I have a confession for you: sometimes I used to get so mad at the Inklings. I have felt resentful because C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and all these other writers, real writers, had luxuries like housekeepers and pubs and colleagues and writing cabins and a way to pay their bills, they had creature comforts and every time the Muse arrived, they didn’t have to shush her, plead with her to come back later because, right now, Muse, can’t you see? Preschool, supper, diapers, bath times, and everything wonderful in my life needs my attention.

I’m not someone who has pursued a very traditional path to becoming a writer. Even now, my life doesn’t resemble the Great Writers and their habits.

Instead, I imagined my little yellow book while I was a full time working mum with another one on the way. And then I actually wrote most of it while I was on maternity leave with a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a newborn.  I remember once crying in self-pity, “Hell, anyone could have written the Narnia books if they had a housekeeper and sustained silence. Even I could construct Middle Earth if I had a full night’s sleep!

Instead, I wrote most of my book at my kitchen table during naptimes or sitting on the bathroom floor while a kid was in the bathtub or at the public library with earphones on so that the study groups of teenagers wouldn’t distract me.

This is the season of chasing my dream in the Midst of my life and in the Afters of my life: in the midst of raising tinies, after supper, after bath times, after stories, after kitchen dance parties, in the midst of Saturday morning cartoons, after bills are paid, after work, after groceries are put away, after laundry is folded.

I write after it all and in the midst of it all because this life is what I’m writing about….

If it wasn’t like this, I don’t know what I would write about anyway. Our lives are always content. I remember hearing once that all theology has its roots in autobiography.

I’m over at SheLoves Magazine today sharing about why I believe there isn’t one way to be a writer. A lot of us write in the Midst and in the Afters. Click here to read the rest of this article.

In which these are the unforced rhythms of grace
In which we have another video for you :: Lean Into the Pain
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  • Kendra Fletcher

    Oh, yes. I think sometimes I’m even writing in the after afters.

    Sarah, does the thought ever cross your mind that the quality of your writing suffers in the midst of laundry and preschoolers and meals and life? This nudges me, but then I realize that this is the way God designed my life. And then it nudges me again . . .

    • Absolutely. But I think of writing as evolving. The more you do it, the better you become or the more true your voice becomes. So I’m sure I’ll look back on the words I wrote during this time and think they could have been better but I won’t be able to do that if I don’t write them now. That probably makes no sense! 🙂

  • This is encouraging to me. I get so aggravated sometimes. My kids are peaceful little angels until the second I sit down and try to form a logical thought. All the sudden there’s yelling, fighting, and always someone who needs their butt wiped.

  • Tabitha

    Thank you, Sarah. A reminder I needed today

  • Leigh

    I’ve struggled with this too–that tension between seasons and calling and being faithful to both in the midst of the moments. Thanks for sharing.

  • This just shows how brilliant women can be, doesn’t it!? 🙂

  • Heather H

    This encourages me so much. Sometimes I get trapped into believing that being creative is only worth it if I have an audience. I forget how much joy there is in simply creating – regardless of how many people read or like what I come up with.

    Writing in the midst and the afters is the best kind of writing I think… It doesn’t cost us any money and we’re not depending on it to make any money. We do it without any agenda, we do it purely for the love of the words.

    • Exactly – maybe we’re not pros but there’s a lot of fun in being an amateur.

  • Kelli Worrall

    So encouraging to me as well, Sarah. Thank you! I’m about 2/3 of the way through my first book manuscript. On sabbatical from my teaching job until August. And raising two wee ones. Feeling the pressure to get this thing done. But also feeling as if I’m hitting the wall. By the grace of God, I will press on. But it sure helps to know I’m not alone and that my current “writing technique”–if you can call it that–is viable. 🙂

    • Indeed! Praying for peace and calm in your heart even if the outside looks a little crazy to onlookers. 🙂

  • laura mclellan

    So encouraging! I have had 2-3 different book ideas running through the tunnels of my mind (and I’ve started 2 of them) for at least the past 4 years. However, homeschooling/raising 4 children, trying to be a good wife, daughter, friend, etc., I often feel as though I have to put my dreams on the back burner until my life “settles down”. The older I get, though, the more I realize settling down isn’t going to be happening any time soon. Thanks for the the encouragement!

    • Glad to hear that, Laura – it might take us a bit longer but we’ll get there, eh?

  • Dumez Gracy

    Read This. i Gracy try so many of this spell casters when my husbands tends to divorce me because he thought i keep a secret from him before we get married. they all ask of different thing with money and i provide to each because my husband is my life and i love him so much but they all disappoint me till the court finally sign our divorce document so we go apart last 3years 2012 march 15 i packed to my new house……one day while i was alone( within February ) i just decide to get some knowledge on how to cope with divorce and forget the memories of my past husband because i thought he had marry another woman. while i was reading online i saw how Dr (oshogumspelltemple@live.com) help some men and women get all they desired including healing the sick one. i just decide to contact oshogum also and just ask him how much his work cost but replied and said it free but i most tell the word how he solved my problem if he can do it. so i promised and he sent me the name of materials that his great god demand to get man back. my friend in Norway help me get the items because i could not get the materials here in Germany and she also send it to him. after two days he told me to call my husband but his number was disconnected but he direct me to call my husband work phone that i did, once my husband heard my voice he was very happy, he asked me were i was, i told him my new house. i was so surprise to him in my house. i never believe he can ever come back again. he beg for forgiveness and true love. We both go the same court to terminate the divorce agreement. Still like i am dreaming to see Davidson came back and we live together now even expecting our first kid soon. Thanks to oshogumspelltemple@live.com. Well you can contact him now oshogumspelltemple@live.com case you suffer any problem.

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  • I love the way you write – clearly, the Creator of the universe, your heavenly Muse (as John Milton referred to Him) visits you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, encouraging gift!

  • I’ve been feeling the same way lately giving myself grief for not writing more. Then I look around and say, “My life is so full.” So full of teaching and learning and caring and messing up and getting it right. So full of relationships and walks and oceans and ice cream and belly laughs and sitting still. Just now I opened up my novel-in-progress, typed the next chapter title, and then closed the document again. There is something to be said about sitting down every day to write, about habit and discipline, but there’s also something to be said about listening to yourself, giving yourself a break, realizing you’re only human and not forcing something that’s supposed to bring life. You know? I’d been thinking, “But all of these people do it! They keep a blog and a family and publish books!” And God said, “What people? Don’t worry about those people. Your responsibility is you. Do what I’ve asked you to do and be happy for the rest.”

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! My three kids are young enough now for me to be able to write after they go to bed… but that won’t always be the case, and I’ll have to learn to write “in the midst of” sooner or later. And If I’m writing about my experiences, I’ve actually got to experience them! What a privilege.

  • “I write after it all and in the midst of it all because this life is what I’m writing about….”

    well you know that’s my queue to give you a standing ovation of yes and amen and this is the stuff of writing and life and it is good.

  • Stacie

    Sarah, I’m just now reading this for the first time, but thank you for sharing. There have been so many moments in life where I’ve shared part’s of my story to others, and I hear “you really need to write a book!” But, I cower in my own insecurities and run from the thought because of my busy schedule and lack of time it seems I’d have to ever put the things I’d want to share down on paper. But, you’ve shown me it is possible….it’s possible in the midst and in the afters….and that perhaps those are the raw and real moments when God is able to write the story through our words that He truly wants to be read. Thank you!