Write Yourself Out Of The Hole

As most of you know, I’m leaving on a writer’s retreat Friday and will return Wednesday. I nearly canceled after the negotiations Saturday, I can’t get a refund on house or plane ticket, but I could save some other money.

I’ve really spent yesterday and today thinking pretty long and hard about this. Today, someone asked me how Paladin was coming and I responded it was done and I am going into final revisions and beta reading mode.

I realized I really do need this concentrated time to just sit down and stay after this polishing, so I am going on with it.

Yesterday was kind of a strange day.

The personal negotiations are done. That’s good. There were some tense moments and tears.

It’s done except for drawing up the papers.

I should be glad to get it done, and I am, but there is also an emotional train wreck going on. Blood pressure is sky-rocketing. That pounding in my ears is always a sure sign.

So, where do we go from here? For me, nowhere. There isn’t enough on the table to do anything.

On the plus side, I can cut the strings on the sword dangling over my head. Hopefully, it won’t lop off my head when it falls.

I had planned on doing final revisions today, but my brain is elsewhere.

A friend asked if this means any proceeds from my writing will be all mine now. What proceeds you say? Well, 100% of nothing is still nothing, but there is always a chance someday there may be something.

A couple of years ago I was praying about my writing. I was going to give it up completely aside from the magazine. I had given it up for two years and just started back on it, but it was creating problems and it wasn’t worth the battle.

So in the midst of despair and prayer, that still, small voice said, “Write your way out of the hole.”

I’m not saying God leaned down and whispered in my ear, though He may have, He usually has to shout and me and jerk the lead rope up short to get my attention. Whispering is seldom enough to get me to even hear, let alone stop doing something I’m not supposed to be doing or start something I should be doing. However, whenever despair set in, I heard the voice, “Write your way out of the hole.”

I suppose “the hole” could be a variety of things. Finances. Depression. Self preservation. Creativity. At times I could almost see myself in the bottom of a deep pit looking up and seeing a crescent of sunlight on the edge of my hole. Leading up the side was a rope ladder with rungs made of words.

When I’m writing, I get lost in my world. I feel the emotions of my characters. I can almost speak their lines as if I were on a stage, playing their part. I see the world around me. When I go to that other place, there is no room for the other things to crowd in. I have to concentrate or lose the world.

I really thought, “write yourself out of the hole,” meant I should be trying to sell some short stories to both generate some credentials and, possibly, some income. Let’s face it, I think anyone who writes a novel because they need the money is delusional. It might sell someday, but it certainly isn’t anything anyone could depend on.

I think today I learned the truth. When I immersed myself in my other world, I had to stay focused there to see the story. It’s kind of like going through labor and delivery, or at least for me. My survival technique is to find something to focus on and put my mind elsewhere. When I lose the focus, pain and fear set in and the pain gets worse. Then I have to regain my focus and go back to the safe place where pain is manageable.

Today I allowed myself to lose focus and wallowed. Tomorrow it is back to staring at the light at the top of the pit and forging another rung.

Perhaps my little sword-slinging warrior was not only fighting for herself, but me as well.


  1. Julie, I’m glad you’re going on the retreat. I hope it brings you some reflection time and a break from the stressors and pressures you’ve got going on in real-life. Spending time with other writers can be so refreshing and inspiring – here’s hoping you come back rejuvenated and with all sorts of great ideas you can’t wait to try.

  2. Tiffany, thanks. I’m hoping to ship Paladin in April so this is going to be the last revision before submitting.

    Well, if the beta reading gets done anyway.

    I do need to get away.

  3. Julie, I’m very glad you are still going! And just remember that your friends are only a phone call or email away whenever you need to vent.

    This retreat will be good for all of us.

  4. Umn… maybe I should have stopped over to read your latest post before asking for favors and pestering you for pages… I suck.

    Hang in there, Julie. I hope the retreat is spectacular. Have faith – there are good things to come.

  5. Merry, you’re just fine and I’m looking forward to reading it. Reading other work is therapeutic for me. It gets my mind on something else so I can look back at mine with fresher eyes.



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