Don't Try This at Home by Author Yvonne Anderson

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Do you dream of becoming an author? Searching for a professional writer to emulate? 

Don’t look at me; I’m a rotten role model.

Let’s walk through my typical day to see what I mean.

I set an alarm for six, but I’m usually up before then. I hobble into the kitchen and turn on the coffee. Then I shower to bring me fully awake—and to tame my hopeless bed-head, which, thanks to my three (3) cowlicks, cannot be brought under control without copious amounts of water. 

After that, I start writing? Nope. A cup of black coffee in hand, I spend the next hour to hour-and-a-half in prayer and Bible study.

And then I get down to work, right? Wrong. This is where I have breakfast and my second (and last) cup of coffee. I talk with my husband—who, being retired, has no particular schedule but is always up and about by breakfast time—and putter around on my laptop (check emails, blogs, etc.). Then I clean up the kitchen, fix my hair (which has been air-drying), and go to work.

I’m a church secretary. I began working there in January. I hadn’t been looking for a job, but, since my husband and I moved here in November, I had been looking for a church, and the Lord led me to a church and a job at the same time.

And because He is merciful, the job is only part-time, so I’m home in time for lunch.

Now I start my writing day, right? Umm… not usually. I mentioned that we moved recently, and that my husband’s retired. I should also tell you he’s a handyman, and quite a good one. Put all these together, and what do you get? A guy who always has projects going on, both in the house and in the yard. And who, bless his heart, only has two hands.

I wish I had a dollar for every “do you have a minute?” Or worse yet, “Are you busy? Because I could really use some help” (that one should be worth $2 at least). If I were paid for each of those requests, I could afford to hire an assistant for him. Or at least, I’d be making more money than I do selling books, which I can’t seem to ever get written because somebody is always interrupting me.

This has been the situation for quite some time, because before we moved, he was getting our previous home spruced up for sale. I haven’t had any time to myself since 2012, when I wrote my current new release, Ransom in the Rock. (Just got around to publishing it, but it’s been finished for quite a while.)

The interruptions used to drive. Me. Mad. Especially when reading advice from successful authors about how, if you’re going to take your writing profession seriously, you need to plant your posterior in the chair and write, write, write – don’t be distracted – tell your family to not interrupt you – blah blah blah.

It finally occurred to me: the profession I take most seriously is that of my faith in Christ. I write because He urged me in that direction. But did He ever suggest I make it my career? No; it’s people who tell me that, not God. 

Has He commanded I be submissive to my husband? Absolutely. Does “submission” mean grumbling and grinding my teeth? Not hardly. It means, when confronted with that apologetic Do you have a minute?, replying with complete sincerity, “I have many minutes, and they’re all yours.”

“But…” (you may sputter), “You’re a writer. You need to be writing. You need to… [fill in your choice of the experts’ wise advice].”

Yes, I’m a writer. But I’m a Christ-follower first, and then a wife, a mother, a grandma, etc. “Writer” comes pretty far down the list.

Let me put it this way: if I should one day find myself alone and able to write with no one to interrupt me, will I regret having given my husband my time when I could? 

And if I go first? When I stand before Christ, will I be ashamed of not having written more books?

I guess this means I’m a hobbyist, not a professional author—and that’s okay. I’m just warning you: if you want to do this author thing right, don’t do what I do.


A resident of Western Maryland, Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.  She also does freelance editing; contributes to the writing blog The Borrowed Book; oversees Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest; and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, International Thriller Writers, and the Independent Author Network. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.

Fly through the Gateway to Gannah for some serious sci-fi adventure: The first three titles, The Story in the Stars and Words in the Wind and Ransom in the Rock, are all available in both print and ebook. Watch for the launch of The Last Toqeph, the fourth and final flight in the series, in the autumn of 2014. (It’s been finished for a long time too!)



2 comments:

Shannon McNear said...

Yvonne, thank you!! I really needed to hear this today. :-)

Yvonne Anderson said...

Glad to hear you found it helpful, Shannon. I'm always happy to lead people down the wrong path, ha ha. Seriously, though, I wish I would have understood this sooner. It's so freeing to put all things in the Lord's hands.

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