Saturday, January 11, 2020

Writers, Sometimes We Just Need to Admit We Can’t Do It All

by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

I started off the New Year by canceling a speaking engagement for a local writers group three days before it was scheduled to occur.

Not exactly what I had planned to do.

But I also hadn’t expected one of my daughters to end up in the hospital.

Or that my husband and I would be caring for our two young granddaughters. 

That there would be several sleepless nights. 

That instead of quickly recovering from a surgical procedure, my daughter would encounter setbacks.

During all of this unexpectedness, I continued to finalize my workshop. Perfecting the PowerPoint slides. Gathering items for attendees. 

The show was going to go on – pardon the cliché.

But then reality set in. Any sense of margin had disappeared. My family needed me – and to be there for them, I needed to conserve time. Energy. Emotions. 

The demands of my real life eclipsed my writing life. I had to back out of my speaking commitment so I could be 100% available for my family.

Canceling my workshop was the right, hard thing to do.

And I cried through the phone call where I explained all of this to the group’s leader. To be honest, I cried a lot during that week. Tears can often express our emotions better than words.

Sometimes there’s no putting a “happy face” on things because, well, we’re not happy about what we’re facing. And admitting that doesn’t mean that every breath we’re breathing isn’t a prayer. Or that we’re not leaning into grace.

As creatives, we’re all familiar with the virtual pendulum that swings back and forth in stories – both novels and movies. Things go from bad to good and then – swing – things go bad again and then – swing – things go good again and then – swing – things go even badder. 

Sometimes our lives are like that. 

Good. Swing. Bad. Swing. Good. Swing. Bad. Swing. Good. Swing. Badder.

It’s okay to be honest and admit we’re overwhelmed – even to the point that we can’t write. That we can’t do it all because an unexpected crisis has taken all our time, energy, and yes, that this everything-falling-apart-ongoing-moment might be stretching our faith a bit.

Stretched faith is still genuine faith, my friends. 

And life will, at some point, settle out, and we’ll have the time, energy, and emotion to write again.

Until then, sometimes the best we can do is clear our calendar, do what needs to be done, ignore guilt, and always remember that there’s grace in every situation. 


Award-winning author Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, Beth's first women's fiction novel with Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018. Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters Series, releases May 2019. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. Beth,

    Thank you for this wise post. Yes stretched faith is still genuine faith. We write each day by faith.

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    1. Terry: You make a good point, too: we write by faith every day. And we need to remember that. Sometimes a crisis reminds us of just that: we write by leaning into God and his strength, his provision for our lives. It's not just our talent that enables us to write -- it's us, working in tandem with God and what he is doing in and through us, that allows us to be the best writers.

  2. You share your heart in everything you write, Beth, and it helps more than you know. I love, "...and always remember that there’s grace in every situation." Well, I suppose if God can extend grace to my can't-do-it-all's, then I should be able to do it, as well.

    Thank you for this!

    1. Angie: Sometimes it takes me a little while to get past my "I can do it!" attitude to recognizing God's grace in the moment. I'm still learning that, over and over again. And that it's okay to say, "I can't" -- and that usually people are gracious, too, and understanding. And that God always is.

  3. Such a gracious post Ms. Beth. It's in the "overwhelmed" that we need to rest in God's comfort and grace my friend. I've come to realize that I'm not disappointing Him when I fail to achieve what He's called me to do when I think it should be completed; instead, I reassured Him that I am His child and I need Him to help me in this life. We pause, climb in His lap for a hug and perhaps a nap; and then the miraculous happens. We are restored and better equipped than ever before. We can't do it all; He can. God's blessings; and continued prayers for your entire family ma'am.

    1. Good morning, J.D. You strike me as someone who is very aware of his relationship with God, his status as one of God's children. And yes, God often wants to remind us he is a God of grace and rest, not of "do this" and "more." That's the world's way of doing things. Thank you for your prayers, friend.

  4. I need this message today. Thank you so much. I have been overwhelmed lately with my "to do" list. Thank you for reminding me that I don't have to do it all by myself. :-)

  5. Melissa: I'm praying for you today -- that you find some breathing space. That you recognize what you can say no to. That you find some rest. That you lean into God's grace.

  6. I can identify with what you wrote, Beth. I have been overwhelmed with a move and with making arrangements for my mother-in-law to be cared for in her advanced state of dementia. Some days I can write; other days I can't. But I realize this is just a season of life. And...some nights when I wake up and can't go back to sleep, that's when I write. Thanks for this timely post.

  7. Roberta: I also understand caring for a mother-in-law. Mine is 101 years old and had to transfer to an assisted living facility last year, which was tough on her and challenging for us. And yes, sometimes insomnia is an advantage, isn't it?

  8. I so needed to hear this. My writing has been upside down for quite awhile now due to one family emergency or another. My blog is lacking fresh posts and now I just canceled a speaking engagement. I was to the speaker at a ladies retreat. I love retreat speaking and writing materials to go with it. But life is still upside down with my husband's health and now I'm having knee replacement surgery in February and a new grandbaby in March, and getting our house reading to sell this Spring. I finally had to admit to myself I had to step away and give my full attention to myself and my family for now.