Betsy St. Amant

Betsy St. Amant loves polka dot shoes, chocolate, and sharing the good news of God’s grace through her novels. She has a bachelor's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and will have two novel releases in 2009 with Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Betsy resides in northern Louisiana with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, kickboxing, and spending quality time with her family. Visit her blog at

From the Not-So-Frazzled Files of a Frantic Author

Growing up, one of my favorite childhood books was From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s a Newberry Award–winning novel about a brother and sister who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and stumble upon a mystery.

I think I liked it so much (and still do!) because I was a lot like Claudia (and still am!). For example, the back cover reads “When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents Claudia appreciation.”

If Wishes Were Dog Biscuits

I’m a planner. And now that, at the age of twenty-four, I have eagerly embraced the hectic roles of wife, mother, full-time employee at an oil and gas company, and multi-published author, my planning would put even young Claudia to shame! For a Type-A lover of details and organization like myself, it’s the only way to survive—coupled with a heap of daily prayer and a dash of don’t-you-dare-miss-your-morning-devotional-time!

Unlike Claudia, I know my goals. I know what I want and I have plans in motion to accomplish those things. When Claudia ran away, she wasn’t sure what she was running from—or running to—but figured she’d find it when she got there. For me to live my daily life of work, writing, housecleaning, bottle-washing, laundry-swapping, hubby-listening, and baby-entertaining duties, I have to have a plan, or the chaos wouldn’t have a pay-off. I’ve learned that motivation is everything.

Therefore, I step back and evaluate my goals. What do I want? Well, I want to be a good wife. I want to be a good mother. I want to be a good employee. I want to keep landing book contracts and keep meeting my deadlines. I want my house to be nice and cozy for my family. I want to wear clean clothes (haha!). So how do I get those things? By taking baby steps (pardon the pun) to make them happen.

I realized early on in marriage that every household chore does not have to be done at every given second. It’s so much more productive to plan in advance and accomplish one or two chores each evening. Then you get the satisfaction of crossing an item off your list (let’s hear you cheer, fellow Type-As!) and feel extra motivated from your accomplishment, without getting overwhelmed with what didn’t get done.

The same is true with my writing and with my job. If I step back and take in the whole picture at once, it’d be super-easy to get overwhelmed. I’d see my deadline looming, my next proposal waiting to be written, my dreaded synopsis only half finished, and

my e-mail inbox overloaded. At work, I’d see every line on the phone ringing, stacks of files waiting to be sorted, piles of documents needing to be scanned or shredded (don’t get those piles mixed up!) and a fax needing to be sent.

So, I make lists. I prioritize. I straighten the stacks (neat piles areThe SSGrace so much easier to look at than messy ones!) and take deep breaths. I remind myself that I am only one person and that the world will not collapse if I don’t get something done. Then I pray, get to work, and get it done. Having that relaxed attitude and prayer coverage gives me the ability to beat my deadlines by weeks, clean my desk at work, start my new proposal, finish that dreaded synopsis, keep the phone lines clear, and send a few e-mails—some days.

On those days, I feel like Super Mom, Super Wifey, Super Author, and Super Employee. On the days my planning and praying and breath holding don’t work out so well, I feel like such a failure at each role that I want to hide under the covers and protect the world from my loser-ness. But I drag myself out of bed, have that heap and dose of prayer and quiet time with God, and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14 NASB).

Midnight AngelI’ll never be perfect. Only Jesus can make that claim to fame. But I can continue to strive to be the best I can be. The best wife, the best mom, the best author, the best worker: These are the responsibilities God has entrusted to me and I want to make good with them. I want to invest my talent and bring forth a profit like the parable of the three servants. I don’t want to bury my gifts out of fear—fear of divorce, fear of raising my daughter wrong, fear of getting fired, fear of being broke, fear of never being published again, fear of failure.

So I do the best I can each day and let God make up the difference. I continue to plan and make lists and stay as organized as possible in true Claudia fashion. And when the day is done and I’m playing peekaboo with my daughter or basking in the relief of a successful work day or Snoopy-dancing over a new contract, I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be—smack-dab in the middle of chaos, smack-dab in the middle of God’s plan for my life.

Take that, Claudia.