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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)

TITLE: Heart Of The Matter
By Connie Dixon


Carrie Masters had loved writing more than life itself…until now. For the past two months, she hadn’t written a single word. She had no inspiration, no plot, no hook and no desire. She wasn’t sure she’d ever write again…and frankly, she didn’t care.

Her friends kept asking, “When are you going to send us another one of your great stories, Carrie?”

Shoulders drooping and eyes downcast she would respond, “I don’t know…I’m just not into it that much anymore.”

The truth was, writing was not in her anymore. The joy, the excitement, the exhilaration she once felt – was gone. She did not have it in her to create a fresh piece. She was experiencing burnout.

The once bright-eyed, fun-filled, energetic Carrie was unaware of her condition…until she later recognized the symptoms on a radio program.

Her husband on the other hand, knew something was wrong when his normally active wife suddenly became chronically worn-out and started overreacting over the tiniest things.

“Honey, why don’t you go in for a check-up? It’s not like you to come home every afternoon and take a two-hour nap.”

“I told you there’s nothing wrong with me; I’m just exhausted from work, that’s all!”

One afternoon Kurt arrived at home to find his sobbing wife in the living room. Frustrated, he asked, “Sweetheart, what’s going on?”

Where was the vibrant, cheerful woman he married? Where was the happiness, the joy, the laughter?

“Why are you so bummed out?”

“I can’t explain it, Hon. I just don’t want to go to work anymore. I feel stupid there; everyone thinks I’m a total idiot. I sense that they want to get rid of me but pity me too much to let me go. Almost anyone can do what I do – they should hire someone younger, someone with more talent.”

“But Sweetheart, you love your job. You’ve been doing it for ten years now. You’re good at it. You always say how lucky you are that you get paid to do what you really love!”

“Yes, I’ve said that, but I don’t feel that way anymore. There’s too much pressure…too many expectations. I can’t handle the stress. I’ve got to get out of there, do something else. Kurt, I want to move.”

“What? You want to leave Fairfield? Honey, we’ve lived here for fifteen years. You really want to just sell our house and leave town? That’s not like you; you love it here, all of your friends…”

“I don’t have any friends…not really. Who calls me? Who cares how I’m feeling right now?" What happened to all of those friends?

“Honey, you’re not thinking straight. You need some help. I’m gonna call Dr. Harris in the morning and get …”

“Don’t bother. I don’t want to see anyone. I just want to take a week off, or a month. Maybe I’ll quit my job. Is that okay Hon, can I just quit?”

“Babe, you could quit, but you know I don’t make enough to cover the house payment plus all of our other bills. We would really have to tighten up our belts, drop a lot of our extracurricular activities. No more movies, no more cable TV, no more meals out…”

“Alright, alright…I won’t quit! Please, just leave me alone. I’ll be alright, just let me sleep; I’m so tired, so…tired.”

Six months later

“I think this is the best story you’ve written yet, Carrie! You definitely need to submit this to some magazines. I’m absolutely positive you could get this story published.”

“Oh, Jan, you’re always so encouraging about my writing. You act like I’m Louisa May Alcott or Maya Angelou or somebody.”

“No, I think you are Carrie Masters, writer extraordinaire! And since you’ve received help and started taking better care of yourself, your writing has improved as much as your health!”

“Thanks Girlfriend. I never could have gotten through this season without you and my awesome husband…and God, of course. It’s so clear now that He was watching out for me all along.”

“Yeah, who would have thought that a little exercise, some healthy foods and a good counselor could have brought you to the other side of that dark place you were in?”

“And prayer - don’t forget prayer. I truly believe that God answered my cries and led me to just the right people that could bring me out of that valley.”

“And ummm…that four-week vacation in Maui probably didn’t hurt anything!”

“Amen, Sistah!”

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 630 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 06/17/10
I could relate to the MC's feelings in this piece(except I'm not going to Maui anytime soon).
Joanne Sher 06/18/10
A great reminder that we do NOT write in a vacuum. I could definitely relate at times to your MC.

mick dawson06/20/10
Loved the transition. Glad the MC came through... after remembering to pray of course lol. I'm just wondering who the girlfriend was?
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/21/10
Your story is an excellent reminder of how health relates to the ability to write. I liked the husband.
Colin Swann06/21/10
Love your writing. Love your story. Most interesting.
Thanks - Colin
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/21/10
What an accurate description of how depression or even some other disease like Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can so deeply change who we are. I was so afraid that after the dotted lines, the story would be told by someone else because the MC had comitted suicide. I felt my arms tensing up and worry come over me. Even though this could be fiction it could just as easily be non-fiction. You did such an outstanding job with the dialogue and mood, I couldn't tell. Well done.
Carol Slider 06/23/10
It's true... we can't write well when we're physically and mentally exhausted. Thanks for reminding us of something we all need to remember about writing... and life in general.
Edmond Ng 06/24/10
I can understand the part in your story about 'getting paid to do what you love' and 'the feeling of too many expectations' very well. I've gone through that before and wrote about it in my earlier entries. It's like a job is no longer a job if we are doing what we like doing, yet it also means when what we like doing becomes a job (with expectations), it is no longer a joy doing what we like doing. Every writer needs to retreat once in a while to get away from burnout. Your story brings out the truths of a writer's life very well.