Friday, September 5, 2008

Writing: For the Work-At-Home Mom

What is your idea of a successful life? Mine has changed greatly over the years. That’s due in great part to the deep well of grace I’ve needed as a work-at-home mom.

When I started writing my first book, the week I received my contract was also the week my hubby hauled into the living room three sweet children in need of long term care. In addition to our own three, ages twelve to two, three more kids was a load. The baby had attachment issues and a stomach disorder that caused him to cry well into the early morning hours. We had planned and sacrificed to be debt free so that I could come home and build a full time writing career. To have the tables turn on me so suddenly made me feel like a dispensable pawn in life’s scheme. I invited a young single woman to move in with us for that season and she took on the task of sitting up with the baby until he fell asleep. But I still had all of the others to care for and a book to write.
I’m not good at writing with any noise at all, not like some writers that peck away with the earphones on. My only choice was to get up at three in the morning when everyone was sleeping. I wrote until dawn and did that for six months until my first book was finished--almost exactly the length of time we cared for those children.
It taught me that I didn’t have to have the perfect circumstances to write. It also helped me to build some disciplinary muscles, to be aware of the down time of my family so that I could grab some up time at my computer. Best of all, I learned to work feet-on-the-ground, realizing what I could still accomplish and have the life I really wanted, to be at home and watch my family grow while I grew in the career I loved.

Success for me is not about having a New York Times bestselling book, but about building the life you want. Funny how the training season helps transform not only writing but personal goals. Funny too, how the training season never ends.

“Trying hard can accomplish so much. If you are serious . . . you will have to enter into a life of training.” John Ortberg