Friday, 8 April 2016

When writing becomes a slog, don't quit, do it.

by Nicki Edwards

Sweet Romance Author



Have you ever gotten to the place where you feel like you want to quit? That if you have to walk. one. more. step you'll collapse? When going further just seems too hard? Like too much of an effort?

I'm talking about all the things we tend to quit. Weight loss programs. Healthy eating. Jobs. Relationships. 

Writing that book.

Each one of us has a different area in our lives when we feel like calling it quits.

Right now, I feel like quitting writing.

I'm working on my sixth book (Critical Condition) and it's been a hard slog from the very get go.

I don't know why. I love the characters, I love the setting, I love the story line.

But each word has been an effort.

I'm not generally a quitter by nature, so I know I won't quit, (and I can't quit because I have a deadline and I'm contracted to finish this book by September), but I can assure you it's been tempting to throw in the towel and walk away from it without a backward glance.

Why?

Writing is hard work. Much harder than I first expected. The first book was hard. The second twice as hard. I thought each one after that would be easier to write, but they haven't. That's because I've pushed myself to get better and better as a writer. And that takes work. And work brings pressure.

Writing is time consuming. I'm not talking just about the actual process of words on paper. There's marketing, editing, blogs to write, books to mail out, launches to attend, social media to be social on...the list is never ending. The pressure daunting.

Writing is my hobby. A hobby I need to fit around my husband, four kids, dog and neurotic cat. Oh, and my full time career as an Intensive Care nurse. Then there's my commitments at church, my ongoing weight loss journey (currently stalled), my family, friends and time for me. Sometimes that means my hobby ends up being pushed to the bottom of the priority pathway and there's nothing I can do about it but that doesn't mean the pressure isn't there.

And when all the pressures build up, it's easy to take the easy way out and quit. After all, if I never wrote another word, would anyone know? Or care?

The more I have struggled with wanting to quit writing this book, the more I have pressed in and forced myself to put words on the page. The other day someone made a comment on Facebook that when they're writing and the words dry up, they even count the words in an email in the daily word count! These past few weeks I've even counted the words in text messages!

I was reading a book the other day about the habits of people who don't quit and I was reminded of the verse in Hebrews. Most Christians will know it and will have quoted it numerous times during their journey, but have you ever read it in the Message translation?

It says this:

"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"

Now I understand that this verse is talking about not quitting our spiritual walk with Christ, and I don't intend to take scripture out of context, but I think there are some nuggets in this passage worth exploring when you're tempted to quit.

1. People are cheering you on. By that I mean other authors - the pioneers, the veterans - they're out there telling you that you can do it. You can keep writing. You don't need to quit. One more word, two more words, keep writing until your book is done. If you feel like quitting, find your cheerleaders and ask them to get those pom poms out.

2. Strip down, start running and never quit. Sometimes you have to take off the negativity before you can run again. Negative reviews, negative people who tell you it can't be done - all these things weigh you down and prevent you from running. When you stop running, you come to a standstill and that's when you quit. If you feel like quitting, and you can't take another step, ask someone to run alongside you until you get your mojo again.

3. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Why are you writing in the first place? Because you want to or because He wants you to? If you feel like quitting, take it to Him. Lay it at His feet. Ask Him to reveal His plan and purpose for your writing.

4. Never lose sight of where you are headed. Are you writing for the Christian market? The general market? Fiction? Non-fiction? Know your market and keep that goal in front of you. If you feel like quitting, ask someone to be honest with you about your writing - perhaps someone else will have the insight you need when you're not sure if you're going in the right (or write, pardon the pun) direction.

5. When you find yourself flagging in the spirit, go over the reasons why you're doing what you're doing in the first place. Are your priorities right? Your motivations right? If you feel like quitting, call your cheerleaders again and ask them to pray for you and support you. Where two or three are gathered....great things can happen.

This verse was the shot of adrenaline that I needed to keep writing and I hope it encourages you too.

I'm now at the 70,000 word mark and the end of Critical Condition is so close I can (almost) taste it. Which is just as well because the blurb is written, the cover art is done and it's already available to pre-order. Yikes!

Anyway, before you quit, go back to your faith, back to what God breathed in your spirit, back to your dreams, back to your goals. Then start running and don't stop. Don't quit. Do it.

Good luck!

If you'd like to cheer me on, please let me know if this post has encouraged you. And if you really want to get those pom poms out, please consider pre-ordering my next new release, The Peppercorn Project coming May 31st, 2016. 

Best selling Australian author Fiona Palmer writes: "Edwards captures small town spirit and heartbreak-to-hope with crafted ease."
  


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About Nicki: 

Nicki Edwards is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on a small family acreage, she spent her formative years riding horses and pretending the neighbour’s farm was her own. After spending three years in a regional city in New South Wales, her love of small country towns was further developed. One day she plans to escape to the country with her husband Tim and live on land surrounded by horses, dogs, cows and sheep. Until then she lives vicariously through the lives of the characters in the rural romance novels she loves to read.
In 2006, when Nicki’s youngest child started school, she returned to university, juggling full time study, part time work and raising four small children, to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. Always a voracious reader, Nicki’s other dream was to be an author.
Nicki writes medical rural romance for Momentum and when she isn’t reading, writing or dreaming about rural life and medical emergencies, she can be found working as a Critical Care Nurse in a busy Intensive Care Unit, where many of her stories and characters are imagined.

Nicki and Tim reside in Geelong, Victoria with their four teenage/young adult children. Life is busy, fun and at times exhausting, but Nicki wouldn’t change it for anything.
Her books are available to purchase online wherever e-books are sold. Paperbacks can be ordered directly from her. For more information, please visit her website. www.nickiedwards.com.au.



16 comments:

  1. Thank you Nicki. A great encouragement to me and I'm sure many others. I look forward to reading your book.

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    1. Thanks Carol. I'm so glad you're encouraged x

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  2. Wow--you're almost there with that sixth book, Nicki! Well done to you--I'm in awe of all you manage to fit into your life. Thanks for all the great encouragement for us all too. And I especially love that Hebrews verse as translated in The Message.

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    1. Yes Jo-Anne I'm almost there. Don't be in awe because plenty of "life" doesn't fit in but leaks out!
      I love The Message translation sometimes and this verse is great isn't it?
      Bless you.

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  3. Stirring post, Nicki. Thanks so much for the inspiration. That's a great verse in hebrews to keep us motivated. Keep our eyes on Jesus. Yes, yes.

    Golly gosh you've sure done a great job with your hobby - 6 books and counting. Congratulations. May the Lord continue to guide and pour out His favour upon you and your writing.

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    1. Thanks Ian. I find it staggering how often I need to remind myself to keep my eyes on Him. He is the only prize.

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  4. Excellent reminder, Nicki.

    I had a message the other day from someone wanting tips on how to get back into writing after a break. It was great to be able to forward her this post (and Elaine's, from earlier in the week) as two examples.

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    1. Thanks Iola. I hope this post is a blessing to that person.
      x

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  5. Please keep going, I've only just found your books! Love them. (Doing a Pom, Pom cheer for you ) God Bless

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    1. Bless YOU! So glad you're enjoying my stories. I know a lot of Christians have hesitated reading them because they're not from a Christian viewpoint, but like you, many have been pleasantly surprised by the content. I see those pom poms and I'll keep going. I hope you love The Peppercorn Project. It's my favourite book so far. Bless you too and thanks for taking the time to comment. x

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  6. You're such an encouragement! Got out the pom poms for you, that's for sure. Love that scripture xo

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    1. You and Narelle are amongst my biggest cheerleaders and I'm so glad I get to do life you you. x

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  7. Nicki, I hear you! I've found each book I've written is hard in it's own unique way. And, 'life happening' at inconvenient times can create the deadline stress that the best planning in the world can't avert. Hang in there, and I look forward to reading more of your books :)

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  8. Thanks so much Narelle. "Life" does get in the way sometimes doesn't it. I'll definitely hang in. x

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