Elizabeth Ludwig

Elizabeth Ludwig’s first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, was released in spring of 2008 from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. Books two and three of this series, Died in the Wool, and A Black Die Affair, respectively, are slated for release in 2010. Elizabeth also has a Christmas anthology coming in 2009. Her work, I’ll Be Home for Christmas will be part of a collection called Christmas Homecoming from Barbour Publishing. Attendance at writer’s conventions like the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference and active membership in her ACFW critique group have helped hone her skills. In 2008, Elizabeth was named the IWA Writer of the Year for her work on Where the Truth Lies. She is a regular contributor to the popular literary blog, Novel Journey, named one of Writer Digest’s 101 Most Valuable Websites for Writers, 2008, and she manages Spyglass Lane, the official blog for readers and members of the Heartsong Presents Mysteries book club. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and dramatist, having performed before audiences of 1500 and more. She works fulltime, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Texas. To learn more about Elizabeth and her work, visit her at www.elizabethludwig.com.

Author by Night by Elizabeth Ludwig

I love that title.

It conjures up images of dedicated, driven writers pounding away on their antique typewriters, or squinting at their computer screens, their faces lit by the soft glow of their monitors.

I wish!

The truth is distractions are common in my household. You see, by day I work full time at a public school as the Employee Benefits Coordinator. Also by day, I’m a part-time youth minister. How many days are there? Barely enough to squeeze in wife, mother, sister, daughter, editor, speaker, crit partner . . . oh, yeah, and author.

That last one can get tricky when all my other “jobs” scream for my attention. Like last month, for example. My youth group and I traveled from Texas to Michigan on a combination mission/camp trip. While there, my agent called to tell me my historical romance sold. I was thrilled . . . briefly. Inside, worship had begun and I had several students I felt were nearing decisions. So, I thanked my long-suffering agent, told him I would e-mail him for the details when I got back home, and promptly hung up.

With so many things tugging me in different directions, people often ask me how I do it all. The truth is I could do nothing if not for Christ. It’s His wisdom that guides me when I spread myself too thin. He strengthens me when I wonder where I will find the time to do all that He has called me to do. Finally, He equips me with the courage and grace to keep on writing when weariness and rejections make me doubt my talent.

After that, it’s all about discipline.

Yes, I believe God has given me a calling. Yes, I believe He equips and strengthens those He calls. But I also believe unless I am faithful to steward my time and discipline my work habits, I’m not fulfilling my end of the bargain. To that end, I’ve created a few simple rules that enable me to “do it all.”

1. Stay organized. Hunting for stuff and scrambling through partial lists is a time-waster.

2. Focus on one task until it is accomplished. I do more when I don’t start too many things at once.

3. Limit television and Internet time. I check e-mail periodically throughout the day, so there is no need to let it interfere with my writing time, which happens mostly at night.

4. When I have a deadline, I force myself to write at least 1000 words a day, whether I feel like it or not. Writing is a job just like any other, and I need to treat it as such. Now, if I could just find a way to make it pay as well . . .

5. Invest in creating a detailed timeline (or story outline). This makes the actual writing of the story much faster and helps me avoid those “writer’s block” walls where I don’t know what happens next.
6. Try to stay rested. I am much more creative when I’ve had plenty of sleep and my mind isn’t fuzzy with fatigue.

7. Last, but not least, prayer, patience, and quiet moments with the Lord all add up to a successful writing day.

And that’s it! Simple, right? Well, maybe not, but certainly doable if I pay particular attention to rule number seven. After all, wasn’t it His idea that I seek Him first? I’m inclined to think He told me that for a reason.