Ronie Kendig

Ronie has been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. She has four beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is 16 this year, her second daughter will be 13, and her twin boys are 10. After having four children, she finally finished her degree in December 2006. She now has a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting her degree is a huge triumph for both her and her family--they survived!! This degree has also given her a fabulous perspective on her characters and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation. Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning released March 2010 from Abingdon Press. And her Discarded Heroes series begins in July from Barbour with the first book entitled Nightshade. Visit her at

Going In All Directions At Once

by Ronie Kendig

E. L. Doctorow said, “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

I agree. As a wife, mother to four, and an author, I often feel pulled in many directions. I am convinced that my to-do list will outlive me. As I sit here writing this article, it seems a tad silly because I know that all writers have challenges and obstacles to conquer and overcome so they are able to put pen to paper, or keyboard to monitor.

For me, homeschooling my four children has proven the greatest challenge to writing consistently. Let me explain. My children are sixteen, thirteen, and the twins are ten. It is a blessing that my girls are older and can manage their days on their own, but both my twins have tendencies toward Asperger’s syndrome.

And therein lies part of the “problem” (please know I use that term loosely)—not the syndrome, not the boys. They can function one-on-one without problem because they are missing a key attribute of Asperger’s, and thus will never be clinically diagnosed with the syndrome. Therefore, gaining the appropriate support and assistance for them in a public school was a challenge I battled for several years, until I finally realized my boys would be best served in the quiet and peace of our own home, away from crowds and overstimulation.

God blessed me while earning my bachelor’s degree—and before I learned of my twins’ tendencies—by prompting me with a fascination with the spectrum. I did every research paper and term paper on autism and Asperger’s syndrome. The summer before a psychologist declared the boys had a “truckload” of Aspie symptoms, I held an internship at a facility that specializes in helping children within spectrum thrive. I learned how to educate them—how to “reroute” their thinking and gain their cooperation.

I absolutely love homeschooling my children, and on the days my boys completely wear me out, I am once again grateful for the blessing of my education and the opportunity to provide the boys a quiet place for their learning with modifications tailored to their needs and the myriad of idiosyncrasies.

But this very same blessing of homeschooling my children often makes it a great challenge to accomplish . . . well, anything else. Some days it takes us an hour to get through one math lesson that should (normally) take twenty minutes. Other times the boys become agitated, and instead of working, they experience a meltdown. The toll it exacts from me and my mood is strenuous. At times, I’ve found this quite frustrating—yet how can I complain?

So I feel a mixture of guilt and frustration (don’t we all feel that to some degree?). Last semester (fall ’09) proved quite adventurous with one daughter in driver’s education, one child in a church group that met on Tuesdays, Webelos for the twins on Tuesdays, soccer practice on Wednesdays, my husband attending college on Mondays, and family night on Fridays. That left me with Thursdays—and of course the weekend, but we had soccer games on Saturdays and church on Sundays.

Quickly, I started losing my joy of writing. That was, in all honesty, the greatest fear I faced in seeking publication. I remember my husband, oh so many years ago, prodding me to try to get published. I shunned and abhorred the idea. Partially out of fear of rejection, but also I was intensely afraid that the one thing I loved as much as breathing—writing—would become a chore.

It took rearranging our lives, implementing a daily service-opportunity chart (thanks to my friend KW) with all work around the house spelled out and distributed over every day of the week, save Sundays, to help me find balance once again. It required my girls to assume some responsibilities in the family, including helping with meals on certain days. Our motto is We’re a Family; everyone helps.

So it was that I reclaimed my writing time, learned once again how to focus on my Audience of One, to dig in and find the deep thrill and joy of writing. Together with my family, writing became a priority (not over my family, but with the help of my family). My family is still adjusting to my writing as a “job”—a career that requires the same diligence their father gives to his job. I have a doorknocker on the knob of my office door. My children now know that when the door is closed and they see the knocker, that’s my writing time. No interruptions unless there’s blood or money involved (just joking—about the money, that is).

It’s not easy. As a matter of fact, it’s quite draining. I don’t like being shut away from my family (I’m very much a people person), but I am committed to my career; however, I am flexible and so is the family. Brian, my husband, is amazing in that if I have missed a great deal of time from writing because of family obligations, appointments, unexpected illness, or whatnots, he helps me take a good portion of a Saturday, or sometimes a Sunday, so that I can catch up and plug-in again.

Normal Vincent Peale said, “Nothing of great value in this life comes easily. The things of highest value sometimes come hard. The gold that has the greatest value lies deepest in the earth, as do the diamonds.” So true. Writing is hard work. It involves commitment, not just from oneself, but from those who must support us in this fabulous journey as we cut, polish, and let gleam the diamonds of our writing!


Dead Reckoning