When the Honeymoon is Over

If you've been married for any length of time, you know that it doesn't take too many months or years for the newness of marriage to wear off and for reality to set in. Those heart-stopping tingles that fueled our love affairs often give way to heart-rending difficulties.

The fact is, no two people are perfect, and no marriage will be either. Whether it's the little things like squeezing the toothpaste from the top or bottom, or something bigger like where to spend family vacations, issues crop up to cause conflict.

We might start marriage with high hopes and expectations, but those difficulties eventually creep in and threaten to steal the joy and love that once abounded. When the honeymoon is over we realize if we're going to make our marriage thrive, we have to work hard, often really hard to stay committed.

Some days we have to grit our teeth, pray for strength, and use sheer will-power to keep on loving our spouses. We aren't basing our love affair on feelings any more. We don't quit when the going gets rough. Rather, we choose to love and stay committed because we said we would.

The same is true with our writing. There will be times when our feelings for our writing will diminish. Problems creep into our stories, the small adverbs and big plot holes. Our high hopes and expectations are dashed with each rejection. We face incredibly hard, dry times when we want to give up.

It's at these times in the writing life, just like in marriage, that we have to fall back to the decision we've made. We don't write just when we feel like it, or when we're enthusiastic about our book, or only when we have high energy levels.

We keep writing because we made a commitment to it. We carve out the time, put our fingers to the keyboard, pray for ideas, and force ourselves to pound out the letters one word at a time. Successful writing careers, like successful marriages, take incredibly hard work.

Perhaps we may reach a point when we need therapy. (My husband is a therapist and does quite a bit of marriage counseling, so I couldn't resist stretching the analogy today!) We all need help from time to time and it's okay to seek it out--from critique group friends or even from a professional (author or editor).

Are you doing the hard work necessary to make your writing thrive? When the going gets tough and you feel like giving up, what are the ways that you motivate yourself to stay committed to your writing? Please share your ideas. Your encouragement will be writing therapy for all of us!


  1. Ohhhh, knife in my heart!

    I didn't write last night. Instead I read a book for pure enjoyment. Now I feel like I was unfaithful!!! Okay, not JUST because I read a book, but because I knew I should be writing and I'm at a particularly tough part and wimped out.

    BUT NO MORE Tonight. I will write. *cracks knuckles*

  2. Oh, Jody, this is a great post for both the people marriage and the writing marriage.

    People: I was just thinking the other day how I miss those knee-crumbling kisses I got so very long ago from hubby. The fact is, the kisses haven't changed, it's their familiarity that has. I get butterflies just thinking of my girls getting older and what they have yet to experience.

    Writing: Oh, you got it with the commitment comment! Some days that's all that keeps me going. I'm so thankful for it.

    Thanks for a great Friday post, Jody!!!

  3. Don't I look like "the lazy wife" who often just takes a break from her writing when things get tough.

    Interesting concept.... We can't always just take a break from our marriages every time they get overwhelming can we.

    I suppose I have something to think about don't I!

  4. Great post again:))
    I keep my writing going through imagining the excitement of the what ifs. As with my marriage, I also imagine the excitement of being together with the man who still makes my heart soar:)

  5. So, here is how it went. I wrote my first book and queried it (unready)
    Then I fell in love with my second book. Then an agent gave me some amazing feedback on the first one and I REALLY thought to myself "Do I want to go back in there? Do I want to do the WORK it will take to rip this thing apart?" I didn't want to, but felt I had no choice. So I did, and let me tell you, that was one of the hardest jobs. It tore me up inside, tearing up my work, seeing (really seeing) what was wrong with it. Making it better, and better, and better. But now? Now I think, besides my kids and my great marriage, (all work as you point out!) that revision is next in line as my greatest accomplishment.

    So, to all you out there struggling. Just DO it! Press on! You will be so happy you did. :)

  6. Wow. Jody. You did it again. Thanks for this wonderful post.

    I am committed, yes. Am I tempted to walk away and give up? Yes. But I never will. Like my marriage, no matter how rough it seems some days, walking away won't solve anything; I'll just miss my honey and all the annoying things I thought were big, but were really trivial.

    What do I do to motivate myself to stay? Honest? I write pitiful emails to friends like you, saying "wah, wah, wah, why am I even bothering?" You pick me off the floor and dust me off, then I go back to my love to try again, with renewed resolve to make this marriage work.

    And i pray. What is my most profound prayer? "Help! Please!"

    Blessed weekend,

  7. Jody,

    Your posts are always thought provoking and encouraging. Today, it was all that and a kick in the pants.

    To be brutally honest, no. I have not been doing the hard work necessary for my writing to thrive. I know it's got a lot to do with things that are currently going on in life. It's hard to pick yourself up and move forward when you're down. But that's not an excuse.

    Thank you for posting this. I needed a good wake up call! Now, if I could just find a drill sergeant who would come stand behind me and bark writing orders!

    Happy weekend,

  8. You've made me think--not always a bad thing--and I realize that, if I'm truly committed to my writing, I need to bring the same dedication to it that I do to other pursuits. Not just my marriage, although the analogy is pretty good, but anything to which I've made a significant commitment.

  9. Another great post in this analogy of marriage and writing.

    A support group is essential for me. I have writing friends (like you and others in the blogging community) that prop me up when I'm wilting and my commitment to writing is waning.

  10. Wow, girl, you are truly an analogy Queen. I agree 110% with everything you said - most especially about marriage. My parents got a divorce when I was in seventh grade because they weren't "in love". Who says marriage is about being "in love"? It's about choosing to love. Just like you said. Okay, sorry for the rant. On to writing...

    I learned that lesson last year. Even when I didn't feel like writing, I forced my handso n the keyboard and worked through it. And I feel like I'm a better writer for it and that, just like marriage, working through the tough times drew me nearer to my writing in the long run.

  11. I just love your analogies! You are so right. It is hard work and commitment to write, just like a marriage.

  12. SO true. Last summer when I began writing novels again and trying to get published for the first time since my divorce, I had this huge surge of determination. I was writing at a ridiculous pace and submitting regularly. But now that enthusiasm is waning and life is getting in the way. I may need to look at my goals and set them a little lower to keep myself on track.

  13. Yep. I've been getting up at five in the morning so I can have some writing time. Coffee helps. My goal is my motivation.

    Lynnette Labelle

  14. Hey Jody,

    Like everyone else, I have really enjoyed your analogies on this. What a great "theme" to help us better grasp the writing journey. Mostly, I want to comment on Krista's feelings that she was unfaithful because she took time from writing to read. No no no, I say, that is not infidelity at all. That is more along the lines of planning a date night with your husband on a night you can't be together. Or, spending some time alone so you can really focus on him when you are together. The best writers are voracious readers. Reading fills us with words so that we can let our own flow out of us. So, keep up the reading. To me, it's a very integral part of the writing process. Blessings!

  15. Ah, Jody, I don't want to get you off the track you are on, but have you thought about writing on marriage? Your use of marriage imagery to illustrate writing is significant writing in itself. Example: "We don't quit when the going gets rough. Rather, we choose to love and stay committed because we said we would."


    Just so you know, Ithink you actually have another writing path you could travel down if you one day chose to.


  16. Well, commitment is my vice. I've always thought things through and weighed the pros and cons before jumping into anything, including my marriage and writing books. Divorce is not a word in my vocabulary for my marriage or my writing!

  17. "Successful writing careers, like successful marriages, take incredibly hard work." Preach it, sister! Suffice to say I'm "working hard" on both! My motivation, honestly, is future glory. Being able to (Lord willing) make it to my 50th wedding anniversary - what a thought - and being able to say (Lord willing, again) that I've "made it" in the world of writing/publishing. Philippians 4:13!

  18. Awesome post Jody!
    I'm trying to be committed to my writing, but I know I fail sometimes. Or maybe I get lazy. LOL The other night I got bored reading through my wip for the twentieth time so I decided to fix my chapter numbers because they'd changed with the revisions. Krista's comment made me laugh. Maybe I need to crack my knuckles to instead of "wimping out". LOL

    Thanks for the encouraging post!

  19. Great message given with such style, Jody. Thanks.

    When my interest wanes or self-doubt creeps in, I turn to my hubby and my awesome CP. Gwynly and Anne know just what to say to get me back on track. Writing is a tough profession, and I think surrounding ourselves with supportive people is vital.

  20. Right now I'm in the query process and I think my love of writing is really being tested, however while I have been tempted to quit - it usually only lasts a second and then I decide to keep with it.

    Great posts!

  21. You're so right! I find some days it's more work than passion but it is always driven by love. =)

  22. Hi Jody -

    What a great series! T

    he last 6 years, my life's been a lesson in commitment. One thing that pulls me back: anything God puts in your heart is worth fighting for until you reach the goal.


  23. Ah, keeping oneself going when it’s tough takes creativity (especially if the hard time is brought on by rejection of a previous story)
    Actually, reading good books is one of the best things that encouraging me to keep going.
    But another thing I’ve learned is to make sure I don’t burn myself out in the first place. Just because I can write for hours on end, doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea for my overall writing. I’m not sure how that applies to the marriage comparison. ;) Again, that’s for the encouragement to keep going.

    Oh, and I’m so glad to hear you liked my blog layout. I actually design Blogspot backgrounds on the side (too much fun). They are all free to download at
    I blog about designing too. (Again, too much fun.)
    Have a great day!

  24. Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote that "easy reading is damned hard writing."
    I agree! Writing sometimes feels great and really sucks. I had one of those days yesterday. AND ended up in tears deciding that I couldn't write and what the hell was I thinking! So, thanks for this post. Very timely.

  25. Awesome writing therapy, everyone! You've encouraged me with all of your comments! I hope you found encouragement too! Stay strong!

  26. As always, your post was written for me!

    If it wasn't for people like you who blog helpful and encouraging words, my writer friends who keep me writing and my loving husband, I don't know how I'd get through the "dry times", the discouraging times and the unproductive times. Because of all of you I hang in there and continue to pursue a much deeper, meaningful time of writing.

  27. I loved the way you used marriage and writing together. What a great analogy.

    I love to write, but am no where near ready to try doing it anywhere but blogland.

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  29. Loved this post, Jody! Sometimes the inspiraton we're looking for is masked as hard work, not found through passion but by the steady clicking of the keys.

  30. When I need to be motivated, I just remember that God opened up this blog opportunity for me. He knew it fit in with my desires. If I were to quit, I would be missing the wonderful window, door and more He has given me.

  31. I've been appreciating this marriage-related series. It reminds me of the various Greek words for "love" that are often quoted in wedding meditations. It is "agape" that brings to a marriage relationship the selflessness necessary for its success. If we care more for what we can bring to the relationship than for what we're getting out of it, it is more likely to last. It seems to me that analogy carries over into our writing, too. Knowing that writing without worrying about "what's in it for me" is likely to produce better quality work helps me to keep at it regardless of temporary discouragements.


  32. Hi Jody! I just wanted to stop by and say hey and see how you're doing. You know, I never saw a parallel between marriage and writing. Interesting comparison to the commitment issue. Makes me think.

    Hope you have a great day!

  33. When I feel like giving up, I think about what I would want my kids to do. Would I want them to give up and walk away? Not a chance! I want them to go for their dreams and never give up, so why would I walk away from something I enjoy & love? Being a good role model is a great motivation!


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