My friend Caroline Abbott is the author of A Journey Through Emotional Abuse:  From Bondage To Freedom.  Caroline is a domestic violence advocate who was in an emotionally abusive marriage for twenty years. Because of her faith she was determined to honor her marriage vows, but she didn’t realize she was being abused. When the abuse escalated until she feared for her life, she got a restraining order, filed for divorce, and got her life back. Today, Caroline is remarried, and she and her husband have many children between them. She spent seven years writing her book, A Journey through Emotional Abuse: From Bondage To Freedom. Her book tells her story but mostly focuses on helping other women determine whether they are being abused. If so, the book helps them decide whether to stay or, if they decide to leave, how to do it safely.

Caroline dedicates her life now to helping and encouraging other abused women via Facebook, on Twitter (@Caroline_Abbott), and her website and blog http://www.carolineabbott.com. She is currently writing her second book, A Journey to Healing after Emotional Abuse.

I’m honored that Caroline invited me to participate in ICPublishing’s Summer Blog Tour “Navigating the Writing Path:  From Start to Finish.”  http://www.ICPublishing.ca.

We’ve been asked to answer several questions, and here is my best attempt.

How Do I Start My Writing Projects?

I feel inadequately prepared to answer the questions posed.  As an unpublished blogger I don’t worry about pleasing an editor, nor do I need to conform to restrictions or requirements placed on me.  I simply write.  My writing is merely a public expression of my soul through words.

My blog posts typically begin as a revelation, an awareness, or something that gets stuck in my craw. As I mull it over or stew on it, I mentally write the post while I work my day job.  The blog then becomes a regurgitation of the thoughts that have possessed my mind all day.

I have been slowly working on a book for the last couple of years, and I do approach it differently.   It isn’t for me.  It lays as a burden on my heart for the women caught where I was five years ago.  I want to be careful with how I handle God’s word, and I want to be sensitive to the intense and crippling fear that reigns in those women’s lives.

How Do I Continue My Writing Projects?

I’m still working through so much abuse pain and uncertainty myself, and I don’t want that to taint my message. After an extended period of time I reread the work I’ve done on my book from a different vantage point in the journey and find I’m able to be more objective–do I still feel that way? Was my vision clouded by the circumstances at the time?

I am not working off a classic outline.  However, I prayerfully considered each chapter title. From there, I jotted down ideas, scripture references, and emotions under each chapter heading. Once I’ve completed the free flow writing I go over each piece multiple times, rewriting and correcting. Then, I shelve it.

Allowing myself time to put it down and come back to it has proven to be a necessary practice. On my recent flight across country I worked intensely for hours and ended up throwing out several chapters I’d written early on.

As an inexperienced writer I’m not sure if this is a bad practice, but I compile my rough draft as I’m doing my research. I don’t write from research notes. It is more of a, sometimes awkward, dance between objective research and artful expression on that first draft.

How Do I Finish My Project?

This sounds existentialist, but I feel like each piece “tells” me when it’s done. Sometimes I think it is incomplete, but the sense is there that it doesn’t want me to take it any further. Not at that time anyway.

Include One Or Two Tips Or Challenges That Our Collective Communities Could Benefit From

Write, write, and write some more: a short nightly jot in a diary, chronicle sights seen in a travel journal, record elderly family members’ stories. Make writing a natural expression within every causal aspect of existence without concern or regard to perfect sentence structure or publish-ability.

Thank you again to Caroline and to ICPublishing for allowing me to be a part of the tour!