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Writing … Interrupted

by Beth K. Vogt

I had another post written for today. The opening line?

There’s always a reason – or two or three – not to write.

I intended to blog about writing through the interruptions of life – and then the Waldo Canyon Fire erupted in the Foothills several miles from my neighborhood and my family evacuated our home.

Talk about an interruption.

Since then, I’ve struggled to write.

Yes, I’ve posted over at my blog, In Others’ Words. Doing so was a bit of normalcy and allowed me to ease some of the emotion backlogged in my heart.

But my other writing deadlines?

I’ve ignored them.

I confessed my writer’s stalemate to my closest writing buddies and was once again reminded why I treasure my relationships with other writers. They understand me and the delicate balance between real life and writing life – and how that equilibrium can change with the shift of the wind.

Here’s what my writing friends helped me remember:

1. Take a lesson from writing fiction. I am a novelist – all about wreaking havoc in my imaginary characters’ lives and then figuring out how that will affect them. Guess what? Sometimes the havoc happens in my life. I need to take time to step back and acknowledge that I feel like I’ve been tossed into a pinball machine.

2. Listen to your mother. Yesterday as I found myself crying for no reason at all – and for so many reasons – I heard my mother’s voice: Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to slow down, to be “less than” during times of crisis. It’s the wise choice to take care of myself.

3. Baby steps are progress. One of my mentors is best-selling author Susan May Warren. She offered this practical advice:

a. Set a small goal, pray over it, and then sit down and just do that one thing. Make it bit-size and 30 minutes at most.

And so, I took a deep breath. I took a short nap. And then, leaning into all the prayers being prayed for me, for my family and for everyone affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire, I sat on the couch in my friend’s living room and revamped my blog post.

It’s what I do.

I’m a writer.

I find a way to write through the interruptions – and accept that some days … I just don’t.

How do you write when the normal setting on your life gets twisted out of sync?


Beth K. Vogt’s contemporary romance novel, Wish You Were Here (Howard Books), debuted in May. She’s the Skills Coach for the My Book Therapy writing community and an established nonfiction writer and editor. Join the conversation over at Beth’s blog, In Others’ Words, at bethvogt.com.

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15 Responses to Writing … Interrupted

  1. Good advice about just do the next thing. Then the thing after that. God has it all under control. Blessings and prayers, Beth!

  2. Roxanne Sherwood says:

    This seems to be the story of my life–trying to write even though life is chaotic. Thanks for the reminder to be gentle on myself and to take baby steps as long as I’m making forward motion.

  3. Love No. 1, Beth. Thanks so much.

  4. Edie Melson says:

    Great stuff here! Thanks for sharing, and continued prayers as you recover from the fire.

  5. Michelle Lim says:

    Wonderful thoughts here, Beth! Praying for your family.

  6. Melissa Tagg says:

    Sometimes I think my every day life feels chaotic–but oh my goodness, it’s nothing compared to wildfires, home evacuation and the other biggies people face. I love Susie’s advice to set small goals. And like you said, taking a lesson from your fiction, acknowledging the chaos..and praying your way forward.

  7. Thanks Beth. Those reminders were needed this morning. I’ll be filing today’s post in my “to read on difficult days” folder :)

  8. Lisa Jordan says:

    You have a wise mother and wise mentors. Praying you through this storm!

  9. Beth K. Vogt says:

    Thanks for the encouragement. I’m filing this post under the “Give yourself grace” file — and leaving it out on my desk. :)

  10. Sometimes the writing becomes screams, prayers, songs–but it’s all communication and steps forward toward understanding and being understood.

  11. Loved this post. Thanks for writing it.

  12. Elaine Stock says:

    I have yet to figure out what “normal” is, especially when it comes to my writing. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, quashing down feelings about failure, keep my eye on God… and write when I can and not worry about writing when I can’t. It’s not easy, especially on the pre-published side. That’s why I appreciate any encouragement I can get from published authors, like this piece.

    Write when you can.

    Believe always.

  13. Beth K. Vogt says:

    Appreciate everyone stopping by. And Elaine, I think authors — both pre-published and published — can encourage one another as we travel the writing road and reflect God’s image to the world.

  14. I’ve been trying to write a response for two hours – I keep getting interrupted :0

  15. Patti Mallett says:

    Great advice here, Beth. Thanks. (Now don’t forget to keep following it and continue to be gentle on yourself as you chomp off small bites to chew.) :<)