Monday, December 26, 2011

The Dreaded Writer's Break

Really, what can I say?
Flickr Creative Commons

I am in the thick of it.

Yes, no matter how much I try to end this dry season and type at least a sentence, the cries of a babe or the repairs of a new house refuse to allow me to move forward.

I tried to fight through the distractions. After all, a couple of agents and an editor requested my stuff. How could I wait any longer? And I tried to ignore the boxes and mess when the baby was sleeping, so I could write. But just as the dishes piled high and the packing paper flooded the rooms, my anxiety grew and I knew...Life had to trump the dream...for a bit. It wasn't easy. I wanted to throw a fit—to scream out, “Why now!? Why, when I might have a fighting chance at going somewhere with this, why do I have to set it aside?”

During the first days that I declared my life too demanding to dedicate to writing, the heavy weight of defeat and self-disappointment gave way to the little devil whispering in my ear:

This was just a hobby anyway

If you can't get your submissions out now, what makes you think you can meet deadlines later?

It was all a pipe dream

And for a while, I allowed myself to believe it all. I continued on with life as normal—sleep-deprived nights with an infant, unpacking and organizing a family of six, adjusting to a new town and new people. In the back of my mind I wondered,

Do I even care about writing?

How easy it is to ignore that writing was ever important to me.

But my characters are alive. Their pulses still throb and wobble my thoughts. Their ever-so faint words spark some hope that their story will be told. My story haunts me. Writing isn't what I once did, it is who I am. With a firm flick, I knock that little devil off my shoulder and grasp onto the dream.

Perhaps, life will ease up. This drought will end and I can finally splash the last scenes upon the page. Oh how I wish that to be so! Perhaps, life isn't ready to give me room yet. And I think I am okay with that. Not happy about it, but alright. One day, I'll find the time. I'll sit and conjure up sentences and fill the pages. I will take the advice of William Wordsworth, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

One day.

Have you taken a true break from writing? How long was it? What were your circumstances?


Aritha said...

At this moment, December.Family Circumstances, a full head with other things. But I know my characters alive. Suddenly I sometimes see a little story, a glimpse of the way forward - and that I write quickly in a notebook. For later. In January.

Joanne Sher said...

What an excellent, and amazingly honest, post. Thank you SO much for sharing. Praying.

Anonymous said...

I love the honesty of this post. Your thoughts and feelings are my own, and I think you are right in saying that sometimes life trumps the writing. Only for a time...until the juices flow and the time is right. You will get there!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Angie, thanks for your honest sharing. My friend, Beth Vogt, has said to me many times, "Real life trumps writing life." There are those seasons when the writing isn't going to happen. I like how you've chosen to hold onto hope, flicking that lying devil off your shoulder and knowing that time to write WILL come again. God has gifted you. His timing will determine when His plans for your story come to fruition. Sooo appreciate your words today.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Love yah, sis.

Pepper said...

I think you couldn't have posted a better one after Christmas, Angie.
Writing is a gift- but like I've said before, it's just one of the many gifts God's given you.
His Son being first
Your hubby as second
your kids are third
and somewhere down the line there is writing.
And it's okay. Because God gave you the other gifts first. And they should be first :-)

I know your struggle and disappointment - but I also know the relief that comes with your decision. I wrote my first full novel at 18 years old. I wrote my second and third at 21. I had my first child at 22 while I was in my first year of graduate school. The next story I penned didn't happen until I was 27. Then I didn't write another one until I was 30. There have been LOTS of breaks along my journey.
I've been consistently inconsistent the past 5 1/2 years - and forgiven myself because 'nonfiction trumped fiction':-)

Life happens.
More gifts come into your life and the writing gift is wrapped back up and placed under the tree again for later.
But just like Christmas, when you get to unwrap it again, it's magical and amazing and such a blessing.

It's remembering that the gift is still there...waiting for the perfect time.
God's perfect time.

Thank you for this beautiful post. YOU are a blessing and we will be here to cheer you on as you wait for the write time :-)
But don't forget to enjoy the NOW.

Angie Dicken said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks for the encouragement and sharing your own trials with writing breaks. I am on the road for Christmas break so I might not be able to reply to all, but I am reading too! :) Many blessings, and have a Happy New Year!!

Julia M. Reffner said...


You do have so much going on this year! Hope you have a wonderful New Year!

Yes, I took 10 years off from writing after getting married and having children. The fact that I managed to start writing again at all is a very long God connection story, as I'm sure it is for so many of us.

I'll be praying for you & your writing in the New Year.

So glad to have met you through the Alley. :)

Jacqui said...

You did write though, Angie. Your post is wonderful. I didn't start writing until my kids were grown because of all the reasons you described. My muse is in full bloom now. Even constant rejection of my newest book hasn't stopped me. I'll just self-pub!

My advice: Write, but do it as it fits your schedule. You have the soul for it.