Priming the pump. {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

You know how people have mentors they’ve never met? The kind that aren’t some agreed upon relationship where you get coffee every week, but mentor through example and words. Sometimes the mentor is even deceased. But you learn and grow by watching and listening and reading.

Trina Holden is a mentor like that for me. I admire the way Trina navigates marriage, motherhood, writing, beauty, food, and faith. She is a wonderful example of grace and hope.

Since I know you’ll love her, here’s another interview I did with her about one of her four books, Embracing Beauty.

Two more weeks of Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing! Don’t miss the other 18 perspectives in the archives.

Trina Holden

Why do you write/blog?

I write because I can’t not. I spent many years in bondage to a debilitating anxiety disorder and then the Lord healed and freed me. Since then I’ve had a strong passion to encourage others to find freedom and the joy of a thriving life. A blog is an efficient way that I can do that while still keeping up with my other roles as wife and mother.

How long have you been writing/blogging?

I’ve been blogging since my first born was a baby–or, 8 years. But I’ve been writing since my mom gave me my first journal at 8.

How has your current season of life impacted your writing/blogging?

Currently I have 4 children, 3 I’m homeschooling, and one who is schooling me in the art of living through sleep deprivation–she’s almost a year and we go back and forth between days where I have no margin, and days where I might get an hour to write or blog (or maybe both!)

This season has forced me to shed all unnecessary obligations and expectations that I or the blogging world puts on my words, and prioritize writing the stuff I’m most passionate about. This means I break many blogging rules–I don’t engage in many of the traditional ways to connect and get my words to a broader audience. If I did that, I’d have no time to write, and I’m called to write. Sometimes I don’t even put a graphic in my posts (gasp!) but that is because the Lord keeps reminding me that I’m called to be a writer. So, motherhood has forced me to hone in on my passion and ditch everything that distracts.

How has this season of life changed your writing habits?

I would love to learn to write in the little moments I have throughout the day, to write amidst the hubbub that is four children living life and a husband who often works from home. Alas, that is a skill I have yet to develop. I’d love to follow the advice to have a set time and place to court the muse. I love formulas and schedules and checklists. Instead, my writing happens sporadically, when quiet and a charged laptop and a baby’s sleep schedule somehow align. When that happens, I can’t afford to waste it, so I’m learning strategies to make the most of surprise writing opportunities.

I’ve learned to sit down and just write–about anything. I call this priming the pump. I cannot often sit down and write my next post or book chapter on demand. Forcing myself to produce on a certain topic is a recipe for tears and frustration. As much as I wish one could, one cannot force art. So, I just let myself write what sounds like a journal entry–a brain dump, basically. Until a thought or an idea of something I want to share comes, then I switch tenses and begin to write outward–or for an audience. It’s not always on the topic that I have a post due on (sigh) but, at least I’m writing.

This sounds undisicplined and haphhazard, but those forced to write in stolen moments or not at all know how hard it is, and how worth the effort. Even with all the challenges to maintaining a writing habit in this season, I’ve still managed to write and publish my 4th book, and about 4 blog posts a month.

Trina Holden

What is your writing/blogging battle cry?

My battle cry is freedom. I lived in bondage for so many years–not even knowing I was in chains to anxiety and fear of man and the lust for approval and acceptance. When freedom was finally offered to me, and I caught a taste of what life was like outside my prison, I ran toward the gates. I want to blog authentically and transparently so people can catch a glimpse of what God has done for me, and what He wants to do for all His children: set them free so they can thrive as who He created us to be, and thus bring Him glory.

Because learning to nourish my body well is a large part of what helps me to thrive, I also blog about real food. If I had a tagline, it might be “fuel for a thriving life…because we were made to thrive.” But I think that’s too long for a tagline. I’m still waiting for that to mature.

How does faith, writing, and motherhood intersect in your daily life?

It takes faith to trust that God will provide the grace to fulfill all He has called me to. I often think that if I was *just* a mom, or *just* a wife, or *just* a writer, I could totally handle it.
But John Piper recently reminded me, “If you are sufficient for your task it’s too small.” The passion to write while also fulfilling my roles as wife and mother has driven me to my knees time and again. It is not something I can do in my own strength, and I am grateful for how it’s drawn me closer to the only One who can sustain me.

I’m also grateful for the accountability that writing publicly has provided for this season. So often the topic I’m assigned to write about for one of the blogs I contribute to, or the post God puts on my heart that week ends up being an area my own heart needs encouragement. I write the words in a moment of clarity or victory, and the next moment I have to go back and read my own words and ask God to help learn and apply all over again. Many of the posts on my own blog function as altars of remembrance–keeping me from forgetting an important lesson or work He did in my heart.

Writing both drives and draws me closer to my Savior. It is a yoke only made light when I trust Him for the time to write and the fruit from my efforts.

Trina HoldenTrina Holden is a modern-day gypsy, currently parked in Alabama where she and her husband run a business encouraging families to thrive through real food cookbooks, classes, and consulting. Together they homeschool their four children, drink gallons of raw milk, and dream of their next road trip. She is the author of 4 books and writes about freedom and other ingredients for a thriving life at trinaholden.com

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4 thoughts on “Priming the pump. {Perspectives on Motherhood and Writing}

  1. What an honor it was to spend some time in your lovely space her, Emily. And such a treat to reread words written a few months ago and realize I needed their reminder today! Thanks again for hosting this lovely series. You continue to inspire me.

  2. Love this, Trina. Praise the Lord for altars of remembrance! And for His ability to use tired, sleep-deprived mamas.

    But I read the first sentence laughing because I think that’s exactly how I answered Emily’s first question. ;)

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