• Writing Through Upheaval

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Strategies     Comments 16 comments

    It’s been a nutty couple of weeks.

    We’re trying to move our website from one host to another, partly to address the problems you’ve encountered the past few months with our comments section: not receiving notifications; not being able to reply to another comment; not being able to comment at all!

    We’re also working on relocating our office.

    On the home front, we lived out of suitcases for a week, and spent an additional week sleeping in our living room because of a leak in our bedroom. Add to that some travel — international and domestic, expected and unexpected — and… well, like I said. It’s been nutty.

    And winter just won’t end!

    Both Justine and I are working on writing projects, and so this week’s question is: How does one write through such upheaval?

    And does the writing suffer, or does it become stronger because of the unique circumstances?

    In the comments (if they work!), share with us a time when your life descended into chaos but you managed to continue writing. What were your strategies? How did your writing change, if at all? What will you do differently next time?


    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is copy editor and fiction editor at the Texas Observer and has written for books for the Dallas Morning News, the Iowa ReviewElectric Literature, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a writing project you’d like help with or an idea to get off the ground, check out our coaching, editing, and publication services.

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    Juan Carrillo

    Dear David, Thanks for your sharing this post. I’m still a writer, but I want to, and I am in the process to figure out how to be a good writer. My native language is Spanish, and I like to write in English. Regarding your challenge let me share what happened to me several years ago, I was almost finishing my work to present to the university, and I lost it without backup, so I had to write day and night trying to survive with a reasonable score. Fortunately, as I’d composed the whole article by myself, the final writing… Read more »


    I apologize for the mistake I made in the first post, I would like to fix it. the second phrase must be “I’m not still a writer but I want to.”

    Elissa Malcohn

    First, good luck with all the upheaval on your end. That’s a lot of juggling for you both! My article, “‘Ouch!’ Writing Through Upheaval,” appeared in the small press magazine Empire: For the Science Fiction Writer back in 1985. https://www.flickr.com/photos/30268343@N00/505037945/ Legible size: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30268343@N00/505037945/sizes/o/ I believe the advice still holds up. If I were to add anything, it would be to expand creative play beyond writing. For me, that came in the form of digital art and photography. Living through chemo while continuing to be a caregiver put the kibosh on my creative writing — and I couldn’t read anything longer… Read more »


    How’s this: Married, taking care of my mother, who had Alzheimer’s, and homeschooling our teenage daughter who was cutting herself, and doing other depressive things. Yeah. That was my life for several years–way back when. The only thing I could do with any consistency was to write in my journal. But that was okay, because it helped me get through those years. And out of it came my book, Alzheimer’s—Living With a Stranger, so you see? Even if you can only journal through the chaos, you might be working on a book you never thought of writing. :-) Peace to… Read more »

    Barbara A Mealer

    Simple. you keep to your routine. While traveling for a 16 months, I would sit down at my computer after I ate my evening meal and work for at least an hour on my writing That is after I chronicled my day. There were a few days when that didn’t happen, but they were few and far between. I have followed this routine since 1995. During that time, I have written 10 novels. Notice I said, written, not published. The reason for that is I needed to learn how to make them better and worth publishing, which means I’m not… Read more »


    Writing through

    Sheila Jallow

    For me, as long as I can keep a roof over my head, the utilities on, a cup of noodles to eat, and need only aleve for a headache, what is there to worry. Its a cake walk. Its is worrying about the basics of living and when you add other people into the mix with additional needs is when it takes engineering and that word “multi-tasking” in order to remember the sentence you were going to write 5 minutes ago. That is an upheaval! Some of the above still exist for me and working through them is like walking… Read more »

    Charity Kountz

    I actually can’t say that I am writing a lot in upheaval any more. I am not sure why, but between working 40-50 hours a week as a Paralegal, plus doing real estate part-time, taking two classes every 8 weeks for my Paralegal degree and juggling two special needs children, by the end of the day my mental energy is just gone, gone, gone. Although despite that I have had the urge to write a funny book called Adventures of a Paralegal. Would any one read it? Probably not. But it would be fun to.share some of my stories, like… Read more »


    Life is a dance of miscues, false-starts and fubars, most of the time we’re all focused on the future, we envision it as perfect and ideal. That’s the illusion, so when we’re hit with the reality of change, we are always so surprised. And yet that’s what makes the best stories.

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