Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Writing When Life Gets Hard

Photo by David Castillo Dominici
You have experienced it. The days when there are no words. The days when life gets in the way...when life is hard. You sit in front of the computer screen and try to will the words to come, yet they don't. They are frozen in the blizzard of your fear, anxiety, pain, and hurt.

So what does a writer do when life interrupts? Here are some things to consider:

  • Journal - Write down your journey through this difficult time. Getting your feelings down on paper may free you up so that your creativity can come to the surface. There really is something therapeutic about  sharing your heart, even if it is only to a bound journal. 
  • Research - Rent - or check out from the library - a book or DVD about the geographical area of your novel. Immerse yourself in the history. Let your mind wander and dream up new possibilities for your story.
  • Escape - Sometimes you need to get away from writing and just escape. Many times I like to read, but sometimes I don't even have the energy to hold a book. It's too tiring to visualize the story in my head. So I pick out a movie on Netflix and escape into someone else's life for awhile. There can be benefits to this escape, because sometimes new ideas will come that will transform your WIP.
  • Exercise - Yeah, I don't like this one either, but I have to be honest and say that I have "heard" that making your body move will improve your attitude and outlook on life. Getting your blood pumping and the oxygen flowing will make our brain cells come alive. Or so they say. :)
  • Worship -  Spend time with God and you will always come away renewed and energized. God is the strength of your heart. He will be with you in the hard times and will renew your passion and your story for His glory.
So when your days are long and your heart is weary, trust that God will make a way for you, even in the midst of whatever trial you are going through. Though you may set aside your writing for a time, please know that God will redeem the time for His purpose. He will renew your mind and jump start your creativity to spin the story that He has for you to tell. 

What do you do when life gets in the way of your writing?

This post is brought to you by
 Sherrinda Ketchersid

Sherrinda is a minister's wife and mother to three giant sons and one gorgeous daughter. A born and bred Texan, she writes historical romance filled with fun, faith, and forever love.


Beth K. Vogt said...

A most excellent post, Sherrinda -- but then again, not surprised, coming from you.
When life trumps writing ... because life is hard and then writing is even harder ...
I accept it.
Oh, I don't always accept it easily. Sometimes I fight it and fight with imaginary characters who won't come out of hiding (so wise!) ... but ultimately, I accept it and let the writing go.
Not for long. But for a time ... an hour or two. A day or two.
And maybe I rest. Or, yes, exercise. Or Skype with a friend or mentor. Or watch a really good happily-ever-after movie. Or read a book. Or go for a long walk. Or two or three.
Or journal. Always a good option. And sometimes I pray in color -- which is like doodling my prayers.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Excellent advice here, Sherrinda! I know for me, going for a good long run helps to burn off stress and unlock my mind. It's when I do my best brainstorming :) loved the other suggestions too!

Jeanne T said...

Good post, Sherrinda!

For me, when life is hard, I almost always journal. It gets my hurt out and my heart re-aligned with Jesus. I also give myself the freedom to set writing aside for a short time.

And I talk with writing friends sometimes. If I haven't been getting enough sleep, I work to get my schedule back to where I can sleep more, which helps me see life with a more accurate perspective.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts today!

Pepper said...

GREAT post, Sherrinda.
Wow! Life happens. We are here to live it!
I know for me that God has been so gracious to give lots of callings. Wife, mother, teacher, musician, writer... And with each calling comes a measure of responsibility and sacrifice. Sometimes one requires more of a sacrifice than the others.
Praise GOD that He hold my life, time, and talents in His hands.

So when writing has to wait?
(inspiration and sweat don't mix with me ;-) BUT a good walk can be a fantastic stress reliever and idea-booster
Worship...music! DEFINITELY!!!
Time alone for me is one of those 'boosts', but also time with encouragers like The Alley Cats, my BFF, or Beth Vogt ;-)

Jessica R. Patch said...

A good long walk with my worship music stuck in my ears always helps me!

A wonderful post, Sherrinda!

Anonymous said...

For me, when life gets hard, that's the time to write, because it's an inexpensive escape. It gives my mind another place to go.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Thanks, Sherrinda! Always good advice!

Julia M. Reffner said...

This is great advice, Sherrinda!! #1 helps most is worship for me. I love burying myself in good research, too. Must admit I've used all of these before. I also agree with the commentor that we often write best in trials. Its a great outlet. Often its the good but busy times that can be harder to keep up the writing, at least for me.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Great advice, Sherrinda! I SO know these times, and I hate them, but I like your response better. We can grow and learn and *gulp* exercise during these times and come out on top :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh ladies, I'm so sorry for not getting back to yall yesterday. I have been dealing with a family situation and was on the phone a good portion of the evening after work. Forgive me. Thank you all for your encouraging comments and advice on how you deal with difficult times. You ladies are so wise and truly an inspiration to me.

Jenn Greenleaf said...

This is exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you! I use my journal frequently, but I really need to work on using the rest of the tips offered here.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Jenn, I'm so glad it was helpful. We all go through times where it is just plain difficult to keep writing. Sometimes the tips work...sometimes not! I hope it helps you!