As those of you who join in with Wordy Chat know, I went camping last week. Just me and the kids. Camping itself is an interesting experience. It’s a bit like publishing a book for the very first time. Before you even start writing you think, “Wouldn’t it be fun to write a lovely story?” So you sit down at your laptop and start. Halfway through the first chapter, you realise that some planning would be a good idea. But it’s still looking relaxing and fun. Just like booking a campsite, getting the tent down to see if the pegs are still in the right bag. The first few chapters just roll off your fingers, but it’s getting harder. We’re on chapter ten, and the end of the story is nowhere in sight. It’s going to be harder than we thought. The campsite provides all kinds of people at that stage. There are the kids, who sat in the car with long faces, fear having stolen their joy. What if... What if camping isn’t fun after all? What if the tent falls down? What if we have nothing to do? Those people hang around when you’re writing as well. “You’re sure this is a good idea? My cousin who wrote a book had a degree in literature, and an MA in creative writing and she says it’s one of the hardest things to do...” And there is the little voice in your head as well, “What if nobody likes it?” The campsite provides lots of distractions. People are walking past, kids shouting, the cafe selling necessary coffees, just like when you need to sit down and write a book. Only the campsite provides you with a lot more options. Of course, people-watching is a must for any author. And if you are looking for different characters, a campsite is a wonderful display, ready for any genre. Although genre choices might be getting darker when it gets late at night, and some campers are still making a lot of noise...Needless to say, my kids loved camping. Especially the late bedtimes... You reach the end of your book. You sigh a deep sigh, treat yourself to some coffee and cake. Then you find out it’s not that easy at all. Just like the end of camping, taking down the tent, packing everything up with kids in meltdown mode hanging around you. “Whose idea was this in the first place?” That’s where knowing why you wrote that story in the first place. It’s remembering the blessings you encountered during the writing, knowing it was the right thing to do. It’s holding on to the joy you felt when another chapter was completed, or when that poor character managed to dig herself out of that hole. It’s trusting God with the outcome. Would I go camping again? Definitely. It’ll be fun and we’d have a wonderful time. We’d play games, read books and smile all day. Would I write another book? Absolutely. “Burrowed” is my Camp NaNoWriMo project, and although I’m cringing at the next few stages, I love the story, the grappling with the characters and their journey through life. Writing has been an amazing blessing, and I have met some incredible people along the way. Thank you, ACW, for what you do and the way you support us and encourage us! Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. Maressa is a homeschool mum as well as a pastor’s wife, so her writing has to be done in the evening when peace and quiet descend on the house once more. She loves writing Christian fiction, as it’s a great way to explore faith in daily life. Her debut novel, Sapphire Beach, was published in December 2019, and her first self published novel, Walled City, came out in December 2020, followed by Viking Ferry, a novella. Beyond the Hills is the second book in the Elabi Chronicles, and was released on June 18th 2021. All of Maressa’s books are available from her website,, Amazon, or local bookshops.

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