Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

The Writing Fight

TODAY’S BREW: Vanilla Francais. Holding the hot cup against my sinus-infected nose.

By Julie

I’ve been quiet–for me. Things have been hard. The kind of hard where you think things are hard and then you listen to other people talk about what’s hard and you say in your head, “Wow. My things are like, beyond hard. They’re kind of–chaotically insane with a side serving of near-doom.”

This is not me complaining about my life. I’m nose down, plowing through to make sure me and my family are as happy as can be. Ironically, this turns me into a wildly detached jerk. It’s also left me so exhausted that inspiration to write this new novel that I’m in love with is pretty null and void.

Does that mean I stop writing? NO, IT DOES NOT.

I know when to take a break, when to loosen up on a deadline. When things are hard, that is not the time. It’s not just that finding the time is difficult right now, it’s that when I do, for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel like writing.

THIS IS THE TIME THAT A WRITER HAS TO WRITE.

When I’m so inside myself and letting no one else see, that’s the time that I need to force it out in the only way that feels right. It may suck sitting down with no idea what’s happening next in the book because my mind has been pulled in a thousand different directions that hour and I didn’t even have a plan before that. It may be difficult to be a “pantser,” with little or no outline when I write, and not be able to think for a total of ten minutes a day about what’s happening next before I make it happen.

But this is the thing I’m best at. And this is the thing that nurtures ME. Even if it’s hard. Hard things make you stronger.

So every day, I put myself to the test in the world of “pantsing a novel.” I know the big picture of this book I’m writing, THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS. I’ve always loved surprising myself when I sit down to write, not knowing exactly what’s coming next, but having a pretty good idea of it. The way my life works right now, I have to think on the fly about this plot more than I ever have had to before. More fun yet, this is probably the most complicated world I’ve ever built, and so it requires a great deal of precision and being present, to drag you into the world and not let you out. That’s a lot to ask when you’re leading my life right now.

You know what? Asking a lot of myself FOR myself is okay. Everyone else asks a lot of me. I need to give myself the same attention. Sitting down to write a novel isn’t necessarily as relaxing as curling up and watching a movie, or even going to the gym, or going shopping, but after I push myself to do this little bit more, I know that in the run of giving as much as I do, I haven’t lost myself.

I think part of the reason I introvert the way I do when things are demanding all around me is that I need to feel as close to myself as possible so I don’t get lost in all the DOING that I do. And right now, my world isn’t just about how much I have to get done–it’s about avoiding landmines, nurturing some and giving tough love to others, battling every minute for the tiny little world of my family. I’m a leader, always have been, and when a challenge is presented to me that’s as enormous as what I face now, I pull up my boot straps and I fight.

Part of my fight is not having “down time” or time to relax, but making sure that I write this book because it’s what my heart needs. My heart needs it most when it doesn’t want it. When the words aren’t screaming to be written, that’s when I need to get them out the most. Just like me, if I don’t push them out, they’ll be lost.

Writing for a writer isn’t just a privilege or a release–it’s a fight. It’s a fight every day. I’m not talking about publishing, and reviews, and all the stuff you have to DO. Fighting to be true to yourself, to give it all you can and when you think you don’t have anymore, giving more. A fight to just START. And every day I’ll start because this is my fight and I won’t lose it.

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3 thoughts on “The Writing Fight

  1. Writing helps keep the dots connected for me, more often than I’d like to admit. Fight on Julie!

  2. I struggle with this so much – when I’m stressed and having a hard time, all I want to do is curl up with wine and Netflix. If even that. But you’re right. This is the time you need to write. I did my first NaNoWriMo when my husband was on bed rest after surgery, and I had holidays to prep for, and a sinus infection, and so many other things – and I did it. Pantsed the whole thing. And it’s probably the most imaginative piece I’ve ever written. Writing during that time was the only thing I did for ME and ONLY me, and it was so hard, yet so rewarding at the same time. And so surprising to see what came out of my brain while under so much pressure. Good luck, and huge hugs to you. You can do it.

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