Thursday, 26 November 2020

What Keeps Us Writing - Part 2

Whether we've just started out or are multi-prize-winning published authors - the writing journey can have ups and downs, twists and turns and often what seem insurmountable obstacles. So, what keeps us writing?

Over a two-part series, each of the CWD admin team will share their insights.

Kirsten Hart

I’m going to be honest with you. I had plans to write a blogpost every week for my website, finish some major edits on my manuscript, complete the first draft of my second novel and a few other non-writing related things this year.

This was all before the global pandemic. To use this as an excuse as to why I haven’t written any blogs on my website since April or why none my major edits have made it into my manuscript yet or why that second novel is still only at 8000 words is pretty sad. I mean, hello! Lockdown! Though, my workplace never closed (yes, it’s a good thing, but opportunity lost on all that reading time) and life just seems way more hectic than usual.

So, not much writing has happened this year for me. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been active in the writing community. I entered the CALEB Award this year, I meet up with the Quirky Quills and we encourage each other in our writing and life’s speed bumps and I have six new story ideas bouncing through my head.

Even though I haven’t actively been writing, I’ve still connected with that passion on some level. While this maybe a year for me to reset and refocus, the writers I surround myself with keep me present. They encourage, they inspire, they teach and they listen. Words are scarce through my fingers this year. Maybe that’s true for some of you too, but the community of writers we have here, is the power God is using to keep us going, keep us on the writing journey.

Stay present.

Jeanette O'Hagan

Since enrolling in post-grad studies in writing in 2011 and my first published short story at the end of 2014, writing has been a major focus. Last year, I wrote at least 50 words, usually more, each and every day. The more I wrote, the easier it was to write --- until this year. This year has been a big black hole of writing for a few reasons.

Up until March, the Omega Writers Book Fair took up much of my writing time, then, Covid. While many writers found the forced isolation a boon, I found the opposite. I think I was still processing emotionally and found it hard to pick up a pen or bash the keyboard for much of April. Then in May, an long-awaited opening for Aged Care placement opened up for my Mum - moving her in the middle of lockdowns, taking over more responsibilities, and then seven months of decluttering and putting her property on the market while still caring for my children and husband took up most of my time and all of my energy. But the inertia went deeper. I've ten unpublished novels in various stages of drafting. I need to edit. But editing, rather than new virgin writing isn't quite as thrilling. Besides, not having new releases - apart from a two part boxed set of my already published five novella series - and not having time to write newsletters, blog posts, social media (because I didn't have the time) meant a dip in sales. Not writing, looking at a long stretch of editing, and only sporadic sales and little positive feedback discouraged me. I doubted my calling to write.

One Sunday morning after church at the end of October, two friends I hadn't seen for a while, asked how my writing going, had I published anything lately. Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face. It was a wake-up call, a time to focus on why I write. Yes, it would be fantastic to have more people reading and loving my books. Yes, it would be wonderful to be able have more (or any) time to focus on writing. Yes, it would be great to get more of my books published. But at the core of why I write is because of the stories inside and of God's call to write. I might have my plans of how to get there, but God often has different plans than me even when He has the same goals (goals he lodged in my heart).

That Sunday, I decided to trust God's paths and timing. And part of that, was - after a fallow season - to make time to write (well, actually to edit) even when life is insane.

Thanks Kirsten. (In Part 1 Mazzy and Sue shared their inspiration to 'keep on writing). We'd love to hear your stories too - in the comments here or on CWD facebook page.


  1. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs with us for this year, Jenny and Kirsten. I think COVID put the spanner in a lot of people's plans this year. But one thing God has been pressing on me is that we're all in different seasons - some may be caring for elderly parents, some may have young children at home, some may be in a busy job, some may have lost jobs etc. The season we're in isn't always the season we want to be in, but God still has things to teach us in those seasons and we need to embrace the season we're in. Certainly easier said than done, as God has had to carry me kicking and screaming through those seasons sometimes.

    Also we can't compare ourselves to others and their output, but just be true to what God has called us to do. Sometimes that might mean we can't write as much as we'd like to, but those ideas can still swirl and their time will come.
    Thanks for all the encouragement you and the others on the admin team have given us this year. This group is a great blessing to many. May God bless you a hundredfold for the many hours you spend encouraging others. Looking forward to reading the wonderful words that sprout forth out of this season.

  2. Thank you to all four ladies for your insight over these last blog posts. I think we can all relate to the intrusion of the pandemic, in some way or other. I, for one, did manage to plough on, not always successfully, but did manage to finish another MS. The problem I found was not that I was prevented from writing, but that my mind was so distracted by all that went on (whether right or wrong) that I struggled to put a decent sentence together for most of it. Ugh! All that editing, I'm with you, Jenny.