Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
Writing takes a great deal of mental energy and, frankly, sometimes we can feel burned out or over-extended when it’s combined with the rest of life. Sometimes, we need a break, and sometimes that break can last longer than we would like it. Author Jennifer Hallmark shares her experience and how the life in her days are going at the moment. Glad to have you, Jennifer!
Hi, Sandy! Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog. The last seven months have been very different for me in comparison to my first eleven years of taking my writing from a hobby to a career.
Like many writers, I write non-fiction for my blogs and articles for others in addition to short stories and novels. I’ve had no trouble over the years switching back and forth until September of 2016.
I’d just returned from the ACFW conference in Nashville, one that someone had paid for me to attend. You can read that story here. So after a wonderful conference experience which blessed me tremendously, you would think I’d be filled and ready to take on the world.
Except when I returned, my fiction writing dried up. It seemed like my imagination had stayed behind in Nashville.
Why? I couldn’t figure it out. After striving, pushing, bullying myself, and everything I could think of, I gave up and decided to take time off through Christmas. I would seek God (which was the word I’d focused on all year) and get my act together.
And slow down enough to give time for God to speak in a still, small voice to my struggling heart. What did I learn?
- I was physically tired. Our family had several major events that took a lot out of me over 2016 including my stepfather’s death, my Mom selling her house and moving, my son’s wedding and a lengthy trip to my niece’s wedding.
- I was emotionally spent. All of the above events pulled on my emotions. Combine that with several intense years before and you see why my energy was sapped.
- I was spiritually dry. Though I attend a great church, I’d missed a lot because of all the above events and my devotion time had been hit or miss at best. ACFW helped me realize this dryness because my favorite time there was spent in praise and worship and in the prayer room.
The time off helped me and I’d like to be able to say that in January, the well of fiction once again bubbled up and overflowed. But it hasn’t. There is a small stream and I’m thankful for each day that I have something to say in my fiction world.
I keep moving forward, writing longhand for a change. When I transfer it to the computer, more words come and I feel at peace. So if you’re struggling like me, take heart.
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24 NIV
I know this is another season in my life and at some point it will pass. Until then, I write when I can and rest in God. And it is enough.
As a writer, have you ever experienced what Jennifer has gone through—feeling emotionally and physically spent to the point where writing became more difficult than usual? How did you handle it? If you’re not a writer, you’re not immune to those feelings when life gets busy. Any solutions you’ve found that work?
Jennifer Hallmark has published articles, short stories and been part of four book compilations, A Dozen Apologies, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, Unlikely Merger, and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. Jennifer’s website and the group blog she co-founded focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers.