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

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.