I got the “author by night” assignment, I thought, Hmm… When
was the last time I was up late enough that it qualified as “night”?
Been awhile, I’m afraid.
Seriously, I am NOT a night
person. The problem is, I’m not really a
morning person either, though my current lifestyle requires that I get
up most days at dark o’clock. And I must admit that once I’ve rolled
out of that warm, cozy bed, I really do accomplish a lot in those early
For one thing, my husband heads
off to work before the chickens are
out and about, and my almost 90-year-old mom (who lives with us) rarely
opens her eyes before eight or so. Hence, the house is quiet and I can
actually grab some alone time with the Lord before jumping feet-first
into my daily to-do list. And that, I suppose, is the secret to pretty
much everything I do—before or after dark, as an author or otherwise.
If I miss that beginning-of-the-day time of prayer and Bible reading
and worship, I’m definitely starting off on the wrong foot, and my day
almost always goes downhill from there.
I’m actually quite blessed (and
have been for some years now) to be
able to write (my own books and scores more for other people, as well
as being a regular contributor to Crosswalk, The Christian Pulse, Pearl
Girls, International Christian Fiction Writers, Churchmouse, and
various other online publications, including this one) and edit
fulltime, rather than trying to squeeze in a little writing time after
getting home from a “real” job. (Yes, through the years I’ve had
several of those—including bank teller, pre-school teacher, church
secretary, bookkeeper, string reporter and newspaper columnist, adult
curriculum editor at Gospel Light Publishing, and biblical
counselor/pastoral team member at a large SoCal church.) Do I miss any
of them? Only every couple of weeks when I realize that if I had a
“real” job I’d also have a “real” paycheck. But the flexibility and
freedom of working at home is worth the tradeoffs—most of the time.
One of the primary
responsibilities I juggle with my fulltime
writing/editing job is being the primary caretaker for my almost
90-year-old mother, who lives with us. In addition to caring for her
24/7 when I’m home, I have to make arrangements for her care when I’m
gone—which happens often because that’s another one of my “author by
night” activities. In addition to being a writer/editor, I’m a speaker.
I teach at writer’s and women’s conferences, workshops, and retreats,
and have recently been doing some national and international TV
appearances, all of which require being away from home for several days
at a time. It also requires a great sense of humor because I DON’T DO
PUBLIC SPEAKING! At least, that’s what I always thought. When I became
a Christian at 26, I even explained that to God—the very first day!
You’d think He would have paid attention.
And so I do my best to balance
traveling and public speaking—which
I’ve actually come to enjoy very much—with my writing, editing, and
caretaking. In addition, I am what I call “an occasional radio show
host.” Along with artist Ron DiCianni, I co-host blogtalkradio show
“Communicate the Vision,” a program that highlights Christians who are
using the arts to honor God and preach the Gospel. Though we don’t have
a set time for broadcasts, we line up our guests and find a time that
works for all of us, then lock it in and announce it all over the
Internet. Blogtalkradio is the perfect medium for that type of thing
because it archives the shows and people can go to listen any time they
wish. Our most recent guests include Jerry Jenkins, Jane Hampton Cook,
and Carol Kent , and we have several others in the works.
a more personal level, in addition to being
married to my junior/senior high school sweetheart, Al (whom I’ve known
since we were six, though we didn’t like one another much at the time),
I’m a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. (Trust me, I still
have trouble absorbing that myself!) But as I tell our burgeoning clan,
we aren’t over the hill yet! Al still rides his Harley (forty years
after buying his first one), and I ride with him—on the back of his,
not on my own. (And now you know where I got the name “Easy Writer.”
Many have commented to me that it’s a cute name, but few have seen me
in my leathers and helmet. Send chocolate and you just might get a
chance one of these days!)
I can’t finish up an explanation
of my “author by night” life
without mentioning my wonderful church family at Nuevo Community
Church. What a supportive bunch! I miss them when I’m doing my “road
warrior” thing, but always glad to check in for hugs and warm welcomes
when I’m home.
I also am active in several
writers/speakers’ groups, including AWSA
(Advanced Writers/Speakers Association, where I received the Member of
the Year award in 2008—yeah, ME, the one does NOT do public speaking!);
CAN (Christian Authors Network, where I serve as spiritual
adviser—which should give you pause if you’re considering joining the
group); Christian Writers Fellowship International; Orange County
Christian Writers’ Fellowship; ACFW (American Christian Fiction
Writers); ICFW (International Christian Fiction Writers); The Christian
PEN (Proofreaders/Editors Network); Christian Communicator Manuscript
Critique Service; and Wonderful Wordsmiths.
And that about sums it up! It
also brings us full circle to why I
grab myself by the hair of my head and haul myself out of bed before
the sun is up. Without my quiet time with the Lord each morning, the
rest of this would simply overwhelm me and I’d throw in the towel.
(Trust me, there are easier ways to make minimum wage or less!) But God
has called me to be a communicator, and so (in spite of myself), I am.
And I am so grateful for the opportunity! At the same time, I stand
ready to lay it down at a moment’s notice—if God calls me to do
something else, or if He calls me home. My “author by night” life
begins and ends with Him, and that’s the Truth that keeps everything
else in perspective.