Writing … Interrupted

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by Beth K. Vogt

I had another post written for today. The opening line?

There’s always a reason – or two or three – not to write.

I intended to blog about writing through the interruptions of life – and then the Waldo Canyon Fire erupted in the Foothills several miles from my neighborhood and my family evacuated our home.

Talk about an interruption.

Since then, I’ve struggled to write.

Yes, I’ve posted over at my blog, In Others’ Words. Doing so was a bit of normalcy and allowed me to ease some of the emotion backlogged in my heart.

But my other writing deadlines?

I’ve ignored them.

I confessed my writer’s stalemate to my closest writing buddies and was once again reminded why I treasure my relationships with other writers. They understand me and the delicate balance between real life and writing life – and how that equilibrium can change with the shift of the wind.

Here’s what my writing friends helped me remember:

1. Take a lesson from writing fiction. I am a novelist – all about wreaking havoc in my imaginary characters’ lives and then figuring out how that will affect them. Guess what? Sometimes the havoc happens in my life. I need to take time to step back and acknowledge that I feel like I’ve been tossed into a pinball machine.

2. Listen to your mother. Yesterday as I found myself crying for no reason at all – and for so many reasons – I heard my mother’s voice: Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to slow down, to be “less than” during times of crisis. It’s the wise choice to take care of myself.

3. Baby steps are progress. One of my mentors is best-selling author Susan May Warren. She offered this practical advice:

a. Set a small goal, pray over it, and then sit down and just do that one thing. Make it bit-size and 30 minutes at most.

And so, I took a deep breath. I took a short nap. And then, leaning into all the prayers being prayed for me, for my family and for everyone affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire, I sat on the couch in my friend’s living room and revamped my blog post.

It’s what I do.

I’m a writer.

I find a way to write through the interruptions – and accept that some days … I just don’t.

How do you write when the normal setting on your life gets twisted out of sync?

Beth K. Vogt’s contemporary romance novel, Wish You Were Here (Howard Books), debuted in May. She’s the Skills Coach for the My Book Therapy writing community and an established nonfiction writer and editor. Join the conversation over at Beth’s blog, In Others’ Words, at bethvogt.com.

Comments 0

  1. This seems to be the story of my life–trying to write even though life is chaotic. Thanks for the reminder to be gentle on myself and to take baby steps as long as I’m making forward motion.

  2. Sometimes I think my every day life feels chaotic–but oh my goodness, it’s nothing compared to wildfires, home evacuation and the other biggies people face. I love Susie’s advice to set small goals. And like you said, taking a lesson from your fiction, acknowledging the chaos..and praying your way forward.

  3. I have yet to figure out what “normal” is, especially when it comes to my writing. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, quashing down feelings about failure, keep my eye on God… and write when I can and not worry about writing when I can’t. It’s not easy, especially on the pre-published side. That’s why I appreciate any encouragement I can get from published authors, like this piece.

    Write when you can.

    Believe always.

  4. Appreciate everyone stopping by. And Elaine, I think authors — both pre-published and published — can encourage one another as we travel the writing road and reflect God’s image to the world.

  5. Great advice here, Beth. Thanks. (Now don’t forget to keep following it and continue to be gentle on yourself as you chomp off small bites to chew.) :<)

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