Friday, May 30, 2014

When Inspiration Strikes...But You're Dead

with guest Jessica Nelson

Sometimes a writer dies.

Maybe it's the stress of meeting deadlines. Maybe it's personal events overwhelming creativity. Maybe it's exhaustion.


But if you've been writing for any length of time, you have probably experienced something that feels like death. A dearth of motivation, the wasteland you just can't seem to trek through. This is different than your standard writer's block. It's so much worse.
Take heart, dear writer. These times won't last, even if you feel dead when the inspiration strikes.


When I wrote my first three manuscripts, life was pretty sweet. I was a stay at home mom who typed during my sons' naps. I hadn't learned all the ins and outs of craft, so I just dropped my fingers on the keys and wrote whatever seemed exciting to the story. This meant a lot of revision later on, when I knew better. But at the time, there was an innocent joy in creating without restrictions. Sometimes I wrote in the evenings too...when I wasn't happily hopping around the blogosphere. 


Life is always changing though. Time crunched as I began carting my kids to school. As I rearranged my writing to deal with that schedule, finances tightened due to a poor economy. Family issues cropped up, taking a little more time from my day. I even had to get a part-time job. The writing slowed but I still managed to carve out writing space because my writer's soul was a flourishing. My craft improved. I learned more. I kept writing.


I sold a book! 


Love On The Range, a story that went through with numerous revisions throughout the years, was my very first finished manuscript. So while circumstances seemed to be getting a little harder ...I'd still sold a book. That meant something. Something huge. The future spread before, shining with opportunities and the possibility of having a career doing something I loved! I started my next book, brimming with hope.


And then it happened. 


This change isn't something you realize right away. Rather, it creeps up on you, a suffocating vine around your motivation. A slow, insidious strangulation. As time slipped away, eaten by obligations and stresses, my body began to fail me. Instead of being excited to write, I found myself fearing the computer. Drained, I tried to sleep but spent hours laying awake in my bed, my body devoid of energy. I tried to clean (something I had once enjoyed) but it was half-hearted. The best plot twists and scene ideas seemed to strike when it was impossible to write...During breakfast, while driving the kids home from school, or at night, when I was so exhausted my eyes burned and I couldn't move. 


Life wedged itself between me and my dreams...and it felt like the writer inside me died. I eked out words, but they were painful and brown, autumn leaves crumpled on the dry soil of my soul. Another book, somehow written during one of the most painful parts of my life, sold.
Despite the emotional desert I was in, God still knew my dreams. When I struggled to dream for myself, He was there. 


The worst was yet to come though.


 The final gasp of my writer's heart happened last year. I had a contract and a second book to be released in June 2014 (Family on the Range). I had even managed to put out two e-books, officially establishing myself as a hybrid writer.  


The final gasp of my writer's heart happened last year. I had a contract and a second book to be released in June 2014 (Family on the Range). I had even managed to put out two e-books, officially establishing myself as a hybrid writer. 

Yet the soul of my writing was bleeding out, nicked by unexpected events. 


This isn't something only I've dealt with. I'm absolutely sure of that. Every writer goes through seasons of doubt and despair, of empty words and hollowed voice. If you want to write for publication, as a career, even as a calling, you can't give up even when you feel dead to the marrow of your being.


DON'T GIVE UP.


Instead, plan. That's what I'm trying to do now. I'm still in the desert but I see grandiose mountains ahead. Streams surrounded by colorful  wildflowers and breathtaking views. My mojo is returning and I'm looking at my past with a magnifying lense.


Here are some things to consider no matter where your writing soul resides.


1. When do you write best? What time of day? Is it possible to writing during that time? If not, how can you work around it? More coffee? Waking up earlier or staying up later? I've heard some writers leave their laptop open and plunk down words between chores and errands.


2. Make writing a priority. If you don't treat writing like it's important, why will others? 


3. Drink healthy, eat healthy, sleep healthy. 


4. Pray. Who else can help you but the God who loves you, who has a purpose for your very being? Talk to Him, or weep to Him....either way, keep that communication open. 


5. If it hurts to write (to feel when you're awash in feeling), do it anyway. Push through! No pain, no gain, right? 


6. If you're numb, release words anyway. They can be edited later.


7. Cut yourself slack. Sometimes, whatever the reason, we just can't write. That's OKAY. Different seasons call for different plantings. 



I thought I'd died but really I was changing. It was painful and even now I don't know if I'm a butterfly or still in my chrysalis, but one thing I do know, not writing is a sure way to stagnate. I recently signed a new contract on proposal with Love Inspired Historical and you can bet I won't be wallowing in the desert, getting a sunburn. 


There is too much life around us to allow ourselves, our words, to wither away into nothing.


Where are you with writing? Where do you want to be? Can you share your tips for writing despite emotional deserts?


 
Leave a comment to be entered to win Love on the Range, or Family on the Range or a Starbucks gift card. Three winners. (Winners announced in the Weekend Edition)


Family on the Range

A Second Chance

A quiet ranch in the Oregon desert gives Mary O'Roarke the solace she craves after a painful childhood. Concealing her growing feelings for her boss, government agent Lou Riley, is a small price to pay. Then an abandoned little girl is placed in Mary's care, awakening dreams she's all but forgotten.

In all the years Lou has known her, how could he not have noticed Mary's courage and warmth? Seeing her care for a child is a bittersweet reminder of the lonely widower's loss. But if Mary won't give up on young Josie—not even when real danger approaches—then Lou can't give up on bringing this unlikely family together for good.


 
Jessica Nelson believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness. When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night. She could be thinking of any number of things, really. One thing is for certain, she is blessed with a wonderful family and a lovely life.

90 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Such encouraging words. And such great timing.

Thank you, Jessica.

Coffee's on!



Marianne Barkman said...

Love it, Hessica. I'm hoping all writers take the encouragement. Keep calm and write on. If you write, I will read. Thanks Helen. I've missed your coffee

Melissa Jagears said...

"I tried to clean (something I had once enjoyed"

I had to read that thrice to see if that said what I thought that said....

And I won't make a comment on whether I'm sleeping healthy right now.

It's encouraging to know that not everyone is always on a "I love my job" high. It's nice to be reminded that my old job came with highs and lows and I worked through those (because I'd be fired if I didn't) -- and so, I have to work through these just the same.

Loves To Read said...

I really enjoyed your post - especially your tips on eating, sleeping and living healthy. Great advice for all aspects of life. Please enter me in the drawing for the books and Starbucks card.

Terri said...

Jessica - your timing is perfect. I've been dealing with some issues that have made writing tough.

I'm not doing as well persevering with my writing as I would like, but I'm not quitting.

I even received a rejection that I believe was an answer to prayer. Go figure, but it is true. I prayed very specifically about that submission.

My only tip for working through it would be to search hard for something that brings you joy. When I'm down or sick my reading tastes are different than normal. Maybe the same applies to writing.

Kav said...

You've touched my heart this morning, Jessica. Very sage advice.

I'm definitely a morning writer but I have to work as well. For ages I've tried to wrestle words onto paper...er onto the screen...at the end of the day. A torturous exercise. I persevered, but it was like writing in slow motion through a fog. :-) I've switched things up and now I go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and write before work. I actually spend less time at the computer but achieve a higher word count. And bonus, I get to start the day feeling that I have really accomplished something.

And I'm so glad you persevered in your writing -- absolutely loved Family on the Range. Just finished it a week or so ago so don't enter me in the draw.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sage advice, young Grasshopper!!!!

And Melissa, I'm totally with you: On the days when the "high" has taken a hike, I still write because it's not the publisher's fault!

Jessica, you've made it through one of the toughest tunnels of writing, the self-discipline road, bearing left. It's a road less traveled and I've watched lots of authors hit the brakes and get out and abandon the car and walk away at this point.

I'm so stinkin' glad you didn't do that!!!!

It's work. And yes, I love it, but I also know life smacks us down and in those private times it can become hard work... But it can also be a labor of love.

This was wonderful, thank you dear Jessica!!!!

Beautifully and aptly put.

Ruthy

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Helen!!!! Thank you for the coffee!!!!

And it's Friday and Dave's bringing DONUTS!!!!!!

YAY, DAVE!!!!!!! :)

I will share with all o' youse!

But I desperately want to taste a "Cronut" now that I know what one is..... (twitches lips, thinking of how wonderful that might be)...

Next time in NYC, maybe????

CRONUTS FOR SEEKERVILLE?????

Jessica Nelson said...

Yay for the coffee, Helen!! I need it this morning. :-)

Thank you, Marianne!

lol Melissa! Don't hate me for it. Hahahaa, and yes, this is for sure a job. A great one most of the time though! lol

Jessica Nelson said...

Loves to Read,
great blogger username!!! lol Good luck in the drawing. :-)

Terri, I'm glad it helped and what a good tip...I'm going to keep that in mind. I think you're exactly right. And kudos to you for submitting!! A rejection is the beginning of the road, not the end. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Kav,
There are other prizes!! I'm so glad you liked Love On the Range! I'm the same as you, working and trying to write at night. I'm seriously thinking about switching to mornings...thanks for sharing what you do. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Ruthy! Thank you... you always inspire me. :-) The Seekers have been one of the greatest blessings on my writing road and I'm so glad you all started this blog!

Jessica Nelson said...

I'm always up for donuts!

I do have to leave for work soon, but I shall be back this afternoon. I'm also going to try to check in and post using my phone. ;-)

Jackie said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Jessica. I'm not published, and my husband keeps telling me to just enjoy the ride for now. No pressure or deadlines except for ones I create for myself.

I loved this post today. Have a great weekend!

Mary Hicks said...

Thank you, Jessica, it's not always easy to share the tough times. I'm glad you didn't throw in the towel and give up.

Good luck on your future writing. Put my name in for the drawing—I'd enjoy winning your book. :-)

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome Jessica, and thank you for sharing your journey. I'm sure there are very few writers who at some point in time (while either unpubbed or pubbed) haven't had life crowd in on them in unexpected ways and everything has to be rethought, reworked out, and a renewed commitment made. Adjusting to a new world of contract deadlines and conflicting priorities to be worked in around them isn't for the weak at heart. I'm so glad you were able to prayerfully find that turning point to return to your writing!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jessica, we'll keep the ball rolling on this solid advice... My phone works sometimes when I'm posting, but then it just S-T-O-P-S and I stare at it and shake it and stomp my feet...

And it laughs.

Glynna, that's a great point. It is different to suddenly have deadlines and edits and revisions and ifs, ands and buts.... So that's a whole new thing!!!

Seriously, doing unpubbed contests (which have rules and deadlines) helped me to hone my habits to deal with the newness of being published. That was a huge help.

Oh, and having thirty years of hairnet and nametag jobs to pay the bills helped, too, LOL! I like to think God used all those service jobs to give me hands-on experience for real characters in my books... Paid training!!!!

Glynna Kaye said...

Jessica -- when you get back, maybe you can share with us when/how you started to sense being drawn to your writing again. And how you were able to work the other priorities in around your writing time.

Or did you just return to it as a matter of self-discipline, without FEELING like it, and then the "I can do this and I still love to do this" feelings gradually came back?

Preslaysa Williams said...

This was very encouraging to me. I especially like the part about self care (sleep healthy, eat healthy and drink healthy) and releasing words on the page...they can always be edited later.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Great post! The psychological aspect of this job is the hardest part to overcome for a lot of us.

There's the pressure after selling- being a professional writer with deadlines and expectations.

The pressure of getting out that second book, hoping you're not a one-hit-wonder.

The pressure of selling on proposal, hoping you can live up to expectations.

The pressure of finishing a book when the art and marketing departments are already in motion, knowing people are counting on you.

Nobody ever tells us those things!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Jessica, welcome back to Seekerville. Congratulations on all those releases.

I must admit my first response to your post when I read it a week ago, was...THIS CHICKIE BABE IS BURNT OUT.

But like Melissa J and Ruthy, I have to say the same.

Jobs have highs and lows, but good for you for being such a professional and getting that you put one foot in front of the other albeit a slower and heavier foot and keep going until you see to the other side.

That is sweet victory.

God Bless You for doing that and for having the courage to say it's not all sunshine and roses.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Ha! To Sherri's comments I add,

the pressure of knowing you are only as good as your last book.

Tina Radcliffe said...

And like Melissa J I won't even say anything snarky today about the fact that you like CLEANING. OMGOSH!!!

kaybee said...

Thank you, Jessica. I went through a bleak period this winter. If ever there was a winter that screamed "Bleak," this was it. I saw the "little cloud like a man's hand" and pushed through. I'm happy I did.
Kathy B.

Sherri Shackelford said...

<>

Excellent addition, Tina!

Jennifer Smith said...

Thanks for this article, Jessica. Good encouragement, great things to remember.

Author Sandra D. Bricker said...

I love this young woman. I've known her a while now, watching from a distance as she figured it all out. I felt the surge of a proud mama in a way as I read this post. Words of wisdom, Jessica. Love from your cheering section.

Chill N said...

Jessica, this is an amazing post.

I've been there several times. I thought it would be easier to push through each time because I had pushed through before. Nope. Each time it was even harder, so much so that I did walk away from it all for several months. The concerning thing for me was that I didn't miss it.

The blessing was that I didn't have a contracted deadline to meet! And if anyone had ever told me that not having a contract would be a blessing, I would have laughed.

All of that said, when I did write again I was astounded by the energy and joy -- it was the way it 'used to' feel!

Thanks for being so open and sharing your wisdom.

Nancy C

Tina Radcliffe said...

Silly me. Hoarding all the chocolate and plain croissants. The French Press is busily brewing your coffee. Pass the plates please and thank you.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Sandra Bricker, LOVELY to have you in Seekerville!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Haha, I remember those days of happily hopping around the blogosphere too.

Now it's work.

Jeanne T said...

Jessica, beautiful post. You share such wisdom! Thanks for showing those of us walking the path behind you that the road isn't always easy, but there are ways to keep walking, if we make up our minds to do so.

I'm still unpubbed, and even after a few years, I'm figuring out my writing groove. God's timing is always perfect when it comes to being published. That's probably one of the most valuable perspectives I've learned on this journey.

I'm so glad you kept walking. Kept writing. Thanks for your great tips.

DebH said...

timely post. i'm on a deadline and am behind the eightBall. the creative muse is mal-functioning. doing a heavy dose of praying for the Lord's words to flow from fingers to keyboard right now, cuz my mind is very sluggish at the moment.
of course, this dilema is all my fault because i didn't apply myself better in first stages of the contest i entered. i really didn't think i'd make it this far (dopey me).

shout out to Anita Mae, the ladies at the Inkwell, and Seekerville for the support I've been getting as I muddle forward. been getting good encouragement, prayer and kicks to the ol' keister.

somehow, this post has encouraged me. my take away: just keep writing - pay no attention to the feelings monster behind the curtain...

Debby Giusti said...

Often we need to remember that writing requires work. Yes, the journey involves wonderful, exciting moments and provides great friendships and connections, but getting the story into the computer or on the printed page isn't always easy.

Thanks for sharing your struggle, Jessica. I'm amazed that you find any time to write with little ones and a job outside the home. I didn't succeed until my children were grown and I had more control over my schedule. That said, it's still difficult at times to get the pages written. The process to create a book can be long and rocky, but like childbirth, the end result is worth the effort. :)

Some enjoy the writing phase. I, as Dorothy Parker said many years ago, like having written. :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Jessica, I know exactly what you mean. I have been going through varying degrees of this since way back in 2007 when I was writing The Merchant's Daughter. Last summer was probably the worst. Not only were things not going well in my personal life, but even my writing career seemed in serious trouble. I don't think I wrote at all last summer. Now, this summer, my writing career has completely turned around, THANK YOU, GOD!!! But everything else is as bad as ever, and worse. Still, God is good. Contracts keep me motivated enough to push through the "deadness." Which is a good way to describe it.

I almost didn't come here today, since I really need to be writing, but I'm glad I did. :-) God is always good, even in our greatest difficulties. My stories are an escape for me and a way of expressing the things I'm learning and feeling, so I think I'll probably always write, no matter how "dead" I feel. But without a contract, it is SLOW going. Thank goodness I have enough contracts right now to keep me writing for two more years! :-)

CatMom said...

Very touching and encouraging post, Jessica. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your journey with us.
Congratulations on your books, and I feel sure you'll have many more coming in the future!
Enjoy those precious children--they grow too quickly.
Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

CatMom said...

Just saw Ruthy's comment about Dave's donuts!! Yum---I'd love one, please! They go great with Helen's coffee! :) PJ

Natalie Monk said...

Such a beautiful testimony, Jessica! Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging us to never give up!

Lately I find myself editing the old instead of writing the new. There always seems to be one more pass--or maybe I've just procrastinated this long, letting other "writerly" tasks take priority. Today, though, that "last pass" is on my list and it's about to be history. :)

Congrats on your new contract!!!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jessica. Always wonderful to see you in Seekerville. Thank you for the post, for sharing your struggle in absolutely beautiful prose, which verifies you are called to write. I'm sure several can identify with that desert you roamed. I don't think the issue is that writing is hard work. Life can slap us down and drain the creative energy from us. Or make us question ourselves, our ability. Or if we're not careful we can let things and people pull us away from what we're meant to do. I'm happy that you're feeling strong and are on the road again.
Eager like Willie Nelson to make "music" with our friends. For writers, our friends are those characters in our head.

Congrats on those published books and that contract.

Hugs, Janet

Jan Drexler said...

Hi Jessica,

Great post, and you really spoke to the struggle I've been going through lately.

Thanks for your insight.

Now I'm going to go clean the bathroom before I start writing. Maybe it will jump-start something :)

Donna said...

Jessica, thank you for this heart felt post! I am so glad you made it through and are lighting the path for us.

Debby, I love the childbirth comparison! Maybe through in some morning sickness some days.

Heidi Robbins said...

I'm not a writer, but one of the first lines from your post perfectly describes what I think inhibits my endeavors, whether it be reading and reviewing books, art, or photography: "personal events overwhelming creativity." As a mom it's sometimes hard to get into a creative mindset after just doing... all day long. I love it, but often my personal goals are sacrificed. I so appreciate your advice to plan and don't give up! Thank you for the extra motivation today! Please include me in the giveaway for one of your books :)

Meghan Carver said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Jessica. I'm still trying to figure out my best time to write. Right now, afternoon naptime is working for me. I'm blessed to have older children who run interference for me if the nappers get up too early and I'm scrambling to finish something. I definitely can't write at night...too tired! I would love to try early morning, like Ruthy, but my husband is a night owl. So, we're still trying to work out a schedule. And I agree a hundredfold with your suggestion to pray. He is faithful!

Tina Radcliffe said...

What irony! I just realized I am blogging about a similar topic over at Cheryl St. John's From the Heart Blog today.

Oh, that God.
Joy is Strength

Wilani Wahl said...

Thank you for this timely post. Have a great weekend everyone!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jessica and welcome to Seekerville. Always a pleasure to hear from you and what a great post. This hit me smack between the eyes because I'm so in that desert and trying to claw out of it. I went through some really tough times and was physically EXHAUSTED. But I should have kept writing-at least a page a day. Because as some have said, it gets more difficult to start up. I have been writing again, but it is really a struggle. Oddly enough I've found some of my best writing is when I struggle the most to write. LOL such irony. And I've heard other writers say this also.

I really like the advice to write and worry abut editing later. Great advice. Thanks again, Jessica.

Donna said...

I forgot to mention how beautiful the cover is for Undercover Love. (Is it still called a cover for an e book?) I had to go order it!

Loves To Read said...

Hi Sandra Bricker! I love your books! They always make me laugh.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Jessica,

How brave to bare your soul like that!

The trouble with being a creative personality (like us writers) is that when life gets you down, it's really hard to summon that creative spark. Much easier to go to bed and pull the covers over our head!

Just knowing that it will come back is a great relief. The problem with having a deadline is that the spark has to come back in time to make that date! I'm just starting to deal with that.

I pray that your full force of creativity and energy and passion for your writing comes back soon!

Cheers,
Sue
PS. I'd love to be in the drawing!

Myra Johnson said...

Such a relevant post, Jessica! Thank you!

I'm taking a short break from writing this week while I catch up on other things and spend some quality time with my husband and family. Sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to NOT write, knowing the energy will return and the writing will be even better for it.

And--I'm gathering lots of ideas during this break that are making me itchy to get back to the keyboard. That's definitely a good thing!

Walt Mussell said...

I'm thinking about the raspeberry mocha at the moment. I used to have a Lite White Raspberry at a place called caribou, but I've never had one at Starbuck's

I've been through some highs and lows, though I don't know if this is one of the lows that I've experienced yet. (I haven't sold yet, so it isn't However, their are times when I am writing and times when I'm not.)

Connie Queen said...

What an uplifting post, Jessica!

After being booted out of the Killer Voices contest, I need to figure out my next move. (Ok, no one booted me. My story just needs additional tweaks...) Do I re-write and resubmit, or set it aside for a few weeks and start a brand spanking new story? I don't know. But I did sit down and read a book yesterday. That was fun.

Jana Vanderslice said...

OK, I have a new favorite author…JESSICA NELSON!! I thought I was the only one. I’m fighting huge, serious medical problems. (It’s actually an Incredible story God is writing in my life! Huge! Wow! Amazing!) But difficult. Very difficult.

When I can’t push any harder and get things done, I feel like a kid pulled out of the game to sit on the bench and watch everyone else play. Who wants to be that person? Jessica, you are right. It’s ok! Thanks for the reminder! I found out long ago “I don’t have to walk fast. I just have to walk.” Sometimes I just forget.

Here’s what I do:
--I tell myself “Sit Down & Stay Down” & set the timer for a weird number like 47 minutes. No matter what I accomplish, I’ve tried!
--I also keep a Faith SmashBook. That keeps the ideas flowing from my head to my hands—even if they aren’t my ideas. Verses, quotes, drawings, song lyrics, prayers, notes, journaling, whatever! At least my brain is working.

Here’s to You, JESSICA!! Never doubt God uses you make a difference in this world! He did today!!!

Becke said...

Jessica,
I had to think about if I wanted to share this.

I had to give myself permission to write even if I didn't sale.

I had to embrace the fact that not all good books are published and not all published books are good.

Finally, life is not equitable. It just is so enjoy the journey because it's never about the end.
b

Pam Hillman said...

Most of us have been in this place before, and I daresay we will be again.

One thing I've learned is to plow through, no matter what. If I still had a day job, that's what I'd have to do. Or it wouldn't be long before I'd have a pink slip. :(

My second piece of advice: surround yourself with a network of writer friends to keep you motivated.

Yes, there are times when it might take weeks, months, years even, to get back on track, but without a band of trusted writer friends, I'm not sure some of us would have pulled through those tough times.

PS...to clarify, I'm mostly talking about burn-out, fear, worries that our writing isn't good enough, etc. Death, divorce, cancer, sick kids, or just plain out day-to-day exa...(uh...my backspace just BROKE on this laptop!!! I can't r...erase. uh oh!!!) adds a whole new dimension to this topic and sometimes writing has to take a backseat to family.

Jessica, glad to see you're on track again! :)

Sending this message, and then going dark. :(

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Thanks so much for sharing, Jessica. I've been feeling incredibly unmotivated this week, but as I was praying about it yesterday, God pointed out areas that I could build on to re-motivate myself and get back into the swing of things.

Jessica Nelson said...

Thanks Jackie! Keep working at it but guess what? Your husband is right. :-)

Thank you Mary...I'm holding onto that towel. LOL

So true, Glynna!!!

Ruthy, I tried SO many times to comment and everytime I hit post, my comment disappeared into the cyber void. LOL I'm home from work now though. Yay!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Whoa, Jana, adding our prayers to yours for that huge miracle to continue.

Jessica Nelson said...

Glynna,
My feelings come and go. Mostly I would force myself but sometimes I felt the love. I'm still working on priorities but I think the main thing that kept me going (and is keeping me going now) is that I don't want to give this up! I've been so blessed to be published and to have completed manuscripts...if I give up now, where does that leave me? I've always loved the arts but in all the others I was a copier (drawing, music, etc). With writing, I feel home. Like I'm me. It just fits and I feel like God has given me so much with it that even if I need to take a break, that doesn't mean I need to be done with it. :-) Does that make sense?

Jessica Nelson said...

Thanks Preslaysa! Yep, editing is the BEST! LOL

Sherri...LOL! You hit it!

Tina, hahahaa, burnt out on some life stuff but not writing necessarily. It's all good though. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Kathy B, I'm so glad you pushed through! Winters are hard but there's that promise of spring that keeps us going. :-)

Thank you Jennifer!

Awww, Sandie, thank you so much!!! You don't know how much your encouragement and support means to me. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Nancy C, wow, thank you for sharing that!!! I think sometimes a break really is good. It sounds like it worked amazing for you and LOL on the deadline! That is SO true!!

lol Tina, those were the good old days! Hahahaa, it's like remembering my childhood almost.

Jessica Nelson said...

Jeanne, thank you so much! I love your term "writer's groove". That's apt and really true...we each make our own marks and have our own path.

LOL Deb H!!! That monster...*shudder* Congrats on the contests and I second your shout-outs. I'm so thankful for those who share what they've gone through. It really, really helps.

Jessica Nelson said...

Hahahaa, yes Debby, I really enjoy "having written" too. I'm one of those who has long, painful rough draft births but then I jump into edits with gusto. ;-)

Oh Melanie...I wish I could hug you. I think you understand exactly what I mean by deadness. Sometimes life is so hard. :-( Hang in there. I'm excited to see what else you publish!!

Jessica Nelson said...

CatMom, I know! They're getting WAY too big.

Good for you, Natalie! We can only edit so much and then it's time to move on. :-)

Janet, lovely to see you too!! And yes, it was life draining me but boy am I glad to be feeling better.

Jessica Nelson said...

LOL Jan! Cleaning lets your creative thoughts wander...I hope something amazing and wonderful fills your heart! *hugs*

Thank you, Donna. :-)

Sure thing, Heidi! I'm glad you enjoyed the post and best wishes to you in carving out some creative time for yourself. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

lol Meghan! Good luck to you! Be flexible...what works this year might not next year. That's great that you have older ones to help too. I loved naptime...it was MY time. Heheeheee


LOL Tina! I guess He has something to say. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

You too, Wilani!

Sandra, I didn't do a page a day. I went days and days without writing...kept putting it off. I'm just now starting up again. *hugs*

Donna, thank you!! I call it a cover. My brother-in-law designed it and my kids' dad took the photo. I think it's beautiful too. :-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Susan, thank you for that prayer!!! I appreciate it. I hope all goes well with your writing as well.

Exactly, Myra! Enjoy your family. :-)

Walt, you may not. :-) My low was caused by personal issues, not the writing. I like Caribou coffee! Unfortunately I don't know of any in Florida. :-(

Jessica Nelson said...

Connie, it's whatever you want! Are you ready to submit to agents and publishers? Writing something new is always fun too though. :-)

Oh wow, thank you Jana!! I forget too. It was actually cathartic to write this post. Sometimes we should vent and that's what this was, but it was also a reminder to myself. Great point about walking too...that can be applied to writing and so many other things. I think the important thing is to keep moving, somehow, someway.

Jessica Nelson said...

Becke, so true. *hugs*

Pam, yes, it was those other things that did it to me...but there's still light and those things pass. Enjoy your dark and thank you for the advice about keeping writer family close!

Very cool, Anna! Write On! :-)

Missy Tippens said...

Some great suggestions, Jessica! Because you're right. We will all go through those periods.

Thanks for being with us today! I'm excited about your sale to LIH!

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Melissa. I thought I read that sentence about the cleaning wrong, too. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Jana, I'm praying for your health issues.

Lyndee H said...

"To everything there is a season..."

Thanks for your post, Jessica. It's nice to share our struggles and victories on a site like this where everyone is so supportive. Your message is very timely.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I would love one of Walt's Raspberry mocha ideas right about now...

And while I don't like cleaning, I love pulling a room apart and scraping and painting and trimming... and then putting it back together.

But cleaning????? SNORE....

I pulled the ugliest, dirtiest, most horrible old carpet up today, the last remnant of wretchedness on the second floor of our farmhouse.

SO MUCH DIRT. I probably should vacuum my lungs. Anybody got a "shark" for lungs?????

Wait, that's what cilia are for, right?????

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I wish I could leave pics in comments. Blogger, get on that, would you????

You could see the donuts.

I'm making CRONUTS this weekend, while doing edits on Her Holiday Family!!!! I'm doing this because CRONUTS are a two-day job and so are edits and when I'm DONE... I will treat myself to a CRONUT.

And I'll be so happy!!!!!

I will bring some to share on Sunday. Stuffed with English cream pudding. I'm starving, kind of, thinking about them.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jessica!!!! That's exactly what happens to me, every time I'm traveling and trying to comment. It's like I get a five comment limit, and after that, the vacuum void swallows them whole.

BAD VACUUM VOID!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

LYNDEE!!!!! THANK YOU FOR MY CARD, I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

I've got it on the sideboard in my dining room, sweet thing! And my family is so surprised that anyone thinks I'm nice!!!!!!

I show them your card and they kind of cringe.

(shrugs)

Whatever!!!! :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Ruthy, I am totally impressed. Cronuts!!! Wowza.

Writers and Readers said...

Wowser! Thank you for this post! I sure needed it.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Oh, this is horrible! I'm so sorry this happened to you. :(

An so glad you're working your way out of it. Great list of tips. Especially the last one. It's OKAY not to write. (Unless you're on deadline and then you just better suck it up, haha.)

Something I do when I feel my mojo slipping away: I ask myself "WHY". Why am I writing this particular story? Why did I like these characters? Why did I choose the setting or the theme?

Sometimes, when I answer those questions, I realize I've changed something. For whatever reason, sometimes I decide a character should be something else... and I love my love for the story. If I can trace back to the beginning when I loved the story, I can reverse my steps, and find my happy place again.

Hope your cleaning thrill is back, too. LOL

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Ugh. Sorry for the typos. It should be "Sometimes I LOSE my love for the story". :)

Tanya Agler said...

Jessica, thank you for your post. As a mom and a writer, I love your point that you have to treat writing as a priority.

With school age kids, the time of day that I write is about to change. It's already summer vacation where I live and hence a change in writing time. But writing is still a priority even during their summer vacation.

Thanks for your post.

Glynna Kaye said...

JESSICA -- Yes, that TOTALLY makes sense. I can completely relate to how you feel--that being a writer is YOU. One of the things God created you to do and be for Him during your time on earth.

Mary Preston said...

I find that in life generally there are those times. You just keep going & do what you do best.

jubileewriter said...

you descibed my writing life- my last year in particular. I have been drained by the stress of life around me. I am praying God will help me draw from all these desert experinces and use them as fodder for fiction and a candle in the darkness for articles. This gift of writing is a slippery thing. We sometimes have to wrestle to retrieve writng time like a wet bar of soap on the shower floor.Thanks so much for sharing.
Cindy Huff

Suzie Johnson said...

Excellent post, Jessica. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know that horrible, crippling, scary place. I have one foot there right now. I appreciate all of your advice.

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Jessica, you probably won't see this comment because I am SO late getting here, so I apologize.

But WOW, you have no idea just how much I needed your blog today, so THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! You spoke to my heart more than you will ever know because I have been struggling with this very thing.

I would say the most important points you listed are prayer and planning, something a seat-of-the-pantster isn't prone to doing (the planning, not the prayer!). :)

Anyway, thank you again for a wonderful post.

Hugs!!
Julie

Rebecca Lorraine Walker said...

Great post, Jessica. Thanks for being transparent. God bless you!

Lorraine Walker