Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

When You Don’t Have a Cabin or a Dog… But Are Still Called to Write

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From Jeff: This is a guest post by Sarah Mae. Sarah is an author, blogger, and mom. You can find her on her blog or connect with her on Twitter @sarahmae.

Most days, I hated writing my book.

The process felt torturous, and at the end of six months (the time I was given to complete my manuscript), I hated book writing and never wanted to do it again.

Cabin in Woods

Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ (Creative Commons)

Let me back up for a minute…

I always thought that writing a book would consist of long winter days in a cabin by a fire with a dog.

Cliché, I know.

I also thought it would take a year or two to write a book. You know, really take the time to figure out your words and your story and what you want to say. I wanted time and the space to create something brilliant, something lovely, something masterful.

And then I came back to reality, broke up a fight, fed someone, and cried.

Writing in the real world

First of all, I didn’t have two years to create a masterpiece; I had six months. Second, I had three little kids that depended on me to feed them, bathe them, teach them, and be mindful of the fact that they didn’t like me being on the computer too much.

Also, by the time they went to bed around 8pm, I was exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was write. Oh, and there was that husband that didn’t want to be neglected.

Ah, life. It just doesn’t fit neatly in a box with a perfectly placed bow, does it? 

Yet, we still write. Or paint or sing or dance or craft or start a business or play a sport. We still dream. We still do what we were created to do, because we can’t help it, it’s in our blood; it’s in our soul.

But how, how do we do the thing we are compelled to do when life intervenes with a million distractions? How to we write between jobs and bedtimes? How do we write without the cabin and the dog?

Accept your limitations

Face it: You probably will not have months of solitary time and a “just-right” atmosphere to create. You might have extremely limited time to do the thing you want to do. You might have other priorities that come before your dream.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself or comparing yourself with others or resenting your limitations, accept them. Work around them the best you can, but whatever you do, keep working.

When writing my book, I only had two days a week to write, realistically. Sure, I could have got up at 5 am, but it wouldn’t have been productive because my brain doesn’t wake up until 10am.

Everyone has limitations. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t quit.

Fight for it

Yes, you have limitations. But so what?! Who doesn’t have them?

If you want to create, you have to fight for your passion. You must give your soul the space, even if just in bits, to do what it needs to do.

Fight for the time, no matter how limited, and the love of what you’re called to do. And then do the work.

Give up on “perfect”

I had to give up on writing my masterpiece. There just wasn’t the time or brain power in this season of my life.

So be it.

Maybe one day, when my babies are grown and I have some money saved up, I can go to a cabin and write for days on end. With a dog. And a roaring fire.

But until then, I’m okay with less-than-perfect. I’ll do my best with what I have, and then let it go. And so should you.

Let yourself go

Speaking of letting go, you won’t be free to give of yourself in your art if you are constantly critiquing yourself. Yes — improve, read, learn, and aim for excellence; but then let yourself go and be who you are.

Be heard with the voice you were given, and speak the words you were meant to speak. Be you, only you. Push out the voices that say you aren’t good enough, and enjoy who you are.

If you have a message or an idea to share with the world, share it. And do it the only way that really matters — with all of who you are.

Back to the torture of writing my book…

Significant time has passed since turning in my manuscript, and I feel like I finally want to write again. I am a writer and a message maker, and I can’t help but create. So I will.

But I will take my own advice next time and accept my limitations, fight for the space I need to write well, give up on perfect, and enjoy the process by being me, by letting myself go.

I will accept who I was made to be, and I will write because my soul tells me to.

What is in your soul to create? Are you called to write? What is stopping you from doing it? Share in the comments.

Sarah Mae’s book (that she hated writing), Desperatejust released this week. Find it wherever books are sold and check out the amazing gifts and giveaways that are happening.

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Check out my new book, The In-Between. To get exclusive updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://www.gettingdownwithjesus.com/ dukeslee

    I wrote a book. I experienced wide-ranging feelings — vacillating between intense elation to the certainty that I was the worst writer on the planet. My agent often uses a rollercoaster analogy to describe the intensity of the experience. I’m thinking it has been more like a six-month long bungee-jump, with a blindfold. :) It’s kind of fun, though, to watch it on the playback. :) 

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Totally fun to watch the playback! 

      And yes, I decided during the process that I was the WORST writer on the planet. I had convinced myself I wasn’t supposed to write. Bah! Not true! :)

  • http://www.economicliferecovery.com/ Nicholas Brack

    Thanks for this.  Just what I needed when the world is swirling around in my head … and the resistance is screaming in my ear for justification and validation.
    Thank you again Sarah.

  • http://www.facebook.com/noel.mcneil.5 Noël McNeil

    Great post Sarah! I’m currently in the process of growing my blog and am having a lot of doubts about my ‘writing voice’. I love to write and hope to write a book or two one day. Lord willing it will happen so long as it glorifies Him!

  • KM Logan @lessonsfromivy

    I’ve written and erased about three comments right now.  I’m on the “burnt out” phase when it comes to writing I guess : ) Oh well, I guess that’s the best time to promote.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hang in there, KM.

  • http://www.caitlinmuir.com Caitlin Muir

    Oh Sarah! The timing on this is fantastic. I’m laying to rest some commitments to revive my love of writing and the projects that burn on my heart. It has been so easy for me to say yes to so many people…just not myself. Thank  you for being honest about the struggle!

  • DeannaEANFE

    Sarah I just started reading your book the other day and first of all let me say- it is AMAZING! Second, I am in the same phase of life as you and I truly appreciate this post. I’m working on my second book while my first book hasn’t “made it” yet, and I so badly want to quit because clearly I’m a failure. And yet for some reason I simply can’t stop writing. So I too break up fights, feed the children, and then figure out a way to word it all in a way relatable to other moms. It keeps me sane. Thank you for all that you do!

    • http://twitter.com/AdventureCarrie Carrie Starr

       Keep at it Deanna!  You are not alone and you are not a failure!

  • http://www.bethcoulton.com/ Beth

    This is SO exactly where I am right now.  I find myself resenting the time it takes during my day to work a full time job, take care of everyone, and everything, and never feel like I have time for me, much less to go beyond my “me” time of just some quiet Bible reading and exercise and actually have the time to WRITE.  

    I am going to print this out and read it over and over again. I will accept my limitations and not feel like everyone else has more hours in the day than I do with less to do in their lives and oh poor pity me.

    And when the errands and the dog and the kids and the husband and the work and the foodshopping claim all my time and “me” gets pushed out yet another day, I want to live my life not as “I HAVE to do these things” but rather, “I GET to do these things.”  I know some moms that aren’t on this earth anymore that no longer get these days, and some parents without their kids on the earth anymore who would give anything for one more “busy” day  their child.

    Thank you for helping to shift my focus and perspective!

  • http://www.laura-mcclellan.com/ Laura in Texas

    Thank you for sharing this, Sarah (and thank you, Jeff, for sharing your platform with her). I’m nearing the end of the first draft of my first novel. I wrote the first words of it in February of last year. Many times I’ve nearly given up, because with a more-than-fulltime day job (I’m a lawyer) and a 54-mile-each-way daily commute AND a family, I have so little time to write. But with the encouragement of generous writers I’ve met and my great critique group, I’ve persevered. Your post was a reminder to me of why.

    Thanks.

    Laura

  • Stephanie Hilliard

    Wonderful article, Sarah! What you describe meshes well with what I’ve experienced the past three years as a wife, mother, full-time employee AND full-time student. I’ve had to let go of perfectionism, learn to study and write with a lot of distractions and under less than ideal conditions. I am currently in the “finding my niche and building an audience” phase of my writing – but what I’ve learned as a student will go a long way in helping me write in spite of all of life’s distractions.

  • http://leannesype.wordpress.com/ Leanne

    Wow! I am a fellow writermama (daughter 4, son 6) and your words hit just right! 
    “You must give your soul the space, even if just in bits, to do what it needs to do.”  You have given me the most wonderful sentence of affirmation! Thank you.  
    I tell myself “whether five words or 500 words, each is progress” because I’ll write while spaghetti noodles are cooking or squeeze in words during kidlet “potty breaks,” and eventually all those tiny bits form whole sections of work. Often times it feels like an uphill battle, but like you said,  just keep fighting (even though I fight tired most of the time)!

    Anyway, I find your post so encouraging for all writers, but especially for writermamas (including me). There’s little to no functional downtime and no perfect environment for writing (unless being surrounded by piles of laundry, strewn toys, and the sounds of Dora the Explorer blaring in the background is your ideal space). You just have to let go of “ideal” and figure out how to integrate your passion into what’s real for you. Thanks!

  • http://www.nebraskagraceful.blogspot.com Michelle DeRusha

    This is awesome and exactly what I needed to hear! We are in the midst of the flu at our house right now, which means two sick kids and a sick husband and a sick me…and still a book to research and write! These are the days I am pining for a cabin in the snowy woods, but like you said, that’s not my life and not my reality. 

    Thank you for a much-need reality check. The pity party is now over at my place! 

  • http://www.lindseymorningstar.com/ Lindsey Morningstar

    Sometimes the messages come exactly when we need to hear them – this post was perfect timing for me. I started my blog back up again because I missed the creative process of writing and photography. But I often find myself putting it last on my to-do list because I either don’t have time, didn’t take the ‘perfect’ photo, or didn’t write the most amazing post that day. So thank you for giving me a permission slip to not have everything packaged up perfectly with a bow!

    • Debby

      Lindsey, you took the words right out of my mouth!!  EXACTLY how I was feeling! Thanks for sharing…we are not alone!! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/renia.carsillo Renia Carsillo

    r

  • http://www.facebook.com/renia.carsillo Renia Carsillo

    Your story is the female 21st century version of the banker story I love so Much from Susan Vreeland’s book “Life Studies.” Thank you for sharing it. As a mother of two little boys, finding the space to write is always challenging. This is a beautiful reminder that even a sentence or two is progress. Thank you.

  • Penny H

    Wonderful words, Sarah Mae. I’m working on embracing my “limitations”, which include a 7 day a week job, DIY home renovations lots of volunteer work and a boatload of animals. (Trust me, if you had the dog, it would want to go out, or eat, or play every time you sat down to write :-).
    Renaming my “limitations” as “blessings” helps. Mind you, it’s great in theory, but a bear in practice…. Which just adds toy list of blessings, doesn’t it?
    Be well, and best of luck to you!

  • http://twitter.com/BrendaRCoats7 Brenda Coats

    I loved this, and I find myself in the very same place, Sarah! Nice to know I’m not alone in the struggle, but also nice to be reminded to keep plodding. ((Hugs!))

  • http://www.facebook.com/chopeclark C Hope Clark

    I understand. And you describe the norm of being a published writer. Or so I’ve learned of late. My first mystery came out from Bell Bridge Books last Feb. The second in the series comes out in April. I’m waiting for the edits, and it’s January. Yep, I learned from the first book to leave my agenda as open as possible between now and April because I’ll be asked to do the impossible when it comes to edits, setting up interviews, ordering sales material, etc. between now and then. And that doesn’t count writing the books coming behind those! Life is messy for a writer, but you know what? It’s what we asked for, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    (Jeff, love what you do. I quote you at speaking engagements and my upcoming new nonfiction book.)

    C. Hope Clark
    http://www.fundsforwriters.com
    http://www.chopeclark.com

    • Katharine Trauger

      Hello, Hope, and huge congratulations to you! :)

  • Shalz

    SO True.. Looks like you are telling my story.. so many things fight for the time and I always look forward to that ideal ‘solo’ time to be myself..would love to work on your words..

  • http://www.pansandpickpockets.com/ Allyson Siwajian

    These are such good tips! Thank you, Sarah Mae, for sharing your story and for encouraging all of us to accept our limitations, persevere, and continue to create. 

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I have the dog but not the cabin. :-)

    Your piece is timely as I move from all the time in the world to write to splitting time with the 3 churches I serve as a pastor (as of January 1). It’s the desire to get that story out that keeps me finding space to write (even as I tighten my schedule). Thanks for the reminder that writing is work, but it’s also work that needs to be done. Wish you well with the book release.

  • Debby

    This was the best thing I have read today!  I usually know within the first couple of paragraphs whether I like a writer…and  Sarah Mae…I LIKE you and your writing style! So much so, that I went to your blog, subscribed and will be buying your book!  Plus, what you shared here is just what I NEEDED to hear!  I am a mom, with four children, and the youngest about to graduate.  But…still a very BUSY life and finding the time to write…or take that perfect photo…has alluded me for months.  I have had tidbits of “encouragement” lately and your article today added to it and  hit me squarely in my heart and mind…I am ready to get “back in the saddle”, even if these tired feet take it one leg at a time :)  Thank you!  And thank you, Jeff, for sharing her.  You  are a source of inspiration and encouragement for me, and I find I am referring your blog and book to others constantly.  Thanks for doing what you do best!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Wow, Debby, thank you so much! :) You just handed me a huge bouquet of proverbial flowers with this comment! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584898973 Pam Hawley

    I wish I had read this when I was writing the first draft of my first novel around the 50-60 hour per week day job. These are lessons I learned the hard way, but you’ve stated them here in a perfect way to tuck into the memory bank for the future. I WAS too hard on myself. I DID get up at 5 am to write even though I’m not at my best, and sacrificed too much family/friend/fun time. I started feeling like a hamster who was either on the work-wheel or the write-wheel. I thought I had lost my love of writing – which is something I’ve always loved and needed like oxygen. But in retrospect I was just resenting the fact that I was ALWAYS working at the pay-the-bills job or my book. I took the fun out of writing. I think I’ve learned that I can take it very seriously and work at it to make a dream a goal without doing that again. Limitations are real, and if you don’t recognize them you set yourself up for tough times. Some writers may work well when full of angst, but my best writing comes out when I’ve achieved an overall good balance between gotta-do-work, heart-and-soul-work (writing) and the rest of my life.

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    Sarah, really encouraging read. Just reminds me that i can’t wait for things to get ‘perfect’, ‘better’ e.t.c  before I step out (it applies to other areas of life too) Just be what am called to be, right in the inconveniences and ebbs of life!

  • ScubaBobH

    Thanks, Sarah~

    It’s been said if you want to get something done give the job to a busy person; they’ll figure out a way! A lazy person will only procrastinate or make excuses and never get things done.

  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    I feel you, Sarah. My parents have a cabin a driveable distance from where I live. The first time I was there I said, “This is the perfect writing nook! I’ll be here every free weekend!” Well, that was a year ago and my writing nook has a bed and rocking chair and no desk but it’s ok because I’ve never been there to write (and when I am there, writing in the last thing I want to do).

  • Elizabeth

    I have a cabin and TWO dogs, so those excuses are wiped off my slate! :) Good encouraging words today. Thank you for drawing me in with your clever title.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hah! Awesome.

  • http://www.natashametzler.com/ Natasha Metzler

    This made me smile. 

    I’m not sure what my excuse is. The dishes, perhaps? Okay. I’m shushing and returning to the Word Document I left behind to come read this… 

  • http://twitter.com/ncauthor Janet Hartman

    I’ve had a book in the back of my mind for six years. Wrote 5 chapters, then decided I didn’t know enough and needed to write “short” for awhile. After six years of  writing short fiction and nonfiction, 2013 is my year to finish a first draft. First drafts don’t have to be perfect!

  • Feedingtruthministries

    I realized just last night what is holding me back is insecurity. Even though I speak often, counsel and prepare curriculum, when I sit down to write I feel like what I am saying isn’t good enough. I am challenging myself to just write without critiques and fear. I’ve been told all my life I need to write. I have a husband who shares all the time there are books inside me people need. Now, it’s time. This post was great. Thank you.

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/aaron/ Aaron Johnson

    I didn’t start to write until I accepted that I’d probably have to do it during my break at work. That sounded like something south of purgatory to me, but it’s made all the difference. It’s also trained me to forget inspiration and to just write. The other think that has helped is that I followed Ann Lamont’s advice and I went out and bought a 1-inch picture frame to remind me that all I need to write is one scene or one thought to get things moving.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Isn’t this the truth Sarah and Amen! I wrote my first book in a park everyday while my three kids played. I also took Jon Acuff’s suggestion and wrote early mornings. After all the struggle, tears and frustration it all melted away when I held a physical copy (the advanced reader copy) of my first published book yesterday.

    I opened the box, say the books and cried. It was totally worth it! 

  • M.L. Swift

    Sarah, I needed to read this. As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, my attention is constantly being garnered and there aren’t too many marathon moments for unencumbered writing. Had to make some changes if I wanted to follow my dream.

    Now…I do rise at 4:00, sip coffee and read emails, blog, and comment while in waking mode. Once awake (an hour or so), I write. Hopefully I get a couple of hours in before the rest of the house stirs and my “free” time is gone. After that, it’s a matter of grabbing it when I can. Reading, writing, learning, writing, reading, learning…the circle of life.   

  • http://www.djmac.co.uk/ DJ Mac

    “I had to give up on writing my masterpiece. There just wasn’t the time or brain power in this season of my life.
    So be it.”
    Absolutely! As soon as I get into this mindset I can actually start achieving something. Besides, what I get might turn out to be different from the ‘masterpiece’ but could be something I end up very proud of…

  • http://www.facebook.com/sonyamacdesigns Sonya McCllough

    Thanks SM … My pity party is OVER (for now :)) … This past Monday, I just humbled myself and asked a local Christian Company if I could use some of their office space to work (write) and would ja know it they said YES (trade for some graphic design work) and this very comment is being written from the conference room of my church … there is much peace in this place. Thanks for the Super Honest Need to Write, Wake Up Call!

  • http://www.blackhillspicturebooks.com/ Christa Upton

    Wow–wonderful words for writers!!!  I’m home bound/bedridden with illness (which I do NOT like), but today I am SO motivated to be thankful for the time my illness gives me for writing.  Thank you for your many other nuggets of wisdom, too–”Everyone has limitations….Don’t quit.”  ” …let it go.”  “Be you…”  Really struck a chord with me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nina.williamson.3 Nina Renee Hammer

    Hi Sarah, and thank you for sharing this lovely advice. I have in my soul lots of poetry, a memoir about faith and racial reconciliation, and numerous short stories. I know that I’m called to write because of the release of passion that floods my heart while doing it, and the pressure of the emotions I work to convey when offering the message to others. What stops me is fear and apathy. By listening to that inner critic every time I attempt a stanza, or review a paragraph, I trap the passion inside and it begins to die a little. Apathy occurs when I wear myself out on the self-criticism. This article is a great help!

  • http://twitter.com/Karoline_Ott Karoline

    This is a great reminder, because even though I have set up my nice little schedule and creative atmosphere, if that is what I have to rely on in order to write it only means I am weak. GREAT writers can write anywhere, anytime. asateenwriter.blogspot.com

  • http://hugmomma.blogspot.com/ Hugmomma

    Life is the masterpiece. Thanks for the encouragement to get some of it down in words. Follow your dreams, I pray God blesses you on your journey. 

  • http://www.naijapoetry.com/ Adeife Adebiyi

    Thank you so much for this piece. If you can do it then nothing should hold me back

  • Dasein Petals

    excellent…very inspiring. Perfection can only come if we are willing to make mistakes. You will never be willing to make mistakes if we focus entirely on perfection. 

    Thank you for articulating this in such an straightforward manner. It landed in my inbox at the exact right time. 

  • Kerry Stith

    Thanks for the inspiration! I’m still groggy from staying up late last night to finish my blog post. But I’m reminded why I write because I must.

  • http://www.SamJolman.com/ Sam Jolman

    This is not only utterly helpful but well written too. Thank you. Glad you’ll keep writing.

  • http://www.heartchoices.com Debbie

    I read this post yesterday but knew I needed to return today to reread what you wrote.  I am in the midst of writing my book.  I want it to be perfect.  It is taking me much longer than I anticipated.  In fact, I read your eBook about publishing your eBook when it first came out and I’m still writing.  I will take your advice.  I write in the early morning hours before I leave for work and on the weekends in between loads of wash and chores.  But I believe I have a message to share with others.  It’s a book about living with no regrets as I share stories from people on their deathbeds.  I worked as a cardiovascular nurse specialist for 25 years and walked alongside of hundreds of patients who died.  There are many lessons to learn from them about living.

    Thank you for writing this post.  I needed it!

  • Okaasan

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve heard it said so many times that “you have no excuse not to write”, but I always made excuses anyway. I loved this post, because it wasn’t chastising like most other “you can make time” posts; this one was actually encouraging!! :) The point that the writing doesn’t have to be perfect struck a chord with me; I’m a perfectionist and don’t want the world to see my less-than-perfect work. Thanks so much — I feel inspired!!

  • Kevin Riner

    Giving up on perfect is the hardest for me.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      yep. me, too.

  • http://ernestdempsey.net/ Ernest Dempsey

    I totally understand.  
    There are so many difficult parts to writing a book.  The process can really suck at times.  And when you are finally done and you’re holding it in your hands, you wish you would have done something a little different.  You have to come to the point where you realize it is good enough and will never be perfect.  But good enough is all it needs to be.  
    I’m happy to share your struggle.  :)

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I struggle with letting go of myself. Voices in my head tell me I’m not good enough and others don’t want to listen. It’s difficult to push past but I know it’s worth it.

    My soul longs to create students who become leaders that are doing great work. Pushing the boundaries in areas I could only dream of. I hope to have accomplished this with at least one person!

  • http://twitter.com/AdventureCarrie Carrie Starr

    Thanks Sarah, and Jeff!

     I don’t have a cabin in the woods, or a dog.  I do have three kids, a husband who longs for my attention, a business and a teaching career.  I am currently in the horrible editing process and am considering hiding under a rock.  Thanks for encouraging me to accept my limitations and keep writing. 

    Congrats on the release of your book Sarah!  How wonderful!

    And Jeff, our family continues to enjoy Wrecked around the dining room table. Thank you for the gift of your writing.

  • Dawn Mattox

    I live in the woods, have a cabin, a roaring
    fire and a couple of dogs.  I am retired
    and the kids are gone. One might think it is idyllic and writing would flow,
    except; we are out of toilet paper and have to go to town, someone else’s
    crisis has landed on my doorstep, and if I don’t do laundry my husband
    threatens to go to work naked . . .not a pretty sight.  Rewriting my book for the 4th or 5th time. Lost
    count.  Some days it’s love, other’s it’s
    just plain grit. We get overwhelmed and sidetracked, and then we sit back down
    and write. It’s our gift, our calling, our purpose. 

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      “if I don’t do laundry my husband

      threatens to go to work naked . . .not a pretty sight.” Dying. So funny.

  • http://www.thescarletpaisley.blogspot.com/ Amanda B

    I definitely am at the point of accepting my limitations – but maybe those limitations shouldn’t stop me from writing, but rather spur me on and continue to write when I can.  This season of life I’m in is the most intense thus far.  We have 7 young kids, two we’ve adopted, yep, and we homeschool - God has taken us on an intense journey these past several years, where saying yes to Him meant fully trusting.  Here I am, smack-dab in the middle of a baby, toddlers, a preschooler, gradeschoolers and a middle schooler – and the desire to write just won’t go away.  I think of and dream about it each day.   I’m always blessed to hear stories of other moms that make it work inspite of a full family life.  God Bless you, Sarah!

    • Bknovelist

      Wow Amanda, you should write a book called, Writing with 7. Please do write if you can and if you want, but it’s certainly understandable if you feel a little exhausted. It’s not like you’re busy or anything. I’m sure the kids take of themselves, along with the 235 other errands that come with being a grownup and parent. MUCH ADMIRATION

    • Emily

      Hey! I realize you wrote this awhile ago…how’s it going? Are you writing? I would love to know :) I have four children and homeschool and have a deep need to write and create. It’s difficult sometimes! ope you’re doing well!

  • http://twitter.com/BKnovelist Brian B. King

    I agree, accepting limitation is so true and hard to do, especially for the creative. You have to accept limitation, but not. I browsed through many author’s bios, before I started writing seriously. It painted a good picture of what to expect when I entered the world of writing.

  • http://www.kristibutler.blogspot.com/ Kristi

    Thank you so much for sharing! What a breath of sweet encouragement!!

  • Katharine Trauger

    I have the cabin and the fire, and thank God I don’t have the dog, but also, I do have the HUSBAND-in-all-caps, and cannot figure how to get out of polishing his furniture when he thinks writing is just a crappy market and I should find something better to do. Sighs. My babes are grown. I thought I would get the book done, at this point in my life, but I have learned: the kids were the furniture polishers, and now they are gone.
    I have written 4 kid lit text books, a Bible study, a collection of inspiring essays, and in my head have written a heartbreaking biography or two of guys from around here. No real problems with the writing. But do NOT have time to do the publisher’s job, which they now dump on us real writers.

    Everyone who gets published today is really a marketer. And some know how to write. Right?

    Typing through tears.

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com/ Beth

      Katharine – I’m so sorry – I hear the pain in what you type.  Pray about where you are in this process; pray about your husband’s perspective on your passion.  If you feel called and led to pursue writing (and from what I read, you do) then try to carve out time to do it and still honor your husband’s requests of furniture polishing or whatever it might be.  You will win him over more by your actions (writing and still honoring him) than your words.  Is there some time in the day when you can call your own, and write to your heart’s content?

  • http://www.elizabethingersoll.blogspot.com/ Beth Ingersoll

    I do think I’m called to write, and I make excuses for my limitations. There, I said it. I think I have to create an office and a place to go hide, but all I really need is my laptop and earbuds. :-)

  • http://www.lesliemaddox.com Leslie Maddox

    I loved this so much, and read it at just the right time. I’ve read blogs and books about ways to build your platform and write so many words a day and do this and do that…and I end up thinking, “You obviously are not the primary caretaker of small active children or you’d be too busy and tired to even think about that. Or does everybody else have more energy than me??” I’d just been thinking that I wished a mom would write on the topic…and here you are! I’ve accepted that this season of my life comes with both great joys and severe limitations, and I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one with that experience. So I push myself to do what I can in small chunks, and maybe that will eventually amount to something.

  • http://davidchristian.co/ David Christian

    I love the idea generation, but struggle with the “putting your butt in the chair and write” part. 

    I’ve found I do better work if I start several blog posts a week or more in advance and them come back to them later to rewrite. I like the break between just getting the thoughts out of my head and having time to clarify them.

  • K A Unsworth

    Sarah you said everything that resonates, mum, two kids, hubby and living in the mountain country, dog and on a dairy farm…….a passion to finish my first of many novels on the go…I do get up at 5am because my husband wakes me on his way to work. Loved this piece will keep going. Thanks.

  • Sukology

    Great article! I also struggle with finding the ‘perfect’ time to write. Now i know, ‘perfect ‘ does not exist, you just have to write- No excuses!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TPCZKWKBQW2BTKKXTXQ5P4N64I David

    Great advice!

    I’m one of the tens of thousands one people who has said I want to write a book someday, and I do, I just haven’t figured out what to write – fiction, non-fiction (I’ve lived a fairly boring life), prose, I have written some poetry. Plus I have a long way to go on developing my writing skills. But, if I ever get around to actually writing something, your insights here will be useful to help me through the process.

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com/ Beth

      When you can’t NOT write.

  • http://www.chaplainmike.com/ Mike Hansen

    Yep, I’m a writer too. The operative word for me is consistency. Ideas swim, but I hardly ever drain the pond on a keypad or paper.  I have made a new commitment for this year though: at least 15 minutes a day for at least 6 days a week. So far, not too bad.

  • Kimberlyspb

    love this. such pratical encouragement for when I feel “desperate” in the midst of my dreams. my favorite is Fight for It! my biggest obstacle has been feeling sorry for myself and and quickly learning the importance of pushing past it.
    thanks for sharing!

  • Cathywrites

    I have a splitting head ache, I am feeling kind of dull

    All the stuff inside it is straining at my skull

    So I’ll take it out 

    Toss it about

    Arrange it

    Explain it

    Toss some here

    Squeeze some near

    Twist it, turn it, lift it..and then

    When it starts to look like something, I will do it all again 

    This kind of stuff is busy it won’t lie still upon a bed

    I will have to make something new of it instead

    I expect I will have to fight it

    But in the end, I WILL FINALLY sit with it and WRITE IT

    by Cathywrites  and in truth I am just beginning to …with regularity…thanks in good measure to Jeff and his blog.

  • http://dbakeca.com Dbakeca Italia

    interesting tips

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