When I Thought of Quitting, I Used My Secret Weapon

Like caulking that’s squeezed into cracks along window and door frames, writing filled every available space, and I found that the miracle hour when creativity made its appearance came most nights between 8 o’clock p.m. and 2 o’clock a.m.–Pamela Koefoed

Writing my memoir, JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness, was an extreme work of love, a three-and-a-half year write-a-thon. I persevered through at least five revisions with help from God and by using my secret weapon, which I’ll share with you in a moment.

What images do you have of an author involved in her work? Dismiss all illusions of grandeur. Most of us don’t have a special space, surrounded by serene beauty. Creativity doesn’t flow in our veins non-stop, as if it’s available to us night or day. Yes, there are times of free flowing words that seem to appear out of thin air, but most of our work is accomplished through great effort, through something that has been likened to giving birth.

My writing space is in the kitchen, not far from the sink, stove, and refrigerator, and it’s in the living room where my view is a mocha colored wall, and it’s my bedroom with its long array of closets and cabinets (a former owner had three daughters in this room and he gave them each a closet and an upper cabinet–how nice). In other words, I write wherever the household noise is least noticed.

During my personal write-a-thon, life went on, but in a somewhat disrupted pattern. I’m grateful for a husband and daughter who picked up some of the slack. However, my responsibilities didn’t disappear the day I decided to write a memoir. Family and home were priorities, and someone had to run the advocacy program and direct the ministry that I oversee–that someone was me.

Like caulking that’s squeezed into cracks along window and door frames, writing filled every available space, and I found that the miracle hour when creativity made its appearance came most nights between 8 o’clock p.m. and 2 o’clock a.m.

An emotional element was also involved. The decision to write my story of survival came after much contemplation of probable results. I looked at it from various angles, and it came down to vulnerability, and my willingness to share with a great many people the childhood experiences that tore me into tiny pieces, the personal account of how I persevered, and how I loved.

I reached out to God during childhood–that in itself brought great healing, comfort, and security. And during the “birth” of my memoir, I’m certain of His Present help.

Sometimes, I considered putting my manuscript in a file cabinet and leaving it there, but I had a secret weapon that kept me moving forward. The secret weapon against quitting was you.

During the most fatiguing hours, I thought of people I know who have been or who are currently in a crisis and people who wished they had been given a better life. I considered the people I’ve never met who have emotional pain deeper than the Grand Canyon, and I believed that my story might help.

The author’s reward is satisfied readers. Since JoyRide’s publication, I have been rewarded numerous times by people I know and by those I have never personally met. And I’m immensely grateful.

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “When I Thought of Quitting, I Used My Secret Weapon

  1. I like the element of suspense in this post. Clever ending! This one I will have to file away along with some other blog posts that I intend to pull out for inspiration. Up to a year ago, most of my writing has been academic, accept for a brief stab at memoir about 12 years ago. Now retired from teaching and maintaining a blog, I will continue with my original dream of memoir writing knowing I must keep my writing seat warm for a hours a day (with fun breaks) and accept that writing is really revision.

    Favorite lines: Like caulking that’s squeezed into cracks along window and door frames, writing filled every available space, and I found that the miracle hour when creativity made its appearance came most nights between 8 o’clock p.m. and 2 o’clock a.m. (My brain “no workee well” after 8 pm — Morning or early afternoon is best for me.)

    • I’m blessed by your reply and I’m happy my article will serve a second purpose, that of inspiring a future writing project.

      Other writers have also inspired me. For instance, when I wrote JoyRide I read memoirs and a couple of books in my least favorite genre–fiction. Through reading, I learned how to make my characters come alive on the page and I learned how to build suspense. And sometimes when I had a case of the dreaded “writer’s block,” I pulled out some creative writing, loaded with colorful description, to prime my author’s pump.

      Happy writing~

  2. Thank you Pam. Your moving on into the wee hours of the night … family comfortably sleeping in their comfy beds …you with “pen and paper” in hand – my how old fashioned that sounds. Thank you for the hours of lost sleep … selfless devotion to our Lord who was right beside you during those sleepless nights .. your inspiration was His presence. I’m also feeling the tingles of inspiration to give up some sleep to develop the gifts and talents given to me.

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