March 1, 2019

3 Tips on Writing Through Life’s Pain

By Mesu Andrews

A few weeks ago, I watched a fascinating discussion unfold on a writers’ loop about writing through life’s ups and downs. The multi-published author who began the discussion believed her real-life pain might have driven her away from bleeding onto the keyboard. So, here’s my question for Southern Writers:

Do you write while experiencing emotional upheaval? Or does real-life trauma sap your creativity?


Getting Some Answers

While you ponder, I’ll share my answer along with three things I learned in 2018, when this one-book-a-year author stumbled into a three-book-contract year. My hubby, Roy, and I are planners. We were careful to cut down on some of my 2018 commitments, but…


Lesson #1

There are always unexpected joys and sorrows.

A quick list of 2018 surprises:
  • My mom was hospitalized twice in Indiana; 8 hours away; a total of four weeks away from home and no writing.
  • Our oldest daughter delivered healthy TWINS on our 34th anniversary! After two false alarms, each way a 5-hour commute, I stayed a total of four weeks to help this amazing family of eight adjust to its new normal.
  • My husband experienced a gut-wrenching job change from pastoral ministry to a better fit. Still close to family, but it’s half the pay with no benefits. We’ll sell our dream home in the spring and move into our kids’ basement.
  • I won a Christy in November for Isaiah’s Daughter! Beyond what I could ask or imagine…and chewed three days out of my already-impossible deadline.
  • On Christmas Eve the final straw landed on the proverbial camel’s back. Our marriage began to crumble. Divorce wasn’t mentioned. No infidelity. Nothing immoral or illegal. Just two overly polite people who loved Jesus but had forgotten how to show it.

Lesson #2

When we pour too much emotion into our work, our family gets the dregs.

I set aside my third book project, missed the deadline, and we began the hard work of marriage rebuilding. Six days later, the man we looked to as a spiritual father suffered a serious heart attack. Seven days after that, he ran into Jesus’ arms.

Still feeling pressured with deadlines, I tried to write this article. For six hours I wrote. And rewrote. It was awful. Drivel. Even my mother would have hated it.
I started packing and rearranging schedules for the funeral trip to Indiana. After picking up prescriptions, I stopped by my neurologist’s office to reschedule an appointment. This is the doc I must schedule three months out.

I told the receptionist my sad story, and she said, “You know, Mrs. Andrews, this never happens, but we had a cancellation for 1pm today.”

I looked at that sweet girl and said, “My Jesus is simply amazing, isn’t He?”

“Yes, ma’am,” she said in her unmistakable Blue Ridge drawl. “He is indeed!”


Lesson #3

The Creator created us to be creative, and He is sovereign over every tick of the clock.

This morning, before rewriting this article in lingering peace, my prayer partner texted: “Read Psalm 62:2,5.” I encourage you to read it and then ask again, Can I write while experiencing emotional upheaval?

My answer today: What upheaval? He is my Rock, my Salvation, and my Fortress; my Rest and my Hope. I. WILL. NOT. BE. SHAKEN.
Mesu Andrews is the Christy Award winning author of Isaiah’s Daughter and has received numerous accolades for her other novels including Love Amid the Ashes, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, and Miriam. Her deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Many of her faithful readers are members of her launch team—Mesu’s Biblical Fiction Fans (BFFs)—and offer their time and service to promote God’s word through story. Andrews lives in North Carolina with her husband Roy and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren. For more information, visit Connect Info: Please visit to order free bookmarks, download Bible studies or group discussion questions. Facebook: Mesu Andrews Twitter: MesuAndrews Pinterest: MesuAndrews Goodreads: Mesu Andrews Instagram: Mesu Andrews

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