What I’ve found is
that God paves the way with a few “get-cha’s...
The kids are screaming. The
phone is ringing. The laundry buzzer is blaring. And I’ve got payroll
for my company spread all over my desk. Tomorrow, edits for my next
book are due. Caller ID tells me the guy on the phone is one of my best
Welcome to my life . . .
welcome to a typical day for this “author by night.”
Crazy? Can one person really do
all of this?
To answer your first question:
Yeah, I’m insane.
And your second: Yeah, it can be
done. Really, truly it can!
People often ask me how I write
my novels with four little kids at home and a business to run. Truth
is, it ain’t easy. But it is possible. It’s got to be.
In fact, John Stackhouse, Jr.,
sets forth two truths of Christian discipleship in his new book Making
the Best of It: Following Christ in the Real World: “(1) the
primary calling of Christians is to increase in knowledge and love of
God and to do what he wants us to do, and (2) God will provide
Christians with all we need to fulfill that calling.” Thank goodness,
because my life depends on Stackhouse’s being right. I count on the
fact that if God has asked me to both work and write (which I’m pretty
sure He has!), then He will provide me with a way to do it, as
crazy-impossible as it sometimes seems.
So, bottom line is that if
working and writing is what God is asking of me, and of you, then He’ll
make a way for us to do it. And what I’ve found is that God paves the
way with a few “get-cha’s.”
(1) First, get-cha
a laptop computer, or at least some kind of mobile writing device. You
have be able to take your writing with you—jot down ideas at lunchtime,
write during out-of-town trips, steal a few moments when you’re waiting
for clients, and write anywhere when you get a chance at night.
Mobility is key!
(2) Second, get-cha
help. It’s hard to be an “author by night” when you’re doing it alone.
Do you have a spouse who can take over household chores a couple nights
a week while you write? Do you have a family member who can watch the
kids for a few hours on Saturdays to give you a block of time to focus
on your book? Or maybe you have a friend whom you can pay to do some
simple chores, pick up groceries, or help in other ways to free up
(3) Third, get-cha
a plan. How many words a week, or chapters a week, or pages a week (or
whatever system you prefer) do you need to write to meet your writing
goals? Figure it out, write it down, and reward yourself when you meet
make a plan, decide what kind
of writer you are. Do you write well in shorter stints, a half hour
here or there? Or are you a bigger chunk writer? Do you need at least
two solid hours to get into the groove?
short-stinters, set aside a
half hour of your lunch break for writing. And set specific time each
night for writing.
For long-stinters, use some of
your lunch time to mull over plot ideas and jot down notes. Then, plan
a couple nights a week
to have extended time for
Get away from
your regular work desk. If you have kids, ask your spouse, a family
member, or a friend to take care of dinner one night a week so you can
have the whole evening to write. Or, if you have older kids, once a
week pick up takeout on the way home and have them eat around the
dinner table by themselves while you focus on your book. Or if you have
young children, hire a babysitter once or twice a week—do whatever you
need to do to get effective writing time.
And always, always, always set
aside one day a week for rest (for those of us not on pastoral staff,
Sundays are a great time for this).
(4) Sound good? Well, sorry, it
won’t work unless you . . . get-cha accountability!
Face it, when you work all day,
it’s easy to come home, kick back, and say you’ll write tomorrow, or
the tomorrow after that, or the tomorrow after that. . . . Except
tomorrow rarely comes. After all, a full-time job is exhausting. So
what you need is a friend or two who will help keep you accountable for
your weekly goals. Find someone to whom you can report your progress,
and who will ask you how your writing is coming if they haven’t heard
from you. And it’s even better if these friends will also commit to
pray for you and your writing.
(5) And last, get-cha
gratitude. Be thankful for your regular job. Besides the money it
brings in (which most likely is a lot more than your writing), think of
your daytime job as a great place to inspire your creativity. Need some
interesting personal quirks for your characters? Study people at work.
Watch how hairstyles, clothes, and mannerisms of the people around you
tell you more about who they really are. What traits are endearing?
What things annoy you? Use them! Allow your work to be a place where
you feed your creativity, experience life, and interact with all sorts
So, call me crazy for trying to
run a business, raise a houseful of little girls, and write novels,
too. But, hey, with God, all things are possible . . .