June 15, 2024

Dancing With the Voices

My writing, in many ways, is a Pandora’s Box. A padlocked time capsule, if you will, brim-full of temptation, obsession, and magic. A time capsule, because I’ve often argued with God, wondering why He’s gifted me with this burden now rather than fifteen years from now. By then, it surely would be a more convenient discovery, a more rewarding and less-guilt inducing one. Why now, as a busy wife and mother? Is it a test? To see if I’ll stay the course of wife and motherhood that to me, has always been the ultimate career choice?


I’ve struggled with this since May. My inner conflict rivals that of my novel’s heroine, yet would bore most readers to death. God’s given me a need to express myself by way of the written word, and for three months I expressed, bobbing and bubbling, swept away by one of the strongest currents of my life. The current of writing contemporary women’s fiction.


Last December, I gave into the impulse and the simmering story within became a 120,000 word novel. Five weeks of the most exciting chair-time I’m ever likely to have and I couldn’t stop! Another five weeks later, I had yet another 120,000 word novel—a sequel to the first. And during that same time period, I’d braked in the middle of novel #2 and got 5 chapters into the last of the series. Three books, three months swallowed by the madness.


It scared me into unplugging my creativity. My writing had become an addiction. Deep down, I realized I didn’t have the balance to support the pull of writing with the pull of the most important people of my life—my family. During it all, my husband couldn’t have been more supportive. He even got excited with me, helping me with the logistics of writing an apartment fire, drawing diagrams and brainstorming scenarios. And in this recent time of silence, I’ve almost felt his disappointment. He wants my dreams to come true, even more than I do.


Yet five months passed and here I am. A month ago, I started praying for wisdom. Praying for some critique partners. There’s nothing like knowing Someone is out there keeping you accountable. I started letting myself think about my book again. A few days ago, I happened upon two ladies who write such similar stuff to mine, who seem to have so much in common with me, and who want to form a critique group with me. And I’m feeling that familiar rush again.


Writing has added in so many ways to the prisms of my existence. It confirmed my belief that one is never too old to learn new things. I suddenly want to scale cliffs, hike mountains, and soar down a zip line. I not only want to see new places, I feel sure I will someday. A life of wishful thinking, of putting off dreams, has become a life not to be wasted. I’ve learned so much in researching for my storylines. The best part…I’ll never learn it all.


So today, I popped in the CD of Christian music that drove me as I wrote my first novel. It transported me to a hay loft, soft with white Christmas lights…sweetened with past heartache and present joy. The first scene of my book that really flowed as I discovered my voice.


I smell the snow-wet barn wood, and I know that the time is right. I can go back. I can get it right. Praise God.

For more of the very first ever Carnival of Christian Writers please visit Writer…Interrupted for the whole line-up…

14 thoughts on “Dancing With the Voices

  1. Wow, Mary, sounds like God has got hold of you! My only comment…whatever you do, do for His glory and don’t neglect those 3 little girls! You’re writing a book in their lives too! Even Paul talked about writing truth on the tables of those hearts who read his words. As you apply God’s Word to the lives within your 4 walls, God is doing the same. You are blessed! DEB

  2. Great advice, and that’s exactly why I needed the break from writing…to regain my vision for my family. Believe me, I’m tiptoe-ing back into this adventure…and I have learned that I can live without it and still be content. That’s a valuable lesson I forgot to mention in my above post.

    Thanks for the “worthy of framing” post. Being a wife and mother is my greatest calling.

  3. I, too, can get carried away while writing. I have often neglected my housework or the kids so that I could just “finish this idea.” I really have to discipline myself in everything so that I don’t get carried away.

  4. Great post!

    I pop in certain CD’s to get me going. Y’know what’s odd though, is that I remember as a teenager listening to music and writing all the time. Then soemthing happened and my creativity went away and I could no longer listen AND do anything, let alone write. Just a few years ago, I was still largely uncreative and unattentive.

    Now, something has changed and I can put on the music again and go. Right now, Jeremy Camp (any of it) puts me there. I have some scenes in my work-in-progress that deal with an old man from the Ozarks/Bluegrass area and I put in some old banjo picking gospel twangy CD’s and I’m transported. He’s also kind of a Blues guy so I listen to that a lot, too.

    5 weeks and 120,000 words and 5 weeks later another 120,000 words. OH.MY.GOSH!!!! You rock!

  5. Yes, you’re right, you were obsessed! I did feel that way when I first started rekindling the desire to write (specifically through the blog), but we’re talking 5 – 7 800 word blog posts, NOT the hundreds of thousands you did in a few months’ time.

    And yes, I totally identify with the challenge to see if I will stay true to my first calling–that of following God and being a SAHM.

  6. Thanks all, for commenting, glad I’m not alone in trying to juggle this balancing act! :O) (You all should go by Leslie’s blog and see her fridge pictures…btw, she tagged me, does anyone have a nice fridge pic I can “borrow”?)

    Michelle, I so wish you’d change your password protection! You have such a great blog but it won’t let me comment! :O( Ever think of moving to Word Press???) I’m sure my creativity soars when the right music is playing, btdt! Jeremy Camp is the one that inspired my series title! I love his song Walk By Faith. And for the record, it rocked (the time spent writing those thousands) but the cost was too high. I’m so ready to have the best of both worlds…

    Jennifer, most of my writing was done at night or really early in the morning…then I’d do more during the kids naptime…but even when I wasn’t writing, my brain was all about the book. Even at church. It just wouldn’t stop. I’m all for experiencing life with writer’s eyes (it’s so multi-dimensional) but think I learned a good lesson on selfishness. We all have to put our families above our writing, or whatever career we may be pursuing. And what really woke me up to the fact that my writing was becoming out of hand was the fact that I really wanted to put my children in public school vs continuing to homeschool. So I could write. And that went against what dh and I really have always felt God wanted us to do…homeschool. It’s pretty scary how Satan can discourage you (in my case, that I wasn’t doing a good enough job teaching) and steal your vision.

    Anyway, more than you all probably wanted to know!

  7. Oh my! You have fast fingers girl! 120,000 in 5 weeks?! I am more than impressed. Can you send some of whatever you got my way? And I hope you start your book again soon:)

  8. Well, my thing is not necessarily writing, but I have experienced the same kind of conflict in other areas. Your husband’s response is, in my opinion, a major confirmation that you are going God’s direction for you.


  9. Thanks, Rebecca. My dh is amazing. He should have disconnected the internet, but instead pulled a chair up beside me and listened to all the cool stuff I was finding in research.

    Now when I started borrowing his off-handed comments to use as hero-speak, he’d get this really cute scowl on his face! He also had a few things to say about my hero being a policeman. Dh is a cowboy. So I compensated by having the cop be a volunteer firefighter, just like dh! :O)

  10. We seem to be on the same journey! God pulled me back from my obsession last March and just last month I’ve felt the freedom to write, though NOT like I used to.

    I probably wrote just as much as you, EXCEPT I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite (the perfectionist in me and the problem with having too many critique partners) and haven’t yet finished the novel that became my obsession. Maybe that’s a good thing. Now I’m onto a 20,000 word novella (three published authors invited me into their group, yea!) and though these shorter books are not my passion, I think they’re just what I need and can handle at this stage in my life.

    And I know we have the passion for writing is NOW because ten years from now we won’t be in the middle of all this mothering, conflict, stress, and wonder of parenting, and how could I possibly write a true to life momlit when I’m not in the middle of it.

    Though this momlit is NOT ready to be written, I’m laying the foundation and plotting for when it’s time!

    God will use what you are going through now for his glory someday, somewhere, maybe in a novel down the road!

  11. Gina, thanks so much for the encouragement! And for sharing all you did. Can’t wait to read your mom-lit when it’s done, and does this “novella” mean what I think it means??? I know those 4 in 1’s are usually three authors and one newbie, so you’re getting published?!? Big hug and congratulations! Wow…

  12. Great story, Mary! We’ve talked about this a lot and I think you are doing a great job keeping your priorities straight…and believe me, I know how hard that is! I believe God gave you the summer off to pray about the novel writing and I believe He led you to a great way to communicate through this blog. Your stories are fun to read and get you thinking. Keep it up and know that God has gifted you with this…now just let Him lead you to write in anyway that Glorifies Him. Deborah

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