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.

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