Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Writing through Adversity and Obstacles by Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer
When Angie Arndt invited me to share about persevering in times of adversity I double-clutched. Persevere through hardship and danger? Seriously? And write at the same time? Oops – sounds like this blog’s name. Unfortunately, Angie’s invitation could not have been better timed.

I don’t like adversity unless I’m heaping it upon my characters. It’s not something I care to experience myself. I’d rather imagine how someone feels when difficulty strikes than write about it from a personal perspective.

But that is not life. And that is also why we must have adversity and obstacles in our stories. They make our fiction real.

This year I was excited about Thanksgiving break because the college was closed for a week and I didn’t have to teach my writing course. How tasty the anticipation: no interruption of going to-and-from the paying job while working on my next novel.

And then, just after dawn Monday morning, the neighbor’s Belgian Malinois escaped from their compound (yes, it’s a compound) and lit into our elderly Queensland heeler. On our turf. Three against one. Not a pretty scene.

How could I write while our Blue was at the vet’s all day on pain killer and antibiotics, being stapled back together?

How could I write after unprovoked violence broke into my quiet, country lifestyle?

How could I write with such anger surging inside that I felt like a living, walking, talking volcano?

I couldn’t. But it was okay.

My personal writing goal is 2,000 words a day. Sometimes I get in more, sometimes less. But having and reaching that goal fuels me with a sense of accomplishment.

The day Blue was attacked, I logged 70 words. That number is not a typo, and I have two points to make:

1. I wrote.
2. I cut myself some slack.

If I would allow someone else time to grieve, simmer down, and start healing emotionally, why not do the same for myself?

The emotive power of that difficult day will easily be pulled from my memory and inserted into a future scene. But I didn’t have to do it that day. Or even the next.

A few days later I hit 1,800 words and was quickly back on my regular schedule.

Sometimes persevering through adversity means letting go of our need to perform, produce, and press on to our detriment. Sometimes we simply need to let God heal the hidden wounds in our hearts and minds and emotions.

He’s much better at it than we are.
 
About the Author
The Snowbound Bride
by Davalynn Spencer
Davalynn Spencer writes cowboy romance, a skill she’s honed since marrying a professional rodeo bullfighter and raising another. Her most recent title is “The Snowbound Bride,” one of twelve historical novellas in Barbour’s collection, The 12 Brides of Christmas. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her handsome cowboy and their Queensland heeler, Blue. Connect with Davalynn on her website, Facebook page, Goodreads, and Twitter.

"The Snowbound Bride" from The 12 Brides of Christmas

On the run from a heartless uncle, Arabella Taube hides in Nate Horne’s farm wagon just as a harsh winter storm sweeps into Colorado. Despite Ara’s mysterious background, Nate’s mother thinks she is the answer to a prayer and the hope for his future.

33 comments:

  1. Our family has been through it the past through months, too. We suffered a death of a close family member, my hubby lost his job and broke his leg, then Harley the poodle had emergency surgery, so I really understand about having to give yourself a break.

    So glad you persevered and allowed God to heal those wounds. Thanks so much for sharing that story with us!

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    1. Sounds like you've been through the mill, Angie, as my mother would have sad. God is indeed our Healer.

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    2. Cyber hugs Angie. I hope things are improving.

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    3. Thank you so much, Davalynn! Yes, we have, but He was always there with us. Terri, thank you so much for the hugs! Things are improving: our little dog is fine and Charles is walking without a cast. My insurance is actually better now than it was, so that's a good thing, too.

      God is good, all the time.

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  2. Ohhh, I can't imagine!! How horrifying! Hope all turned out well with Blue. Poor baby!
    You're so right. When others suffer, we're quick to empathize. So, why are we so tough on ourselves when we're hurting? Awesome post, Davalynn. Thank you!

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    1. Absolutely, Dora. My protective instincts were pretty high that day for our dog. God's grace helped me extend a little to myself.

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    2. I cannot imagine such horror for your poor pup. Our Lab was attacked by a pit bull once and I still get shivers. Wow, hugs and prayers for quick healing.

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    3. Thanks, Tanya. Yeah, the violence was shocking - as anyone can attest to who has seen dogfights. But God's still bigger.

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  3. Good words, Davalynn. I'm learning (albeit slowly) that if I surrender my human fretting and let God handle things,He always does a better job than I could ever imagine.

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    1. Yes, Elaine. Surrender requires learning. Most often I'm a slow learner.

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  4. I'm the same way--some days I need to let my writing settle and go while I deal with life but then I am stronger when I return and write,

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    1. Wise choice, Terri. I love the way God does that for us.

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  5. Congratulations on the wonderful book,Davalynn. I love cowboy stories best of all. I admit to a tinge of jealousy...I am so in love with Colorado, and you get to live there! Yowzers. It is hard for me to write when hardship gets in the way, so your post today is a helpful one. God continue His rich blessings, and Merry Christmas.

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    1. Thank you, Tanya. I know what you mean about Colorado. I was born and raised elsewhere, but this state has always been 'home.' So glad the post was encouraging.

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  6. This is great! And so timely. Wife, kids, job, and I've stumbled into a successful writing career...it's hard! Thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. So glad you liked it, Peter. Thanks for reading.

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  7. I'm horrified at what happened to Blue. Hope the healing is fast. It must have been awful. My cat and big dog are both asleep behind my chair--keeping me at the computer?? I'm wondering lately if God even wants me writing. So many stumbling blocks seem to pile up, but maybe I'll gain fortitude/endurance by climbing over them! :) But it sure takes a toil on writing time and progress. Sick grandchild is asleep--got some time to do edits.......

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    1. Life interferes, doesn't it, Karen! But bits and pieces of time add up like a savings account or a beautiful quilt. In God's way, nothing is wasted.

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  8. I'm so sorry your poor baby and you had to suffer through this.

    Writing through adversity is tough. I'm kind of a wimp at it. Thanks for showing it can be done.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Terri. We're much harder on our characters than we want life to be for us!

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  9. Thank you so much for timely words of encouragement. My husband died suddenly a little over a month ago. I feel the need to change the direction of my writing since my male characters often mirrored my husband. But that's okay. God has a plan for me and I'm good with that.

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    1. Oh Rebecca, I'm so sorry for this temporary separation from your husband. But yes, God has a plan you, and the word you chose - good - is exactly right.

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  10. Hi Davalynn! Enjoyed your post once I got past the idea of 2,000 words per day with a full-time job. :) I'm sorry about your dog, but glad he's okay. You're right in that the emotions involved in our experiences--good and bad--can be used when writing.

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    1. As I'm sure you know, Sandra, God is the great recycler of our human wreckage. And I'm so glad!

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  11. Two thousand and a full-time job? Wow. I thought I was doing well at 500 a day with a FT job. Guess I need to ramp it up a bit. :) Adversity or not!

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    1. LOL, Kevin. I meant to reply to Sandra that the college is a part-time paying job. But I have another part-time paying job also, so maybe two halves equal a whole! Anyway, in between the 'parts' it all works out. And there's nothing shabby about 500 words a day. That's well over 100,000 in a year taking weekends off.

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  12. Davalyn, thanks for letting me know about this blogsite, and your wonderful contribution today. I feel like I've received an early Christmas gift.

    The kindness you showed yourself is so encouraging--why is it we're usually harder on ourselves than on anybody else? I so appreciate your sharing about this unpleasant incident in this season of darkness and possibility--Advent.

    Bless you,

    Gail

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    1. So glad you were blessed, Gail. I appreciate you stopping by. This is truly the season to recognize the darkness dispersed by His light.

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  13. All good points, Davalyn. I found out that writing while in the throes of grief is too painful. We need to give ourselves some grace.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. Sometimes we have to learn that the hard way. Blessings~

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  14. Davalyn, thank you for writing this and to Seriously Write for posting it. I am plowing away with my writing as I care for my six month old and toddler. I need the encouragement that even 70 words a day is a good effort! Just what I needed to hear.

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