This point of writing this article is partly stress-relief, but, hopefully, it will also serve as light-hearted absolution and encouragement for anyone else who is in my shoes right now.
So...here's my list!
1. Let yourself be a little crazy.
Cut yourself some slack, and know that this season of life won't last forever. Maybe someday, you’ll become a successful author and won’t need the nine-to-five job to pay the bills. That, or your spirit will be crushed from the struggle and you’ll go back to “only” working full-time, raising children, and managing a household. For now, if you forget a birthday party your child was invited to, it's okay. In six months, they won’t even remember. If you forget to pack a child’s lunch and have to leave work to take them something from a drive-through, it's okay. They will be thrilled to have nuggets and fries instead of a Lunchable. And if you call your spouse by the name of your story's protagonist, it's okay. They probably weren’t even listening anyway since they have gotten so used to you being buried in your laptop screen instead of engaging them. It's okay to be a little crazy right now.
2. Hire a maid.
If you have to, break open the piggy bank (yours or your kids’) and pay someone to rescue your family from the disaster area your home has become since you started the undertaking of writing and publishing a book. There is no shame in this. It’s completely understandable that every time you start to fill the dishwasher you think of a great piece of dialogue and have to leave the dishes floating in milk from that morning’s cereal so you can write before the thought is gone. It’s understandable that you want to spend the only free hour you have after the kids are asleep writing, instead of scrubbing cat puke stains out of the carpet. It’s okay. A maid service every other a week will do wonders.
3. Don't sleep.
This is an acquired skill. And if you are able to attain it, you might be able to skip Step 2 and use some of your unnatural awake-time to actually clean your house, or fill out those field trip permission slips and book order forms, in addition to editing your manuscript. But more than likely, your hands will be on the keyboard anyway, right up until the moment you fall asleep and start drooling on the space bar.
4. Have a really great spouse who doesn't mind if you're a little crazy and the house is a mess.
Having a supportive husband or wife is a huge benefit for aspiring authors. If yours isn’t supportive, I’m not suggesting you trade them in for one who is. But if you do have one, let them know how invaluable their support is, and they will likely continue giving it, even when the level of crazy spikes and they’ve had to empty the dishwasher the last five times in a row.
5. Pray. Often.
This one is a serious one. Pray to make sure this dream that you feel God has put in your spirit is really from Him. Then pray for endurance to reach the goal. Pray for wisdom and guidance, to find the right agent and the right publisher. Pray for an audience for your book. Pray for your spouse, that they continue to overlook the crazy. Pray for your family to thrive, even in the midst of chaos.
6. Read your writing to your children.
Share your work with your kids. Let them see you struggle over it. Let them watch you work hard, and share your successes with them. Teach them how to chase their dreams. This is part of your legacy for them- words that you’ve birthed into a story that will stay with them after you’re gone.
If you and I are in the same boat, I hope you found this list helpful! Please comment and share if you have some tips to add!
Venturing away from my devotional-style blog posts, this one is a bit more personal. I am writing this mainly to set up "Part II" of this post- a humorous article called "How To Be An Aspiring Author While Working a Full-time Day Job and Raising Small Children" (how's that for a title?). But I realized, in order for me to start writing articles about writing, I first need to explain to family and friends what I am doing.
While my blog is 95% my thoughts on scripture, it is also about life in general, and my life has been even crazier than normal lately. Back in July, "out of nowhere" (read, God works in mysterious ways) I had an idea for a story (see my Writing page) pop into my head. I started writing and couldn't stop until the story was complete and I had a novel (although at 42,000 words it is considered a short novel). Now, I am starting the journey of getting it published.
Announcing to the world that I am "trying" to get a book published is a scary thing, since there are so many unknowns. But I do believe I will publish it eventually. The question is, will God allow me to have it published traditionally or go through self-publication? I've stopped and started so many projects over the years, and I've had so many "passions" that fizzled out, it's daunting to broadcast this one. But I have a clearer vision now for my writing, and I have some specific goals in mind to help me not lose the fire on this one.
But can I just share with you a little bit of my crazy, blessed life right now?
I know there are plenty of people who are just as busy as we are, if not busier. But whew! Sometimes it feels like my head is spinning! And I am so incredibly happy to be on this journey! I feel like God is shaping and molding our lives, and we want His will to be done in everything! I am so very thankful for His leading, and I am thankful for the busy seasons in life!
Ecclesiastes 3:1: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
"For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (From 1 Samuel 16:7)
I wrote this short story for children three years ago. It's about not judging people by their outward appearance. Now, I'm pasting the entire store as a blog entry, in hopes of spreading the message. Go here to download: Children's Stories
Remy's New Friend
"What's that you say?" the man in the frumpy brown sweater asked curiously.
Remy turned around hesitantly. She hadn't meant for anyone to hear her mumbling. She stared blankly at the man until he asked again, "What did you say?"
Remy knew better than to talk to strangers. But her mother smiled and nodded at her from the corner of the bookstore to let her know it was okay. "I was just thinking out loud," Remy said.
"Oh, yes, yes. Very good. Thinking is important," replied the man. "But what did you say?" There was concern in the man's voice, but it was also very gentle. He had a nice smile, and he stood patiently waiting for the girl's answer as she inspected him.
The man had a funny accent. His pants were a bit too short, revealing mismatched socks, and he wore a big, furry sweater, although it was almost July. He had funny hair, parted too far over on one side, and a few pieces fell down into his eyes which were framed by thick, dark-rimmed glasses. But the eyes behind those glasses were remarkably kind-looking.
About the Blog
Thank you for visiting my blog. I share devotional and Bible study-type posts as well as musings about my life, parenting, and the writing journey, and important news about my books. I hope you find something encouraging and/or entertaining here.