5 Ways Deployments Can Make You A Stronger Writer

Upon the release of my second novel, I was often asked: "How long did it take you to write Worlds  Beneath? was the process different from writing The Blood Race?"

Worlds Beneath, the second book in my urban fantasy series, The Blood Race was a therapeutic book to write. I loved it. I learned SO MUCH, but it was different than book1. There was a very distinct reason why it felt so different. 

I wrote the vast majority of that novel while my husband (then fiance) was deployed overseas. Writing this book got me through that deployment, and my writing continues to help guide me through the inevitable separations my husband and I now face as a military couple. In turn, that deployment helped shape me as a person, which helped me tune deeper into my thoughts and feelings to be able to even more thoroughly communicate the story I was trying to tell in Worlds Beneath.

However, maintaining creativity and inspiration while a loved one is deployed can be difficult. Nothing about deployment is easy - for the service member, or the spouse/significant other at home. The separations aren't easy, the lack of communication is not easy, and the worry and loneliness constantly at war with our bravery is not easy. That said, as a creative, and as someone who knows so many milso's (military significant others) who are creatives, I can attest to the fact that deployments will definitely make an impact on something as personal to you as your art.

But deployments are not all bad! There's a silver lining, for sure, no matter how bleak and endless the tunnel often seems. Here, I'll list 5 reasons why deployments can make your art even stronger.

1 Deployments can make you stronger - and more independent.

Whether you realize it or not, this is a very present reality, especially for a military spouse. Even when my husband was away on a DFT, I began to notice how much I was picking up the slack; tackling projects that I wouldn't normally, and learning new things that weren't exactly in my wheelhouse. As much as you love your spouse or significant other, and as much as it's great to be able to work as a team, it's also empowering to know that, hey, you got this. You're strong and capable, and that will only make your relationship, life, and WIP better.

I write best when I feel confident - no one wants to feel insecure about their writing, or question whether they're capable of manifesting their creative goals. So allow those lessons learned to carry over into your creative life: embrace the strong, confident vibes.

2. Deployments will force you to learn to use your time wisely - and make it pass a little faster. 

Any milso will be able to relate to this one hardcore. When your loved one is deployed, time drags. You never realized days and weeks passed this slowly until now. You find yourself wishing the days away, longing to "swim through time" as I often phrase it, to that moment of reunion: it's all you seem to think about.

But, if that's all you let yourself dwell on, unfortunately times passes atan even slower rate, and somehow you feel further away from them than ever. Of course you should keep that beautiful image of being with your loved one again at the forefront of your mind - but you also need to keep yourself busy.

Now is a good time to tackle that book! Start that project you've been talking about for ages. Find something to lose yourself in - something that may even help you lose track of time. Write, sing, draw, dance and allow your emotions, even those of longing and loneliness to fuel you forward, not backward, not down and out. Stay in control, take the reins, and make something beautiful with this block of time you have to yourself.

3. Deployments encourage creativity - in so many ways. 

When you were together, maybe you'd listen to music, or discuss a book you'd been reading (or writing!) Maybe you'd hang out in a coffee shop and talk about the day, or go for long drives to watch the sunset. Well, now there's 7,000 miles (or more) between you. 

But as a creative, the truth is, you can actually find some pretty encouraging ways to stay close and support your deployed loved one. 

One of the few, if not the only, fun part about a deployment is making and sending care packages. I would disassemble a priority mail box, coat it with card stock and decorations, reassemble it and fill it with everything that would remind him of home. While deployed, I sent my then-fiance chapters of my current WIP, giving him something to read in his free time and give me feedback on. Yep, my husband helped beta read while on deployment. There were so many little creative things I came up with to help keep both of our spirits up.

So deployments, although long and hard, can actually help fuel your creative mind, not hinder it.

4 You need to stay positive. 

This may be the the most important one on the list. There will be days, and weeks, (and this was true for me) when I did not feel like writing, or being creative, or doing much beyond just "getting through" the day. Your mind is full of worry. You cry in the shower, a lot. You cry when their call drops and you cry when it doesn't because their voice somehow feels so far away. You're lonely and tired. Why on earth would you feel like writing a book? 

Because you need to stay positive. For yourself, sure... but you also for your deployed service member. Put yourself in their shoes... they're working hard, and they're lonely too - they cannot wait to get home to you. They're trying to hold the line every bit as much as you, and typically have far more stressors to cope with. If they hear you breaking down, struggling, and getting frustrated, how's it going to make them feel? Certainly not empowered to keep going... and voicing all of that aloud isn't going to help you either.

Absolutely talk to your family or friends, have a support group - that's so helpful, (and a whole other blog post...) but don't vent to your spouse/SO while they're deployed. It's not going to help them, you, or the situation. Instead, throw yourself into your work, your book, your project, and stay as focused and positive as you can.

5 deployments will bring you closer together if you let them

This one may sound a bit strange to someone who has never had a loved one in the military, but for my husband and I, this last deployment did nothing but bring us closer together and make us stronger as a couple. It gave us such a deep appreciation for our life together. We learned new ways to express our thankfulness for each other, and it taught us that the "little things" are actually the big things: talking on the phone, or getting a simple "good morning" text... normally these things are seen as small, but when you're long distance, you begin to find that these things are SO full of joy.

Being long distance gives you new opportunities to share your art, projects, goals and dreams with each other. Talk about each other goals and aspirations, and how you see yourselves accomplishing those things. Send them pieces of your novel like I did, or pictures you drew, poetry you've written, and ask for their feedback - use your art to help keep them focused and positive, and in doing so, cultivate a deeper relationship despite the distance.


That's all i've got on this for now. If you're a military spouse working on a creative career, or if you have a loved one deployed, I hope this gave you something that might help you stay inspired and push through the months ahead. If you're not, then I hope maybe it gave you a little insight into the lives of military families so that you may better help support and cheer them on as they pursue their art, goals, dreams, and careers while their loved ones are absent.

Stay creative, stay strong, beautiful souls!

Stay stoked,
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  1. This was beautiful to read. While I can't relate on a personal level, and I certainly can't imagine how hard it is for someone to have to deal with a loved one being away, I still know it's hard and I still always feel like it takes a very, very strong person to be able to do this.

    You both are very strong. <3

    And those pictures of y'all are so cute! (Lol, the shipper in me is going crazy. XD)

    Beautiful post, Kate. <3


    1. :'''') <3 thank you so much for your sweet and encouraging words, Ivie! They mean so much <3

  2. Kate, this was beautiful. My dad is in the military, and saying goodbye have now become a normal part of life for my family. Deployments aren't easy for anyone, but, like you said, they can bring people closer together as well. Thank you so much for writing this, for sharing this bit of encouragement.

    Also, those pictures of you and your husband are very cute. =)

    Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

    1. You're completely right about how saying goodbye just becomes part of life. it's not an easy life, but its a good life, i like to say. stay strong, Micaiah. And thank you so much to your father, and your family, for your service <3

  3. Okay but how are you and Tyler sO CUTE I WEEP. :') (that first one especially OMG)

    This post was so so beautiful, Kate! Although I don't have any personal experience with the military, I can't imagine how tough it must be! You and Tyler both are strong people. I'm currently halfway through a month away from my best friend and this really resounded with me, even if at a much lesser level than 7 MONTHS. I loved this post. <3

    1. haha, awww man thank you! I must admit I think we're pretty cute too XD <3 Thank you so much for reading and for your sweet comment, Hanne. I am so happy that you got something out of this post, and I hope you are having a wonderful trip!!

  4. (I know everyone else is saying this, but I gotta join in) Y'ALL ARE SO CUTE.

    It makes a lot of sense that something as emotionally testing as that would deepen your relationship with the Lord, your family, and your creative reservoir. It's wonderful that something as heart wrenching as being separated from your loved one (let alone adding the military aspect) is able to be used for good in your life.

    1. AWWW THANK YOU!! It soo helps to deepen or relationship with each other and God. You're right about that.

  5. thank you for sharing something so personal and inspiring

    1. i am so so glad it was inspiring to you, Rosie <3 thank you so much

  6. I am amazed by your positivity and courage! Honestly, having your significant other in the military sounds like one of the hardest things ever, but if anyone makes a good milso it would be you <3. Recently one of my friends posted about how some of her best art has been fueled by pain. It's kind of a scary thought, but when I read blog posts by people who have gone through these kinds of things, it inspires me to look at the small difficulties in my life as blessings.


    1. you made me want to cry when i read this, Lizzy! x) <3 thank you so much, that really means a lot to me. there is definitely so much truth in that - writing from personal experience/emotions can be a powerful thing

  7. I absolutely love the pictures in this post! They're so cute and ASDKFJAKLAJAS couple goals <3

    I personally don't know anyone close to me in the military, but I know this is such a raw and personal topic to you and so many others, so I applaud you on finding the bright side of it and sharing your thoughts on it :) that is a true inspiration <3

    1. AWWWW thank you so much, Autumn! you are amazing. <3 It was definitely super personal to write about, but I'm so glad you enjoyed it and got something out of it too! thank you so much for your kind words

  8. I'm crying so hard right now. This is so beautiful, Kate. <3 (And might I add that those pictures of you are Tyler are SO CUTE I CANNOT EVEN.)

    xx Kenzie | www.paperpizzablog.com

    1. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for your sweet words, Kenzie! they seriously mean so much to me <3 YOU ARE AWESOME

  9. You two make my heart burst. Thank you for sharing this, Kate. I have so much admiration for how strong you both are.


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