- Make writing a priority
- Get up before daylight to write at least a chapter a day
- Do not watch TV
- Write on the go with portable devices
- Make sure your friends and family understand your need for writing time.
I believed that for a long time, until my last nerve snapped as I strove to be what I considered a successful author, and then required an entire year to recoup.
Let me just say this: That kind of life is not worth it. Before you know it, you will burn out.
And yet, you must write. You feel as though you were born for that purpose, and it does take a huge amount of commitment to become an author. This career does require the understanding and support of your family and closest friends.
While I do not have the perfectly balanced life as a writer yet, over my 16 years of writing I have learned the following:
- Put your spouse and family first—that may seem self-evident, but in reality, many of us writers are tempted to shortcut the most important relationships in our lives for our calling. I believe that’s when our vocation as a writer has become an obsession. When your writing starts to hurt those relationships, that’s when you have to ask if you are really obedient to God’s call on your life.
- Get your rest—for example, there is no way I can get up before dawn to write. I’ve tried and failed. Do not do this, unless of course you really, really like getting up at 4 AM. But maybe you’re a night owl and you’re better between the hours of midnight and 2. My point is; listen to your body clock. Go to bed when your body wants to. Me—I go to bed around 11PM and I’m up bright-eyed by 8AM.
- Eat well—get your 4 to 5 servings of vegetables and fruit per day. Get your protein. Of course we all know we have to eat properly, but as a writer I know how easy it is to skip breakfast because that chapter is calling me. I know how easy it is to grab a square of cheese for lunch and some potato chips and a chocolate bar for supper. Those are the days that my husband isn’t home, but the temptation is there. So remember; a healthy mind and body will help you draw those stories out of your imagination and on to your computer screen.
- Exercise—As a writer it is so easy to sit at my laptop for 12 hours at a time, only getting up for washroom breaks and when I’m starving. So get up and move at least every hour. Throw in a load of laundry as a writing break, then when that load is finished you have to get up and take it out and put it in the dryer. But I have found that the best ideas come to me when I’m out on my daily prayer walk with the Lord.
- Spend time with friends. If you do, they will love you all the more and prayerfully support your vocation. The added bonus is friends often love to brainstorm ideas for your books with you.
- Watch TV. You may not necessarily need to watch TV. I do so because it relaxes me in the evening with my husband. My point is this, do those things that relax you to give your brain time to rest and mull something over.
- Do not skimp on your time with God. A number of years ago I realized that I was guilty of fretting and striving toward my goal of being a successful writer. The words in Psalm 46:10 hit me between the eyes. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Turn your striving into devotion to God. Surrender ALL to Him, and He will accomplish what He wants in your writing career. Remember all good things come from God.
Each tidbit of my advice means that I am a slower writer than some of my peers, but I am meeting the requirements my body needs to be a healthy, productive person. I may not be putting a book out every year, more like every 2 years, but I have come to count success differently than when I first started writing.
- After 16 years of writing I now have 7 published books and am working on an 8th.
- Though I do not make much money (almost breaking even) I love the excitement of opening up a box of my books from my publisher.
- I get really excited over every single good review from a reader.
- My writing friends have grown in number and they are all wonderful people.
- I have learned that relationships and the journey to becoming a writer are far, far better than being as famous as even our beloved Francine Rivers.
Take care of your author self, love God, your family and spouse, and the Lord will help you write those books.