A message to moms who can’t find time to write…

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There are many things on my life’s “to do” list–worthy endeavors–which I have had to erase and replace with something else because they were not expedient for my best growth.  At least not right now.  For example, I’ve got ideas for about four more novels swimming around in my head, and that’s not including the the four series I’ve already started.

It may happen some day.  Or not.

You see, I’m also busy being a mom, and that takes quite a bit of time if I want to do it right.

photo credit: lovingmylot.com
photo credit: lovingmylot.com

Here’s the thing: the kids will grow and be gone in less than a decade.  In that time, my ideas and skills will only continue to grow as long as I nurture them.

The books can wait.  My kids can’t.

Raising a family is a sacred endeavor, and God has promised again and again that if we put first things first, He’ll take care of the rest.

Besides, ten years from now, I’ll have a different perspective on life that will surely add depth to my writing that is impossible to obtain now.

Perhaps the greatest growth taking place in my life right now is learning to stop asking, “When is it my turn?” or “Why not me?” and to start asking, “What will You have me do or be?”  Each time I surrender to God’s will, I find that He strengthens me to do so much more than was my own goal.

Skeptics may call this a cop-out or a selling-myself-short thing.  They may say that I lack ambition or drive.  But  I still write every day.  I still work at my craft.  And I do have nine books available on Amazon right now, selling enough to pay for much-needed mommy spa days, etc.

I know that the world will keep revolving in the meantime and–in the grand scheme of things–life is not about me.

I know there are thousands of you out there with books inside of you. Perhaps, you feel buried under the laundry and dirty dishes, and swept away by the carpooling and PTA meetings.  You wonder when you’ll ever find time to write before midnight or after dawn.  To you I say,

Hang in there.  Treasure this time, for it shall quickly pass.  What you are doing now, building up the character and capacity of your children, will be the greatest legacy you leave.  Don’t underestimate the worth of your endeavors.  Think of those people who have most inspired you over the years and realize that you are one of those people for someone else–and your children will be, too.

Great things are coming your way, mom.

Why not everyone will love your writing (and why you shouldn’t let that get you down).

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Family and friends love everything you do and cheer you on enthusiastically.

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Except when they don’t.

I started publishing books four years ago, and I have family members who have yet to read more than one of my nine books. Most have not given much feedback.

Now, I could get all depressed and feel sorry for myself, or think unkindly of them.  But none of that would matter because their reactions boil down to a very simple matter which is out of my control (and theirs).

They simply don’t like to read the genres I write.  Period.  It’s not their thing.

Most of them prefer nonfiction.  Self-improvement, news, history…anything with lots of facts and very few adjectives.  They don’t want to have to imagine anything in their heads or keep straight a winding plot line and large cast of characters. So, duh.  They don’t like reading stuff with weird names, imaginary locations, and bizarre mystical happenings.

And you know what?  I feel the same way about the stuff they read.  Snoozer…  Who gives a diddly?  What a waste of time!  Does that mean the writers of their favorite books are bad?  Of course not! It means that you have to get your book to readers who like your genre.  Otherwise, they won’t be able to give you feedback that will improve your work within its style context.

Ultimately, one critic matters most. You have to like the way the final product feels.  Because it has your name on it.

So don’t sweat it if your true crime mystery-reading cousin slashes your romantic comedy.  Don’t get mad if your gardening how-to aficionado friend thinks your historical fiction is too flowery.  Shrug it off when your sci-fi geek of a brother takes a laser to your personal memoir. Let it go. And keep writing!  Those for whom your words mean the most will respond with vigorous approbation.  That’s your target audience, and you will  hit a bulls-eye for them.

Just because you can’t hang it on the fridge with a magnet…

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From childhood, people who like to paint or draw often receive encouragement from friends and family, as do those who create music or dance.  This happens even if no one is paying them to do so…yet or ever.  They hang the art on the wall or come to the concerts and cheer.  They love the creativity.  They love what they get to see.

So why is it different for writers?  Many writers I have come to know work hard at their art form–words and storytelling–but support for this effort is hindered because, until the story is printed in a book, it doesn’t feel “real”.  It isn’t as accessible.  You can’t hang a novel manuscript on a fridge because the magnets aren’t strong enough. Truth be told, once a kid passes the single-page illustrated stories of 1st grade, the writing fans tend to drop off. It simply takes more of an investment for them to understand what has been created because they have to sit down and exert mental effort. It isn’t a glance. It isn’t passive entertainment.  It simply takes too long, and it doesn’t look polished enough to merit the effort.

I’ve seen years of hard work dismissed as a waste of time because the book did not receive professional approbation through some big house publisher or literary agent.

Of course, such a line of thought is completely false, but writers can’t wait for the audience to figure that out.

Singers sing to the radio and with their iPod; they sing in church or at school; they sing because they love singing, and sometimes they make it big.  But if not, they still get “She has such a lovely voice!”

Artists doodle in margins and sketch on napkins; they cover the walls with canvasses or the shelves with sculptures; they create art because they love creating, and sometimes they make it big.  But if not, they still get “My son made that!  Isn’t it brilliant?”

Writers jot down ideas and outlines; they scribble poems and stories; they write because they love writing, and sometimes they make it big.  But if not—?

Well,  just keep working at your art form.  Words can paint pictures.  Words can make the soul sing.  Words introduce us to new people and take us to new lands and times.  They have power to be as beautiful and inspiring as any other fine art.  Find a way to share it.  The internet certainly is a good tool for that.

And those who do take the time to explore your creations will be enriched by the experience.  They will share a piece of your creative world, and it will stay with them, possibly forever.

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