R.V. Doon

Writing a Book During a Family Medical Crisis

I know, it doesn’t make sense does it? The backstory: My sister after reading my historical novel commented, “I think you’ve missed your calling. You should write romance.” Thanks, Sis.

Right after that, I was completing self edits on a medical, whistle-blower thriller when my mom had to have surgery on her leg for a growth. The doctor removed the growth, but it left a gaping 3 inch wide and 1/2 deep hole. The good news no chemo needed, the bad news the wound in her leg made her depressed. To make her feel better, I did her daily dressing change for six straight weeks. Maybe it was the change in routine, or maybe it was because I thought more about loved ones being sick, but every late night I came home and wrote on a romance.

In the beginning, I thought the story thread would die but it kept going. I was afraid to work on the thriller while my mind had been hijacked by the surgery, doctor appointments, and follow-up wound care. I managed to work out my internal angst over my mom in the process of writing a romance. When I checked the word count and realized I’d written over 50,000 words, I was stunned. I concentrated on ending it.  And it’s pretty good, at least to me. Now, I’m letting it sit and putting my thriller in the Kindle to read from the device. After that check, the thriller goes to an editor and I start the cover art search.

I’m amazed how I managed to ride the unexpected and come out with a decent story. No sob story on how a crisis dried up my words for me. My publishing plan was to edit the thriller while finishing the second dark fantasy thriller follow-up to Swarmers. My brain wanted a break from it even though I was 30, 000 words in. I tried, but I went into writers block–a first for me. The words flowed like a rip tide for this romance which is still unnamed. I can’t explain it but I went with the flow, and I’m glad I did. I have a 66,562 word completed romance on the same day the dressing changes ended.

Tips for Not Letting a Crisis Hijack Your Writing Schedule:

1. Stay Flexible! I worried the crisis would dull the thriller edits. So, I embraced an idea my sister had planted. I let the words flow.

2. Don’t Deny Your Feelings. Release them in your words. Don’t try to box them up. Use the emotions that could scare you and keep you from sleeping, and turn them into something positive.

3. Stay Focused On Writing One Scene At A Time. Don’t overwhelm your mind. A family crisis comes with a unique set of problems. The romance wasn’t plotted out ahead. I thought about it while picking up meds or going to buy dressing supplies, or the drive to her house.

4. Add A Character Dealing With A Medical Crisis. Why swim upstream? Use the current event to release frustration in a make-believe character.

5. Don’t Check Word Count. Unless you’re on a red-line daily word count don’t check. Allow your writing word counts to fluctuate during a crisis. The idea is to release stress, not increase it.

6. Embrace Change When It Smacks You. You might surprise yourself.


I’d love to hear from readers on this topic. Has a stressor turned your writing in a new direction? Share your story!

BTW: I’m back writing the follow-up to Swarmers and it’s moving fast.


One thought on “Writing a Book During a Family Medical Crisis

  1. Pingback: Going On A Cover Hunt! | R.V. Doon

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