Sandra D. Bricker

After fifteen-plus years as an entertainment publicist for some of daytime television’s hottest stars, Sandra D. Bricker put Hollywood in her rearview mirror to follow the call of God on her life. She is now a best-selling, award-winning author of thirteen published novels with five more books slated for publication through 2013. She is also the lead author for a line of lighthearted devotionals for women on the go published by Summerside Press. Sandie currently resides in Central Florida and makes her living as a freelance novelist, occasional editor, and sometimes publicist. Visit Sandra at her website

Author By Night

In The Middle of the Best Laid Plans...

I’ve seen a commercial trailer lately for a movie starring some of my favorite people: Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, and Pierce Brosnan. It’s called I Don’t Know How She Does It, and the movie chronicles the life of a wife, mother, and professional woman trying to juggle all the details of a jam-packed life. Bear in mind that I am not a wife or a mother, and I recently left corporate America behind in pursuit of full-time writing . . . but for some reason, that movie trailer speaks to me.

I was working approximately forty-eight hours per week at a day job at a telecommunications company, surrounded by detail-oriented folk perfectly suited to their surroundings, people who made their entire lives about conference calls, status meetings and graph reports, when I began selling my most high-profile books. Because my commitment pie chart showed The Writer Life as my main priority, I had to figure out some way to write those books while pedaling as fast as I could on the day job. It’s odd how a schedule with absolutely no spare time can suddenly be adjusted to accommodate something we really want, don’t you think? But if I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I don’t know how you do it!” well, I’d be typing this from my beach house overlooking the blue Pacific.

I probably prayed for three straight years, asking God to make a way for me to quit my day job and write full time, before the details of my life moved into place and I felt released to do just that. I revised the letter of resignation I’d been nursing for a year or more, turned it in, and didn’t look back! I dove headfirst into TGU (The Great Unknown).

Do you remember learning to dive into a swimming pool? My first time, I belly flopped. The second time, I skinned my forehead on the bottom of the shallow end. The third time, I panicked in midair and hit the water in an awkward fetal position. But my meticulously planned dive into TGU went fairly well this time around. I had a book to finish and two more contracted, so a lot of focus was required. I respond well to deadlines and the need for focus. So I made a writing schedule on the white board in my office, created Excel trackers, and color coded my files for future convenience. This full-time professional writer couldn’t have been more ready for a smooth, flopless dive.

Was it John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans”?

After not even two weeks of my new life, all my preparations and plans assumed the fetal position when a midnight episode of intense pain, high fevers, and a ride in an ambulance kicked off more than five months of health challenges that nearly ended my life. Kidney stones, infections, toxic blood, three surgeries, renal failure . . .

I’m happy to report that a couple of genius specialists swooped in with angels’ wings, discovered what no one else could seem to identify, and I am now regrouping to launch Full-Time Writer Life

2.0. I’ll start by adjusting the dates on the white board, dusting off my beautiful color-coded file folders, and searching my desktop for notes on a contracted book that I can barely remember at the moment!

While I was sick, I (almost) remember a phone conversation I had with my agent, Rachelle Gardner, in which she reminded me about the shelf life of our best-laid plans when they come up against what she called acts of God. “These are not things we can change,” she reassured me. “So you worry about getting well and strong. I’ll worry about the rest.” And she did.

I like to believe that everything in life, good or bad, comes with a lesson of some kind; a sort of takeaway that we can store in our mental color-coded file cabinets for later use in case we need them. For my situation, my lesson is twofold: 1) John Lennon really was the genius I suspected he was; and 2) balancing a writer life—whether supported by a day job or dense with freelance contracts and deadlines—requires flexibility of thought. Something will always jump into the road to distract or reroute you. So my best advice is to do your exercises now and limber up! You’ll have to step back, take a deep breath, and be ready to bend. If you find you can’t do that, I hear there’s an opening or two in corporate America.


Always the Wedding Planner Never the Bride