Way back in April, before my big H, I had planned to write Hell to Pay (Emily #3) in May. Then the Big H knocked me on my tushy, and my sweet husband gently guided me to a decision that was kinder to my body and my psyche. Recovery. Less pressure. Enjoying moving into our new home. No stress while moving my baby girl (youngest of five) off to college, and then coming home to a chickless nest. My goodness, I’d already written two books in eight months, from blank page to the end on each, after all, and I deserved a breather and would benefit from the brain refresh. Right?

So I took the summer off writing.

I planned to start H2P in mid-August, and I did. Now, for me, starting means “once upon a time.” I had actively brainstormed and synopsized and outlined before then; I didn’t end up with much, but I made the effort. I put myself on a saner writing schedule of 3000-words per day, four-days on, two-days off, down from my 5000-words-per-day-until-I-dropped schedule of the last two books. We took a ten-day vacation at the beginning of September. For me, this was working at a snail’s pace. And today, on October 3rd, I finished the first draft.

Seventy-thousand-words of hot mess first draft. Seriously, a hot mess. I’m getting better all the time, but it’s like the Big H was a brain lobe removal and not a you-know-what removal. I haven’t been able to remember what I wrote day to day, let alone in the two books I wrote within the last year, Heaven to Betsy (Emily #1) and Earth to Emily (Emily #2). I couldn’t remember words. I couldn’t come up with names, titles, descriptions, examples, and so many other details.

It was disheartening. Somehow I made it through, and revisions start tomorrow.

Now, each day seems a little easier and my brain a little crisper, more focused. Some creativity is coming back. I know that a few months from now the mindless slog of September will be an ugly memory.

I believe.

While it’s been super hard to keep a smile on my face and my hands on the keys, in the midst of this crisis of confidence, blessings rained on me. Even I could see that, and I am grateful. A new Nowheresville home. A Wyoming vacation home. The happiness and success of our five kids. The ability to help my brother and sister-in-law after his accident. My dad’s recovery from a traumatic surgery.

Things like the writing tent Eric put up for me on the hill overlooking one of our unfenced fields helped.


My commute . . .


Traffic wasn’t too bad :)


How could I not keep going in this environment, with this love?

Working on the upper deck at my parents’ vacation home in Angel Fire, NM. The whisper of golden aspen leaves, 45-degrees, elk walking 20-feet past me, yoga in the brilliant fall sun.


It took a village, but I limped across the finish line.


I’m just so darn relieved to have made it.

That’s all I’ve got.


p.s. I think the first set of pictures we got on our wildlife camera were an omen, too. You’ll see why when you read your copy of H2P next April . . .


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7 Responses to Write or There Won’t Be Hell to Pay

  1. Eric Hutchins says:

    I love seeing and hearing the optimism in you. I know it has been such a tough, and frustrating and scary time for you. I hear it in your voice in these last couple of days and now see it in your words and it makes me so happy for you. I know you are not yet where you want to be and I know that will still take time but now you have to positive force of optimism working for you. You believe, therefor you will.

  2. You cannot imagine how happy I am for you. YEAH Pamela Fagan Hutchins, Author!

  3. Marcy McKay says:

    Congrats on finishing round one of H2P, Pamela. I know this wasn’t the time table you wanted, but it sounds like the timetable you needed. Good luck on your hot mess.

  4. Adriana says:

    Love your emily series! Iam from the Amarillo area and am hooked on this series. Keep writing on Emily! Rest, recover & God bless :)

    • Pamela says:

      Adriana, well, you can take the girl out of amarillo, but you can’t take Amarillo out of the girl. Emily is with us to stay :) Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by!

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