Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Is your writing keeping you awake?

588 posts. Five years of blogging this July 6th. So why did I wake up at 4am this morning wondering why I can no longer think of anything to post?

That's when I decided to write what my tag line says--a story from my heart.

Over the past few years, I've written novel after novel. Even started number six and each day the story haunts me begging to be written. But there is a problem.

Here's my promo line for it: Four Women. Four Hearts. Four Separate Dreams. Winner Takes All.

What that means to me is I need to write in four separate POV. Not something I've tried before but I believe it is the best way to bring the story to life.

But I'm not there yet.

When I think back to my 588 posts, I wonder how I've written so many without falling apart on the pages. Many of you know, a year after I started blogging, my world crashed. Since then, it's been like a silent movie where I am slowing bleeding to death, screaming out and no one hears.

Welcome to our life.

The problem for me comes in how to share encouraging posts about what God is doing in my life without letting my down days influence my tone. I have not been always successful and unfortunately, I see that the biggest problem with my writing is that my problems in life carry over into my work--too many bad things happen to my characters!

So I'm stuck right now--wanting to write uplifting posts but worrying that my life will taint them.
Let me say this though, God has been faithful to my husband and I through this all. My prayer is that I will be able to show that side of my story and not the down sides.

Same in my books.

Are the events in your life overrunning your writing? Have you considered where most of your ideas come from?


Heather Sunseri said...

Sometimes, Terri, I think we almost have to feed off the emotion in our lives and let it flow into our writing. In my dark moments, which I've had a few lately, I'm tried to let the emotion of it all take me deeper into my characters. I find it a relaxing outlet to transform that emotion into my characters.

Blog posts, though, are a little trickier. Hang in there, girl!

Jessica Nelson said...

Bad things are supposed to happen to your characters! If I were you, I'd let loose and let your heart bleed out into your new story. I love your premise and can't wait to read the story! :-)

Jessica R. Patch said...

I would say that many emotions from dark experiences in my life seep into the pages of my characters' lives. I think it adds depth to them. Readers can relate to those emotions. And I agree with Jessica, bad things should happen to our characters. Keep plugging away and trusting! :)

Lynn said...

Some seasons we would rather not endure but I love how you say God has been with you the entire time. That inspires and uplifts me! And I really like the premise of your book too!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Are the events in your life overrunning your writing? Have you considered where most of your ideas come from?

Two very good questions...first I think we all write about what we know, whether it be emotional,factual or a combination of the two. I think it's only natural that our circumstances flavor our thoughts and what motivates us to put words on the page, or in my case post to my blog. The good, the bad and the ugly. It makes for a good relationship to be authentic, in person or on the page.

I just love how you are always thinking about your writing and how to make it happen and how to improve you skills.


sarah said...

I'm reading Blackstock's, Evidence of Mercy and loving it. She uses different POV's and's a great read and holds me more than her other books where she used just one.
About your writing....your heart always speaks..Something I'm learning....He's got our back..even when it doesn't feel it. Stay strong out there....Your voice means so much. ☺☺☺

Teresa aka Journaling Woman said...

It's so hard to keep positive when times (years) are tough. So hard. But, your faith and creativity WILL push you through. Notice I didn't say you want to willingly go. It's not our strength but His

I see your "bleeding" adding color to your writing. Keep it going.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I agree with above comments. You can use these times to authenticate your work. Also, no one needs you to be uplifting, but we ARE rooting for you to be a fighter.

To hang in.
~ Wendy

Lin Floyd said...

the universal story-opposition, efforts, faith, discouragement, overcoming and growth. we hear you...

Diane said...

Most ideas do come from my real life and the things I see. Sorry for those sleepless nights! Hugs :O)

Karen Lange said...

Congrats on five years of blogging! That is a great milestone, and something to celebrate. :)

I think that what's happening in our lives often carries over to our writing. I also believe that continuing to learn the craft, feedback from writer friends, reading, and praying all help us find a balance. This is not to say I've arrived; I wonder if we ever do. But I think we can round off the edges with God's help as we move forward.

For the record, I enjoy your blog and have gained much from it. Only you can say what you have to offer. Hang in there!

Hugs and blessings,

Jan Cline said...

Congrats on such a long blog history! I posted today starting with a discouraging tone, but ended up with a positive note. I think you do that regularly. No point in putting on a mask when we post. We all share the same issues.

Loree Huebner said...

I'm sorry, Terri. I didn't know anything about your world literally crashing after you started your blog five years ago. I'm still pretty new to your blog...I knew something was going on, but I don't like to pry. I do what I can and I keep you in my prayers.

I agree with some of the comments left above. These dark times in our lives do slide onto the pages we are writing. I think we can use these times to write some of our best work. I know I a sense they are reflections of our own experiences.

Feel the moment, then might surprise you.


Jill said...

Oh, yeah. And the time travel and dragons in my books actually really do relate to my life, since I've experienced spiritual manifestations that most people don't want to know about.

And Terri, I haven't been following your blog that long, so I don't know why your life fell apart, but I do know that God will and has picked up the pieces. You are an encouraging blogger.

Keli Gwyn said...

I appreciate real people, Terri, who have good days and bad, joyful times and sad. I can relate to them more easily than I can those who always have a painted-on smile on their face even though I know they're battling tough stuff. I have a hunch the challenges you've faced with such grace will enable you to write stories that resonate with readers because your characters will be real people who capture their hearts--just as you have mine, my friend.

Melissa Marsh said...

When my life is falling apart, I turn to my writing for escape. I don't think I channel whatever is going on in my life to my mansucript, but maybe I'm doing it subsconsiously...

Mel :) said...

After daily journaling pretty much since I've been 10, I went through a terrible divorce almost two years ago. I always thought it was therapeutic to write to tried to continue, but after reading one of my particularly depressing journal entries, I realized someday I would be ashamed of what I was writing, and stopped. I stopped journaling for a year, and just got back into it last summer.
Our lives definitely overflow into our writing, which can provide some great writing fodder, but it is a double-edged sword.

Stacy Henrie said...

I think your posts are quite uplifting - you're honest but I always feel like you're hopeful too. The book idea sounds fun! Good luck writing the four POVs - you can do it!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Oh man, I totally get this, Terri. That's why I ended up taking a blogging and writing break during my sister's heart transplant journey. It was just too hard to minister to others when I was barely hanging on myself. Now that I'm stepping out of that period of my life, I'm able to reflect back on it and see how God worked. But at the time, it just wasn't happening.

I hope the clouds clear and sun comes out for you soon!

Kenda said...

I agree with all that's been said--just want to drop in and say thanks for sharing. In many ways you speak of what a lot of us wonder about: how can we use the tough times for something good? Sometimes we just have to rest in them, not try too hard, and wait until the picture (and story) clears. And trust that it will :-) Take care. Keep writing!

Rhonda Schrock said...

As you know, I don't write fiction. I do, however, write from the place I'm at. There's much I keep to myself, perhaps, but not always, sharing it with a select few people I trust. But when I write from what I know, even when that involves suffering, frustration, irritation, worry, or whatever, I find that it resonates with others. They identify because they've lived those things, too. I try to always balance it with a message of hope. There are days and weeks when I just feel - quiet, and that's okay. There's a season for everything. Maybe that's why I love the Psalms so much. It has every single emotion of the human experience, making it powerful. Know that I think of you and say a prayer as you come to my mind.

Waving and smiling,


Nehha said...

They're running all over my life! And it's not a comforting feeling:( Came back here after a few weeks and I am amazed at how your blogs always manage to catch my attention, I am sure I missed a lot..

Cheryl Klarich said...

Terri, prayers are with you. We're all rooting for you.
I like your story idea too!
We love you.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

A long time ago someone told me to write the scenes that most fit my mood at the time. Perhaps this is the time to write the rough scenes and a corner will come when the rejuvenating scenes will beg to be written.

Lifting you in prayer, Terri!

Tamika: said...

All of my ideas originate from some hurt of circumstance played out in the lives of people I know. Some even contain snippets of my own tragedies.

I want to get the glory from it all, because He truly does cause all things to work together for the good of them that love him and are called according to his purpose!

Lynda R Young said...

Life has a powerful way of reflecting in our work. Sometimes it's unavoidable. Sometimes we just have to pour out our souls.

Diane J. said...

Well, if I take that literally, I printed out some of my story and my kids literally ran over my papers. So yes, events tend to trample my writings...literally and figuratively.

Sending prayers and (((hugs))) your way. You are an inspiration to me and many others.

Retired English Teacher said...

I struggle a great deal over what to share in my life. I understand what you are saying. I've spent the last year trying to heal after my daughter's death. My blog reflects some of my journey, but only the tip of the iceberg.

Life is real. We live in a fallen world. I think those of us who have had a true trial of faith must write with authenticity. God has us where He has us for a reason.
Yes, I guess the event of life do overrun into my writing. Writing is how I deal with life.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Terri - Thanks for being so honest. It's refreshing, in a world where too many people aren't.

Recently, I heard a wonderful speaker talk about his battle with his ten-year-old son's serious illness. At a certain point, his son started asking "Why?" about the pain and the affliction. The speaker had his son start praying some of the darkest Psalms with him, to allow him to let out his pain and his cry to God.

Honesty is all over our faith, right there in the Psalms. Yours is a help to everyone else who needs to know that others keep going, even when it is really tough.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Love your premise about the new work (four women). It sounds great. Everything you have undergone will definitely translate into great fiction. It will subtly creep in without you worrying about it.

Fairchild Farmgirl said...

What a great question Terri. I just started blogging and love it. I think my blog is different from most because I write about everyday life...on a farm. My goal is to write about stuff that happens as a farmer. Like selling cows to a packer, etc. Rodents...whatever happens. It's funny stuff. I get stopped in the grocery store and people tell me that it's a hoot. I'm loving writing it. So in my case life and writing mesh perfectly.

Deb Shucka said...

I struggle with the very same thing, and in fact have set my memoir aside for a time until I can get myself in a better place. I know from experience that I can't make a piece of writing hopeful if I haven't first been honest about the pain and suffering underneath. I believe all of my ideas come straight from God, one way or the other. I'm guessing yours do, too. Maybe you need to trust your readers more?

Jolene Perry said...

The whole writing thing is supposed to be fun, so I never write in order and I write what I want, when I want. This keeps the pressure low, and me happy :D

Helen Ginger said...

You've kept blogging through all the bad - and that's good. Hopefully, it's good for you in a therapeutic way.

I can't really say where my ideas come from except from inside my head.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Congratulations on five years; that's quite an accomplishment, Terri! I started blogging three years ago and have 475 posts up. I had no idea what I was going to say when I first started, except I would be sharing my thoughts on writing and life in general. Often I write random thoughts, whether I think others will be interested or not, but readers have always been supportive and encouraging, so I continue.

I've been following your posts since we met in the blogosphere some time ago and I always appreciate your honesty and authenticity. Please don't think that nobody hears your anguish. I know it seems like that at times, but people *do* care; they just don't know how to help.

There's no reason to think all your posts have to be cheerful and uplifting; truth is what touches people the most. And you don't have to write every day, or feel guilty when you set work aside. People advocate regular writing and persistence, but each of us is unique and has to approach our writing from the perspective of our life's reality. Hang in there and continue to pray for God's enlightenment. Don't pressure yourself. Rest in Him, and keep writing, even if it's only in a journal just for yourself. Talk, blog, email, journal -- it doesn't matter as long as you let the words out.

Patti said...

I've read through the comments and you've gotten some great advice. The best thing is to channel that emotion and put it into your writing. Sometimes I think I do my best writing when my life is hard.

KelliGirl said...

After 588 posts you've certainly established a following here and are obviously doing a lot of things right! You're real. You're encouraging. You're focused on the Lord. And you're a great writer.

I encourage you to keep praying for guidance and keep on keeping on with your writing. I admire you and am inspired by you!!

Blessings, my friend,

Nancy said...

I think you are very upbeat. I enjoy hearing about the things that bother you because we all have our "things." I'm glad you are taking on such a big project with your novel. I love to hear how you keep working and getting better. That's how winners are born.

Susan said...

Hi Terri...
I think God lets us go through time (years?) of desolation in order to teach us something----mainly, to trust Him, to depend on Him, to seek Him, to believe He will carry us through the muck. He always, always does.

It's hard to keep eyes on the Rock when our world is falling in. But that's when we need to keep eyes on the Rock the MOST.

Terri, you are talented, sweet, loving, kind, generous, and a good person. Do you see your strengths or your weaknesses? Most of see our weaknesses. But I see your strengths, and there are many.

You are, perhaps, almost done passing the tests. When that time is over, oh JOY! "Joy cometh in the morning." You will see how blessed your life has become.

Take care, dear Terri. Please keep blogging---in good times and bad. You have a powerful message to give to the world. Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Terri, I think we all love your blog because you don't hide behind a mask. We pray for you and cheer you on in this race called, "life."

I know my writing is affected by what's happening in my life. One of my pieces got rejected because it was too sad - and the topic was grief!


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Write truth, sister. Write from where you are. No masks; not what you think your readers want to hear. Just the truth.

And then, sometimes not at all; I've learned that some things are better left unwritten. Pray for that kind of writing discernment, sister.

Love you so very much.


Sassy Granny ... said...

My writing doesn't keep me awake; it puts me to sleep!

Paul Greci said...

I think the events of my life influence my writing on my blog, in my books, in letters.

Your quote caught my eye: "I see that the biggest problem with my writing is that my problems in life carry over into my work--too many bad things happen to my characters!"

Can you turn this problem into a strength? It seems like the bad things happening to your characters will cause you to dig deeper into their emotional lives.

Just a thought, Terri. Thanks for a thought provoking post!