A few things in life usually do
not work if you wait for the time or the money or the right set of
Having kids, for example. We
have four. If we had waited until we could afford them, we’d have none.
No one (I know, anyway) can afford kids—they’re crazy expensive.
Going back to school. That’s
expensive too. It consumes your life and can be unbelievably
frustrating. There’s never a perfect time.
Writing that book. No one has
time for that either.
But if the desire is in your
heart, you do it.
If you want to be a mother,
nothing is more important than holding your child. You have faith that
finances will work out.
If you are burning to go back to
school, you will find a way. You save money and make your coffee at
home rather than spending $5 a day for Starbucks. You stay up late to
study. You make it happen and have faith that your tomorrow will be
And if you have a story burning,
if you wake up in the middle of the night with new plot points, if you
kill off people in your imagination while you converse with your
friends, time is not the obstacle that keeps you from writing that
We do the impossible every day.
We just don’t think about it.
But all that doing requires
sacrifice. Learning to write while taking care of four kids was a
process for me. It started with going back to school as an adult. It
started with faith in myself and my family. And, like all good
journeys, it began with a single step.
That doesn’t mean I’ve found
some kind of magic organizational calendar that keeps my life perfectly
ordered. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t forget things and end up
making a lot of apologies. What it does mean is that I know what is
important for my family and me, and I leave the rest.
Writing that book while working
and parenting and all the other –ings I must do is sometimes about
sacrifice, but truthfully it’s about faith. Faith that what I work on
today will bear fruit in the future. Even with that faith, it can be
hard to see the struggle in a positive light. In the dark, during the
days where I am slammed with emails and trying to meet a deadline, the
days when the kids are sick and my husband is traveling and the garage
door breaks . . . those days have taught me that some things that I
have to accept about my author-by-night life.
I will go to bed with a longer to do list than I had that morning.
• My kids will have to do chores and tasks around the house.
• My house will not always be clean.
These things seem like
negatives. To be honest, at one point, they were. Over the years
though, I’ve learned to embrace them.
So my list is longer, and some days I feel like I didn’t get enough
done. So what? I am needed—by my husband, my children, my students, and
my jobs. Being needed can be hard but not as hard as not being needed.
• Some days my kids fold their own laundry. After teaching freshman
English for a couple of years, I’m telling you, this is not a negative
in any way.
• And the dirty house? I’ve come to develop a thirty-minute level of
acceptance. As long as my house can be presentable for company in less
than thirty minutes, we are good to go.
The positive spin on potentially
negative circumstances gives me the ability to turn off the
distractions and write. It has also given me the ability to show my
children by example that working hard can and will pay off. They have
watched me go back to school, graduate, face rejection, work at jobs I
didn’t necessarily enjoy, write way past their bedtime, go back to
school, graduate again, face more rejection. And finally, they watched
me cry when I read the email with my first contract for a book. They’ve
seen it happen. Hard work paying off is not an abstract concept for
them, and now that they are older, they face the world with the
knowledge that what they do today makes a difference in their
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is
confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”
(NIV). When I decided to go back to school, I had faith that the future
I couldn’t see would benefit from my sacrifice. Faith was the link
between what was my obvious reality and my hoped-for result.
Without that faith I would have
never even tried, because, from where I stood, it was impossible. I
didn’t have the time. I didn’t have the money, and going back to school
was giving me something else to fill my already impossibly full days.
But in the hard times, the good
came through. D. L. Moody said, “Faith makes all things possible . . .
love makes all things easy.”
Writers often refer to their
books as their babies. After all, you have to nurture them, give them
attention, invest in them, and believe in them. As parents, we don’t
even see the sacrifices we make to give our children the best lives
possible. We love them. They are not work. And if you are a writer, if
you have stories inside you, if you are an author by night, the same
I do not have the time to write.
No author by night does. But we do it because we love it.
If you have a story burning
inside but are waiting for the right time to start, I have news for
you. You will never write that story. If you can find the faith to take
that first step, to face that blank page and fall in love with the
challenges, and if for a short time you can muster the hope to see the
negatives in a positive light, then maybe that story will come out.
And maybe your faith will make
the impossible possible.