The Writing Marathon

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By Mary Lou Cheatham

Everyone has a unique story. Each author travels at a different pace along the writing journey. The joy of running along in the pack may not be as exciting as winning, but what a delight it is to be in the race. The process has its own rewards which some consider better than the thrill of victory.

Let me share something about what is going on with me in the Writing Marathon. Early in my journey, a novel flowed from my heart about a girl and her mother who lost everything—father, husband, home. They struggled through grief, poverty, and danger. This book, The Dream Bucket, enjoyed enough popularity to earn QIP (Qualified Independently Published) status, and it continued to sell while it garnered quite a few reviews, although it received only a scant amount of publicity from me.

Meanwhile, more books, more effort to study the craft, more blogs, more serious attempts at writing followed. None of my other novels have had as much success, and The Dream Bucket apparently sprang a leak.

Those close to me saw my discouragement, even though my efforts continued. Last year I blogged more often than ever and considered ways to publicize. Sales continued to sag.

Then December came into my journey. In one month, our family had more happy events that took more time than usual, and opportunities for promotion presented a challenge to my writing schedule. In the middle of it all, my husband had surgery along with an ominous threat to his health. (Everything is good now.) Most of the month my eyes were in recovery from surgery. For the first time, a writer’s block stood in my way because the subject I chose was too depressing and personal. Maybe I’ll resume that project later. My writing trip encountered a massive roadblock. When January arrived with new boulders in my path, it was difficult to return to the marathon with other writers.

My daughter gave me some good advice. She said, “Mama in the scope of things, you’ve been blessed. You’ve always wanted to write and have people read your books. Look at the success you’ve had. How many other people would like to finish writing a book? How many writers would like to have people read what they wrote? It isn’t about competing with anyone but yourself.”

So, I am returning to the race with the realization that living is more important than working, the process is as valuable as the finished product, and God will make sure that those who need to read my novels will do so.

My family and friends tell me never to give up. Instead they tell me to train a little harder—to be more intentional about my marketing, to continue polishing my manuscripts, to write a better book.

Whatever you’re facing, let me encourage you, as others have inspired me, not to give up when the blocks in your path seem insurmountable. May each of us hope, when the time comes, to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

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Mary Lou Cheatham (Mary Cooke) began her life near Hot Coffee in Mississippi. Now she lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, with her husband, a talking cat, and three chiming antique clocks. Long ago she taught English, and not so long ago she retired from her career as a registered nurse. She loves to write.




Comments 4

  1. I agree to not give up, even when obstacles hit you left and right! It took me 17 years! to finish my first novel, but just like one of my fav Scripture quotes that you put in your blog post, I DID finish. Great blog post!

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