Writing “Dilemma”

Image result for writer's muse good

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been experiencing a rare writing dilemma.

It’s a good dilemma, but a tricky one.

Image result for writer's muse goodMy muse has kicked back in, with a vengeance.  It is both exciting, and a little bit scary at the same time.  Scary because sometimes I feel I have no control over it. It just sort of grabs me by the hand and whisks me off at break-neck speed.

Deep breath here.

So, quick update from A Submitted Wife.

Hubby has had his nose in about 3 to 4 different Christian books on marriage.  He’s been in study mode.  He has invited me to join him.  I’ve been in study mode in the past, and sort of felt burned by it.  Lots of investment, and little return over the long run.  Lots of good knowledge, but poor follow through.  Hope, followed by disappointment.

Le sigh.

But, I will try again.  I love him.  We are worth fighting for.  Defeat is not an option.  We have re-instituted weekly talk times, right now centered around the book/study Love and Respect.  I’m finding this to be an annoyingly incipient book.  The so-called Pastor who wrote it and leads retreats on it has exactly the correct idea and “formula,” for arresting what he calls the “Crazy Cycle” between spouses… but he really lost me with anecdotes about forgetting his wife’s birthday, and leaving his wet towels on the bed/floor even after knowing this is something that annoys her (and which every normal-functioning  human being can remedy quite easily), and then suggesting she still can respect him. Perhaps that’s his goal, to prove that it could be worse, Virginia.  But we decided to muddle through the accompanying workbooks, since we bought them after all; and just use them as a general guide for our weekly talks.  I don’t mean to denigrate this book right out of chapter one, and maybe my views will change.  I’ll let you know.

Hubby has completed three books in full (have I mentioned he’s a rabid bibliophile?).  He really has good things to say about The Meaning of Marriage (Keller) which I’ll read next.  So the news on the marriage/relationship front is that we are committed to trying and I am really working on not protecting my heart for fear of disappointment.


Now, on to my “writing dilemma.”  I attempt to keep up with 3 different blogs: one on travel, another on education, and this one.  This one gets most of my attention; God seems to have placed in my heart to relate the good, bad, ugly, and beautiful of imperfect marriage, and share a hopeful story.   I’ve been long overdue on writing up posts for the travel blog; there is a ton of raw material ready to be crafted into posts, and I’ve managed to churn out two in the past couple of weeks.  Education blog gets the least attention, but as it does occasionally bring me clients, I need to tend to that one more.

Then there’s my novels.  Did you know I’m a “published author?” Over more than three decades I have worked on an epic novel, which I eventually broke into a 5-book series, and e-published on Kindle.  It was hard to let go of this baby, it sort of grew up with me. Editing and revising and polishing were my real bugaboos. In the end though,  I think it’s pretty good, no, REALLY good, but I’m lost on the marketing side to this process (I know, I need an agent).  It’s had a handful of readers, but I know it’s not everyone’s genre.  It’s even hard to describe the genre: a “Fifty Shades with a brain,” meets “search for traditional Christian marriage, with romance Image result for writer's museand pinches of international intrigue laced in.”  LOL, it’s a novel that wanted to be everything, but in the end, if you get to Book 5, there is a redemption story.  If you read FSOG, I promise my books are far superior; if you hated FSOG “because that kind of stuff is sick” or you have moral issues with explicit writing about non-vanilla love, I’m not your author. I published under a pen name because I’m not sure I want the world that knows me, to know I wrote what some might think of as “smut” (but let me know if you’d be interested; I can private email you links, the books are ridiculously cheap, and it’d be a good beach read).

I knew I had to cut the apron strings on that first novel series (Book Five just was uploaded about two months ago), before I could begin writing something new.  I’d have ideas, I’d jot them into my iPhone notes.  But nothing new was seriously motivating me.

Then a week ago I started to develop a character.  My writing process is pretty bad for someone who is an educator and has taught the “proper” writing process of outlines, characters, story arch, etc.  I claim I’m the “Hemingway brand” of writer, where “the story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it”  (please note that I in no way compare myself to the great Hemingway).  Sometimes I’m just excited to find out where this story will go,  where it will take me, as my readers may one day be. I balk at coming up with instant and formulaic endings, and really tight structure.  Sometimes I have to immerse myself into my characters and my story before I can decide how it might end.

Image result for writer's museThis new story has taken hold of me and taken over my life.  I eat, drink, breath this story.  There’s rarely a time when it’s not on my mind.  I wake up with it and fall asleep with it (if I can fall asleep– there have been many a past-midnight session in the past week).  I can’t clear my head in yoga because the story won’t leave my mind.  I’m having to constantly write notes when I’m not in reach of my keyboard.  In a little less than a week’s time, I’ve written 41 pages of manuscript; copy and pasted countless pages of research; I’ve created a pretty comprehensive outline, and notes, something quite unlike me.  There is actually a direction for this writing, but it’s like drinking at a fire hose right now because I can’t keep up with it.  It’s a living, breathing thing that’s taken up residence inside me.

A thrilling and daunting feeling, all at once.  The control this has over me is at times frightening.

I’ve explained it to my husband, and I’ve asked for forgiveness in advance.  I’ve told him that I do not mean to ignore him, but I’ve just got to ride this muse while it’s here.  He’s been very understanding.  But I know pretty soon I will need to come up with a writing schedule.

Related imageI’m also about to take off on a fabulous girls’ weekend, where there will be EIGHT of us hanging out at a beach house for 4 lovely days.  En route, I get to have two lovely days with one of the besties.  These gatherings are just amazing, and I love them.  To miss one is agony. To not be “present” is inconceivable.

But now I feel like, “how can I put my writing on hold for nearly six full days??”  There’s no way to take it with me, I couldn’t possibly face a choice between the call of my muse, and my life-long friends.

The dilemma of writing.  Dry periods, periods when it feels forced and fake; periods whenImage result for writer's muse good it feels authentic and true (“all you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence that you know.”  Another Hemingway truism.)

So, I’m excited.

That is all.

The book is calling me.



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3 Responses to Writing “Dilemma”

  1. cynthia says:

    Yep, you got me with Love and Respect. In my opinion, it is a pat Christian answer. I do believe it may be helpful for improving an already relatively healthy or good marriage with regular struggles and conflicts. However, I don’t think it provides what a broken marriage needs for restoration.

    Love can be unconditional. It is possible to love someone regardless of their sin, flaws, failures. Respect is not, and I don’t think it can be or should be. When trust has been broken and betrayal occurred in whatever form, the respect needs to be earned back just as trust does. I can love my husband regardless of his words and behaviour, but until his heart and actions align with his responsibilities as a man and husband, giving him unconditional respect condones his harmful behaviour and enables him to avoid meaningful change which will undoubtedly be a barrier to having a healthy marriage and individuals within it.

    I also think love and respect go hand in hand for both men and women. I am not going to feel particularly loved myself if my husband does not also respect me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting comment. I was struggling to express the same to hubby in our discussion… respect is much harder to be “unconditional” about, but I just couldn’t put my finger on that. There are some real blurs in that idea, bottom line being men WANT respect most, women WANT love most. I sort of get that. Disrespect, and lack of forgiveness never gets you anywhere. But we talked about being fake too; sometimes you just can’t respect a certain behavior because it’s wrong, or it’s not loving. I think no one can argue that love and respect work hand in hand. But rampant disrespect, or scorn, is really poison to a relationship. Thanks for sharing!


      • cynthia says:

        That is great that you have been able to discuss and communicate all of that with your husband and have been trying to figure the love and respect thing out and how it may or may not work on both sides for each of you. There is positive stuff to consider and learn from it. Sometimes we just have to sift through the information. Basically for me, I can love my husband but not like his behaviour, but it is difficult to respect him when I don’t like his behaviour. Thankfully his behaviour is becoming more likeable daily and we are breaking out of the cycle. I pray the same for you.


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