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Saturday, November 19, 2016

When you Can't Run, Crawl

by Kelly Klepfer

I’m no stranger to discouragement. Likely, you could say the same. How many opportunities are there to find a brick wall, a difficult situation or challenging person in our lives? Yeah, that many. Sigh.
I’m sharing about a trudge through the mud of discouragement I suffered while co-writing my book, Out of the Frying Pan. More importantly, what I learned in that season.

My co-author, Michelle Griep, is far more disciplined and prolific. As a matter of fact, this is her sixth or seventh book release and she’s just contracted for three more.

She’s very good. I mean, the woman can write. We met at an on-line Christian author critique group. She and I hit it off right away. We bantered, shared sarcasm and even began sharing lives. Soon our families got involved and bonded. We became sisters separated at birth and became aunties to each other’s kids.

Michelle plugged away at writing. I played with it. We both got little pieces published and had some bigger successes, too. But I hung on the fringes. Not that I didn’t want to write and be published, but I didn’t want to pursue publishing if I didn’t feel like there was something that I specifically needed to say. I did have an idea for a story. About elderly sisters-in-law who happen upon a murder scene. Michelle loved the idea and we decided to write it together. I was given the task of putting the skeleton together and then we’d each pick main character points of view to write and add the muscle, skin and personality.

Other than the fact that I would drag my feet, this worked well. She would pester me to write a few scenes, I would, she’d write a few. Then I’d suggest she write another book and we’d put it on hold. This novel has been a very long labor. Because Michelle was the stronger writer, I deferred to her. The woman loves to edit, too. At one point she sent me the manuscript so I could get up to speed and I noticed my scenes had been edited to sound very much like her voice. Now picture Pac-Man and that sound he makes when those little ghost things get him. That is the sound my confidence made.

The changes were in rewording some of my stiffly written prose. My heart was still in my scenes but I couldn’t see that. I sunk into a funk. Finally, we talked about it, and she agreed that she could just send me suggestions and I could fix the problems, but the arrows of insecurity and failure had sunk deep into my joy. I told her I needed a break from the story and went to a corner to lick my wounds. I’d love to give you deep spiritual truths and applications revealed by the Lord through my prayer and immersion in the Word in my time of need. But I have to admit that taking this to the Lord wasn’t a priority. My pity party was.

Delighted that Michelle had another project to work on I slowly began to process and deal with my insecurity. I continued to read, review and blog, working on my writing skills that way. But Michelle eventually asked me to pick up where we left off. The story was too good not to tell and we needed to finish it. I agreed and persevered. What I noticed was that the tools, the conference knowledge, the how-to book sense, I’d packed in the back of my brain somehow had come to the surface through the reading and processing I’d been doing which was using those neural pathways.
Since I had shared my heart with Michelle, and my commitment to work on the book was short term and a close family member was hospitalized leaving me hours sitting in a quiet hospital setting I set out to finish as soon as I could. I just wrote scenes on my phone and sent them to her telling her to let me know what I needed to fix.
I will never forget the comment I received from her after: “Did you seriously just crank that scene out in twenty minutes? Because if you did, I hate you. It would take me hours to get a scene that ready.” Another critique partner read it and said I had grown leaps and bounds as a writer.

I don’t tell you this because I think I’ve arrived and am a good author. Far from that. But I share because of what I learned:

1.    Sometimes we have to process hard things. And in the processing we mature. However, if we ignore what we are supposed to work through we get stinky.

2.    A real friend is willing to tick you off, even hurt you to help you deal with something that’s holding you back.

3.    What you’ve learned and poured into your mind isn’t wasted. God has created an amazing brain for each of us and it doesn’t sleep. If something is important to you and you are willing to do the addition and subtraction you will eventually wake up and realize you understand more complex things.

4.    God’s faithfulness to me isn’t dependant on my attitude or choices. He lets me pout in the corner until I come to my senses. And teaches and blesses me anyway.
And on the chance that you are a writer or want to be, take heart. If you plug away and follow the wisdom of those who have gone before and you read good books, books like you’d like to write, you might be amazed at what happens when it clicks.

I initially wrote this post for Elaine Stock for the blog tour for Out of the Frying Pan. Michelle, my co-author suggested that I share it here, too. Because writing is 20% soaring and 80% agony, insecurity and angst and anyone in the 80% needs all the encouragement they can get.


When you Can't Run, Crawl by Kelly Klepfer (Click to Tweet)

What you’ve learned and poured into your mind isn’t wasted.~Kelly Klepfer (Click to Tweet)

Kelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Modern Day MishapsInstagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons. Zula and Fern Hopkins and their shenanigans can be found at Zu-fer where you always get more than you bargained for. 


  1. I loved this with you and Michelle, watching from the sidelines. And I couldn't believe the difference when you came back. I'm so tickled you didn't quit!!! I've loved this story forever!

  2. Thanks, Ane. You are the best cheerleader!


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