Tuesday, April 2, 2013

SOS: Writing in Peril

by Laurie Epps

S.O.S. My writing needs help! 
We've all been there, when we have too many deadlines, and too little time. Although in some ways this is a good problem to have. It also gives us an opportunity to see the stuff we're made of as writers. This malady also comes with its own share of pitfalls. Last week this happened to me, in a big way. 

My Shipwreck Story 
Being a full-time student in addition to being a single mother can, at times, be tricky—especially in terms of time management. I had a collision of papers due, yet I still had an obligation to my readers, I still wanted them to hear my voice, and get my thoughts out there. With all these pressures some days I feel like I can't even breathe. 

What would I write about? Hmm? I just read an article two weeks ago by Edie about looking at a calendar for my muse, and hmm, Easter is next week....  Here's where the tragedy struck: I had just written two in-depth essays for college in the same day. I was on a roll, or so I thought.

I forced myself to write one more thing in the same sitting. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. Partly because I put a little of myself in everything I write. I had an exact vision for my piece. I knew it's beginning, middle, and end. In much the same form as a paper for college, I did my research. I read up on all traditions in this holiday called Easter. My writing style was completely bogged down with facts.

Uh-oh. My voice as a writer hadn't emerged. I didn't give it even the slightest bit of breathing room. Edie spotted my over-acheiver efforts a mile away. She shot back to me some words that stung to hear. "You're trying too hard."

This hurt, but I knew deep inside she was right. The moral of my tale of woe? Don't try so hard. Let your own voice emerge when you write. Have a basic idea what you want to say, but don't plan out every moment of its execution. You may have a better story, article, or whatever if you just let it happen.

Share your Shipwreck Story or one when it was Smooth Sailing
We want to hear from you. When have you over-planned your writing and had it fail? And when did you just use the writing process, and trust that it would work out? I know, my best work has emerged when I don't plan every nano-second of my work. Tell us about it. Start the conversation. The Write Conversation.

Laurie Epps is a non-fiction author, essayist, editor, and poet living in Anderson, South Carolina. A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell their many stories. To read more of Laurie's stories visit her Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the art of Poetry at: http://1writerlaurieepps.blogspot.com


  1. Laurie, this is an excellent post. I know how scary it is to put yourself out there and be vulnerable! Blessings, E

    1. Thank you for all of your encouragement Edie. I think sometimes we all have to step away from the crunch of research and really dig deep to show the world who we are, and who we are not. As always, thanks for stopping by. Blessings, Laurie

  2. Great post! I think my problem is two-fold: lack of advance planning and attempting to do too much. Instead of setting the clock so I only spend, say, 45 minutes on social networking, I plop down in front of the computer, engage in the activity online, and subscribe to more blogs than I really need to. Next thing I know, I have 100+ messages in my in-box.When it comes to writing, I sometimes forget to pray first (big mistake), and end up staring aimlessly at my manuscript not knowing where to go next.
    I love to be organized, but spend too much time trying to perfect it. I'm sure I'm not alone =)

    1. Oh Linda, are you sure you aren't my sister? I struggle with the same demons every day, and I am proud to say, I have hardly been on Facebook today! It is like they need to start a support group FA for Facebook Anonymous to rehabilitate social networkers everywhere. All kidding aside, I think that is so important for us to encourage one another. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings, Laurie