delegate? Can you humble yourself and ask for help–then accept it? Will you stop people-pleasing and say, “No,” when appropriate? Is there something you can neglect temporarily? Are there troops you can rally to teamwork? In my case, I was able to strategize with family members. We came up with a plan and took turns driving my father and mother-in-law to medical appointments. Not everyone helped, but instead of letting bitterness add to my emotional weights, I expressed gratitude for those who were willing and able.What Satan Means for Evil God Means for Good
  • Remember, what Satan means for evil, God means for good.
  • Crawl in your Writer’s Cave. I explain the process in the post link. But to date, I’ve found no better way to gain the solitude I need when those precious writing moments arrive.

It isn’t easy to pen a book, especially when life conspires to hamper your productivity. But I must say, life holds no power over the One who created it. When I asked God for help, praising Him in advance, He gave the assist. He never let me down.

I slid across the deadline exactly on September 1st. Are there parts of the book I wish I’d written better? Of course. Writing a book isn’t easy when life gets in the way, but if it was, then everyone would do it. When you finish yours, celebrate. For getting through something many never will.

What tips can you offer to those who are struggling to meet their writing commitments?

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Fuel Up Your Creativity!

My family is blessed to024 live in a beautiful part of the world – the Black Hills of South Dakota. Even three years after moving here, we’re still not immune to stunning vistas and fabulous sunsets.

This time of year, my husband and I try to get up into the Hills at least once a week. Whether we’re setting out on an evening drive to seek out the Custer State Park bison herd or lacing up our hiking boots to explore a new trail, we’re eager to hit the road.

But before we head up into the wilderness, my husband always stops at the neighborhood gas station to fill up the car’s gas tank.

We wouldn’t want to get half-way out to the back of nowhere and run out of gas, would we?

Writing needs fuel, too.

Every morning, I turn on my computer and head into the wilderness of my imagination. Characters talk to each other, situations develop, conflicts explode – or simmer – and it all gets typed into the file of my current work in progress.

At the same time, another story – or two – or three – simmer on the back burner of my mind. Characters lurk back there, taking on lives of their own.

Meanwhi9780373282777_p0_v1_s260x420le, there’s a book release coming up next month. So marketing plans are being developed in another part of my brain.

With all that energy being expended, I have to make sure I fill up my brain’s gas tank on a regular basis.

But how?

 Rest. A Sabbath rest.

Resting doesn’t mean to unplug, unwind, turn off and disconnect. Doing those things may give us a break from our normal routine, but they don’t refuel. Our minds, bodies, and spirits need re-fueling and re-creation.

We need to rest in God.

 

God gave us the Sabbath. One day that is His out of our week.

One day to worship, study, connect with His Church, fellowship with other believers, make family memories….

One day to re-fuel our energy and our connection to Him – the source of our creative gift.

It isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s a challenge every week to clear my plate before Sunday morning. It takes planning to be able to put away the normal daily routines and take up the gift of the Sabbath rest.

But when Monday morning rolls around again, I’m so glad I made the effort!

What will you do today to re-fuel your life?

Resting from Writing

Rolling Mississippi

Working Through Fatigue is as Easy as Swimming Across the Mississippi

We become consumed with the writing life. Work…work…work, type…type…type, we push ourselves to meet the demands and deadlines set before us. And then we wonder why we hit mental brick walls — taller than mountains, and wider than the rolling Mississippi.

But what does God say about the pressures we endure? Is this really the plan?

I knew when I jumped into the throes of writing, I’d encounter the temptation to break a personal and, for me, very important value principle. One honored not merely out of duty and obedience, but because I recognized the benefits and blessings. It’s an overlooked command in today’s hustle-bustle culture. Over the past three decades, we’ve slowly become conditioned to push ourselves 7/365, until we’re flat-nosed against that mental wall.

National Speaker Anita Brooks

Juggling Jobs Pressure

I refer to taking a sabbath rest. It goes against the grain of our writing demands.

  • For instance, we are urged to write every day, so we don’t lose momentum, or allow our skills to cover in rust.
  • As writers, many of us pull double-duty as speakers. This requires even more time while we juggle between the work itself and the marketing of writing and speaking.
  • Most of us hold down a day job, and it lessens the amount of time we can devote to writing. The weekends are promoted as time to buckle down and focus.

But I offer an alternative mind-set, about the benefits of taking our weekly Sabbath.

  • If we continually push ourselves in a fatigued state, we are subliminally distracted by the influx of pin-pricking, achy feelings, and heavy muscles brought on by exhaustion. Rest diminishes painful symptoms.
  • While the body rests, so does the mind. Science has proven that in a state of rest we heal, regenerate, and restore. Rest provides the much-needed medicinal touch when our words run stagnant and our minds run dry.
  • God promises blessings when we honor the Sabbath.

Resting in a HammockConsistently allowing ourselves a whole day of rest, with permission to nap, relax, to enjoy life, can  free us to produce powerful words that will inspire, encourage, teach, and exhort. And I believe God’s example of resting on the seventh day is one worth following. After all, He is the best-selling author of all time.

When I wrote my first book, while holding down a demanding day job as General Manager at a large river resort, the temptation to write on Sunday pressed on me week after week. But I determined to give myself the gift of a weekly sabbath. To this day, I can’t fully explain how I wrote that book while working insane hours during our peak season.

The only answer to my accomplishment is that it was supernatural. I believe honoring the sabbath and keeping it holy played a part. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect (that would get a bah-ha-ha from my family and friends), but I’m doing my best.

For me, the importance of placing God and His ways above everything, including my writing and speaking, is the real secret to my success. You might try it — resting from writing to find the inspiration you’re looking for.

Do you rest from your work?