Back on the Writing Track After a Tragedy

By Rebecca Waters


When my husband and I decided to retire early, Tom announced he was going to fish and golf every day. “What are you going to do?” he asked me. Now, I like to golf and I fish a little (lay in the sun a bit more) but every day? Not likely. I prayed about it. I was a professor at a Christian university and fully engaged on a day-to-day basis. To go from “all to nothing” held no appeal.

Our plan was to retire at the end of the calendar year. I had twelve months to figure out what I wanted to do…or maybe more importantly, what God wanted me to do. I prayed and on a February morning told Tom I was going to be a published author. I had long harbored a secret desire to write something other than educational reports to the state. Go figure.

Pursuing my dream

I pursued that dream and in March, 2014, my first novel, Breathing on Her Own was published. It was a time of celebration. In the two years after reaching the decision to write, I had published twice in Chicken Soup for the Soul, had several articles published in magazines and writing journals, and had my first novel released. I had three other novels at various stages as well in my “Works in the Mill” file. It was a heady time for me. And Tom was all in. He even went with me to the photographer for my headshot, gently moving one of my unruly strands of hair aside before the shot was taken.


Then the unthinkable happened. Seven months after Breathing on Her Own was released, my precious husband of forty-three years died in a bicycle accident. For months I was frozen. I managed to do the things I had to do, but the wind was out of my sails when it came to writing. Maybe it would be better to say my pen was out of ink. I was living in a fog.

And I felt guilty. God had obviously given me the gift to write and I wasn’t using it. I kept my blog going. I attended writing groups. I took care of business. I just didn’t write. My novels, some unedited, others unfinished lay dormant in the virtual drawer of my computer.

Turning point

January 2017 marked a turning point in my healing. It was when I realized I could no longer live in the large house where Tom and I raised our children. Selling that home and downsizing was healing for me. I lived in the new house only a couple of months when I was asked to move to Kosovo to teach fourth grade for a year. I went. Living in Europe those ten months was also healing.

It was there, in Kosovo, I realized I was not letting God down by not writing or publishing the stories He gave me before Tom’s death. God can see around the corners. He knew it was Tom’s time. I believe He gave me those stories when He did because He knew I wouldn’t be able to write for a while.


That spring, while still living abroad, I pitched Libby’s Cuppa Joe online. I received a contract for the book and it is being released March 8th. In fact, I’m including a link if you want to preorder the book. At that same time, an editor contacted me to see if I would be interested in contributing a novella to an anthology. I retooled one of my works in the mill, cutting it down from nearly 60,000 words to a 20K word novella. The story was accepted and appeared in the book From the Lake to the River in September of 2019.


I’m writing again. I have a new sweet romance nearly completed. I have a suspense novel in the works, and the story of a woman dealing with her mother’s dementia moving along nicely. My point is this: God’s timing is not always the way I would have done things…but it is always right.

About the Author:

Rebecca Waters works hard to create realistic characters facing contemporary issues and stories built around faith, hope, and love. Her first novel, Breathing on Her Own has garnered over 160 positive reviews. Rebecca’s second novel, Libby’s Cuppa Joe is scheduled for release in March 2019.  Courtesy Turn, her first novella is based on her experiences as an avid square dancer. She has also published three books for new writers, Designing a Business Plan for Your Writing, Marketing You and Your Writing 101, and Writing with E’s.


5 thoughts on “Back on the Writing Track After a Tragedy

    • Thank you so much, Susan! God is gracious. I am blessed that He has given me the opportunity to write and excited to see what He has in store. You are an encourager! I so appreciate that!


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