Never Surrender

YA author Elana Johnson recently hosted a “Never Surrender Blogfest.” I missed it by a few days, but to participate, you had to blog about a time when you didn’t surrender. I thought that’d be a great topic for me to make a real comeback on my blog.

In the past year, I’ve considered giving up on writing. The thought’s been a sinkhole in the back of my mind. This is the first time I’ve even voiced it, because it was that devastating to me.

The last year has been one of the craziest of my life. I attended the Writing and Illustration for Young Readers conference last year and then my writing life just stopped. We moved across the country to Georgia and a few months later bought our first house. I discovered the world of Pinterest and got sucked into this “crafty Karen” mode, which meant all the writing time was taken up with making cutesy things for our house. Through all this, I could’ve made time to write and didn’t.

Then in February, my baby boy was born and the sinkhole started to take shape. With my first baby girl, everything from birth to behavior was easy-peasy. Quite the opposite this time around. With my girl, writing saved my sanity. This time, there was no way I could even get a sentence written.

But it was more than just not having (or making) the time to write. Finding time was (and still is) a huge obstacle, but for a while I couldn’t sit down to write without having a mini panic attack. I was suffering from postpartum depression and my “sanity saver” was only adding more stress.

When I first had the thought,”I can’t be a writer. Not professionally. I need to give up on that dream,” it scared the crap out of me. We’ve all had the frustrated banging on the keyboard, “Why am I doing this?” rant, but this was serious. I felt that I could never be both a mother and a writer at the same time.

Being a mother and being a writer are two things that want to fight against each other tooth and nail. They do not want to cooperate. They do not want to even be in the same room.

Here’s the catch though: even when I went for a year without writing, I still thought about my book every single day. I “wrote” in my head. I worked out problems, thought up funny lines, and put my characters in new situations. My book was being written without me ever putting my fingers to the keyboard.

I am a writer in the same way I am a mother. I can’t just stop being a mom and it’s the same with writing. So here’s me tearing up my little white flag. I still don’t know how I’m going to accomplish my writing goals. It make take me another five years to get this book ready for submission. But here goes nothing.

Writer Moms: Never surrender.

About Karen Krueger

I write for teens when I'm not chasing after two cute kids. I love to sing and eat cereal (though not at the same time), and I most certainly am not a vampire because I'm addicted to sunshine.
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12 Responses to Never Surrender

  1. Janet Nodine says:

    Karen, thanks for your post, Never Surrender. It hit home for me as well. I am just finishing up my memoir, next stage getting an agent, and I have already started a YA novel. Sounds great? Well, it feels confusing. I am a “newbie” to this blog and face book life, which I have been told is necessary to build my platform, but to me it does feel foreign. All I want to do is write, just like you. The thought of not working on a book, makes me feel a bit insane, so I am trying to work on that plus work on all the other stuff to get my memoir published. Well, you can tell, I am a bit frazzled.
    Keep up on your writing, even if it is for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Like you, my characters are spinning around in my thoughts all the time. I am just in the developing stages. I would love to hear more about you,and your writing. I too, love the sunshine. I am heading to the beach right now. I can’t complain, I live a mile from Rogers Beach here in Westhamptpn Beach. Hang in there Karen!

    • Having an online presence is one of those things that is SO hard for me to keep up with, but it’s also pretty rewarding because you get support from other writers. I have trouble letting it take up too much of my time. Have fun with it though, even if you don’t feel like you know what you’re doing. I had no clue when I started this blog. I thought I should have a contest to get more traffic. I didn’t know much about contests, so I just went with it. I was giving away a copy of one of Brandon Mull’s books (Beyonders, maybe?) Anyway, but instead of just blogging like normal, I went all crazy and blogged about Brandon Mull and his books every single day while the contest was going on. One of my readers thought I was totally obsessed with Brandon Mull. Looking back, I’m like, “WHAT was I thinking???” Lol. Kind of embarrassing. Now I know. Contests are great with just a simple reminder at the beginning of normal posts. 🙂
      So good luck with your blog, etc. And with all your writing! That’s another hurdle I know I’ll have to tackle down the road–how to write and query and revise and everything else, all at the same time.
      Have fun at the beach and thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂

  2. I was wondering where you had wandered off too! you were missed 🙂 Congrats on the new baby!!!

  3. I am so sorry you had to go through that, Karen. Writing is hard, and I’m glad you’ve decided not to surrender!!! Actually, I think I would track you down and force you to rewrite your book until it’s published, just because I love it so much and need it on my shelf. And because I so want to recommend it to people. You are such a talented writer, and it would be a real loss if you were to stop writing.

    I like to tell myself that there is a time and season for everything. And besides, WRITING is just hard! Some days it sucks. But then, so do most jobs. The best is when you’ve hit that amazing scene just right, and you want to sing and dance. Those days make it worth it.

    Good luck! You can do it – you really can. Tessa needs you to tell her story. 🙂

    • Thanks, Chersti. Honestly, you are one of the reasons why I keep writing. You totally are my cheerleader and seeing you so dedicated to your writing (and getting an agent now because of it-yay!), keeps me pumped up. 🙂

  4. Joel says:

    Hey Karen, isn’t life interesting? As kids we don’t realize how many different directions we’re going to be pulled as we start families. I have had similar experiences, though not as “deep”, in my own writing career. There are times all the work writing requires has me sitting down and either 1. playing a video game, or 2. watching T.V. These are things done during the time I have scraped out to write. Inevitably I’d find the time used up and be disappointed that I didn’t sieze it and advanced my novel.

    I’m glad to hear you are sticking with it, because I think you are a talented writer! The pacing may be slow, but keep it up!


    • Thanks, Joel. Funny how sometimes TV/video games become so “important”…or maybe they’re just easier. All I know is that I constantly have to redefine my priorities. Or unplug the TV. 🙂

  5. Kevin says:

    Yay for never surrendering! Seriously, Karen. Your writing has improved so much since the first draft I read of your book. It was good then, and it keeps getting better! Quiting would definitely be a tragedy of Greek proportions! I always look forward to your submissions. So keep writing! 😀

  6. It’s good to see you on your blog again! 🙂

    Big hugs coming your way. Being a mommy and a writer are two very tough things, and you’ve had quite a few big changes in life over the last while. I’m sorry for all the stress, but I’m so glad you’re doing better now. I’m glad that writer part of you still wants out! I can’t wait to read more of your book.

    • Thanks, Shallee! I’m always so impressed by how much writing you get done with your little guy. I hope that your transition to being mommy of 2 goes well. (Not that I have any doubts…I bet you’re going to still be amazing at getting your writing done and everything else. 🙂

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