The Writing Life: Using the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

If you’ve stopped by my blog lately, you’ve probably noticed that things have been a bit quiet. Between a sick kiddo and an exceptionally large amount of freelance work, my blogging time has been sadly limited.


I’ve also had little time to write—but I’ve been so busy "living life” that without realizing it, I’ve filled up with ideas and inspiration that are now itching to emerge on the page. I’ve been collecting bits and pieces over the past weeks: characters, settings, conversations, emotions and how I experienced them physically. I feel like my creative pond has been restocked, even though I wouldn’t have expected a time of stress and busy-ness to recharge or refresh my muse.

Jody Hedlund has a fantastic post where she discusses the fact that life—including the tough parts—enriches our writing: How to Reap Benefits From the Painful Moments of Life. Here’s a taste:

Keep life in perspective. It’s short. We don’t have forever. Remember the things that matter most, especially when we’re discouraged by rejections, low sales, or stinging reviews.

I know one of my writing strengths is that I’m a passionate person. I’m passionate about life, about cats, about baby squirrels, about my family, about many things. I feel things deeply, which comes with the deeper heartaches but ultimately higher highs.

Hopefully, the more passionately we feel things, the more passionately we can live out the time we have on earth, and the more life we can bring into the stories we write.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: When we write, we pour out our hearts and souls; when we live, we fill our hearts back up.

Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss the painful or stressful or too-hectic parts of our lives as obstacles to writing. I find it incredibly encouraging to remember that everything I experience enriches my words. Everything informs the stories, characters, settings, and plots that I create. Even the crazier parts of life.

What about you? Are there parts of your life that you feel don’t enrich your writing? Or do you feel like everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly—enriches the stories you have to tell?

*Photo courtesy of Lel4nd on Flickr Creative Commons

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know -

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]


  1. linda says

    Loved Jody's post, and am so happy for you that you're refilled with creativity. I get ideas all the time too, and definitely agree with you that everything that enriches your experience of life helps make you a better writer. Thanks for the post!

  2. Cheryl Reif says

    Hi Linda,

    I'm sorry I took so long to reply–somehow, your comment completely slipped through the cracks! Isn't it reassuring to realize that everything–good and bad–goes into the mix and improves your writing? It's all about living life…Thanks for stopping by!