Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Unlike some of my writing cohorts, I work a full-time, 40 hours per week job for a local city government in addition to writing Christian novels. While other writers may be able to write for 14 hours straight on a Tuesday, I have to pop out of bed when the alarm blares at 5:05 a.m. and rush to a job located 20 miles from my house. (It’s nearly an hour ride home after work, depending upon traffic). My family depends on the health insurance and steady pay that my day job provides. Three years ago, my husband received a second kidney transplant through a kidney swap. I donated a kidney to a woman, and my husband received a kidney from my recipient’s husband.
Working two jobs has forced me learn how to be as flexible and agile as an acrobat with quite a bit of give and take. By working 10 hours per day, Monday through Thursday, I can enjoy Fridays off. Although the days are long, I receive my reward at the end of the week. I can use those days off to write, run errands, or do something really special, such as volunteering at my younger son’s elementary school. Thanks to the flexible schedule, I’ve enjoyed attending field trips and even speaking to a class about a career as an author.
In order to meet my deadlines, I must be extremely organized. I keep a spreadsheet of all of my deadlines, and I plan out each novel down to nearly every last detail. I start off with a synopsis and then outline the novel, chapter by chapter and scene by scene. Although the outline can grow and change while I’m writing, I use the outline as a road map in order to prevent the dreaded writer’s block.
I fit in writing at every available moment. After my boys are in bed, I sometimes write until midnight. I also write on weekends when the boys are busy playing with friends. Writing isn’t without guilt, but I try to make it up to my kids by doing something special with them, such as taking them to the movies, after the book projects are complete.
I couldn’t balance this demanding schedule without my mother. She fills in the cracks with housework and also caring for my boys. Thanks to my mother, my boys have never been in daycare. She takes them to the bus in the morning, meets them at the bus in the afternoon, helps them with homework, and attends special events at the school when my husband and I can’t be there. She’s my boys’ second mother, and she’s my rock. Whenever I feel like I’m drowning in my deadlines, my mother reminds me that I work best when I’m under pressure and that the chaotic times won’t last forever. Of course, she’s always right, and I’m very thankful for her.
Much like the story in my new book, A Mother’s Secret, I’ve found that the Lord definitely provides. He has a plan for each of us, and that plan may be very different than someone else’s plan. In A Mother’s Secret, Carolyn Lapp dreams of marrying for love but fears that the errors of her past destroy her dreams. She finds her right path through her faith and prayer, just I did with my husband’s illness. My books were published when my husband became ill, which was also the Lord’s plan for me and my family.
Although my schedule is crazy and sometimes I’m considering pulling my hair out due to the stress, I’m thankful for both jobs. And I’m even more thankful for my readers who take the time to read my books. I always remember Philippians 4:13: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”