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Sunday, September 27, 2009

What’s important?

Anita Mellott writes to encourage others on their journey of life. With a background in journalism and mass communications, she worked for 13 years as a writer/editor for Habitat for Humanity International. She balances homeschooling and the call to write, and blogs at From the Mango Tree (

“I guess I’ll get a job when my kids go off to high school.” Debra, a friend and fellow homeschooling mom, picked up a doll from the floor to hand to my toddler as we sat in my family room. “What about you?”

I grinned and pointed to my toddler, “It’s going to be a while before that happens. But when it does, I’ll probably write full-time.”
“What?” Debra dropped the doll and stared at me. “I thought you were doing that stuff as a creative outlet. You mean you’re actually working toward publication?”
“Well, that’s what most serious writers do.”
“But, you don’t even know if you’ll be successful or not, Anita.” Her eyebrows almost disappeared into her bangs.
“Umm, well to be honest, I figured if God called me to this, He’ll work things out…” My voice trailed off as she shrugged and turned her attention back to my toddler.
Success. The word embedded itself in my mind and made its presence known almost daily after that conversation.
What would success as a writer look like? Multiple contracts? My books in stores around the country and perhaps even in other countries? High book sales? An income?

As the months passed, rejections trickled in and a paying market closed. I was ever aware of the uphill task of breaking into the publishing world, especially as a newbie.
Would I ever be successful as a writer?
But what was success? The question was never far from my mind. I loved the exhilaration when words gave life to the teeming ideas in my mind, and the sheer joy when everything began to fall into place under the guidance of the Master Designer.
But was it enough just to write? I neither had contracts, nor pay checks. I spent every spare minute working on a single idea that I felt drawn to time and time again.
Was Debra right?

Several months later, my tween and I sat at our kitchen table, discussing a heart issue that raised its ugly head now and then.
“What Daddy and I really need from you is obedience.” I tried to catch her eye as she twirled strands of hair around her finger and looked everywhere else, except at me.
“Did you hear me?” I raised my voice. “You don’t always have to ‘get’ why you’re supposed to obey, you just need to do it.” I stopped short.
“That’s it!” I pounded my hand on the table. My tween started.
“What?” She stopped twirling her hair and looked at me.
“That’s it.” My voice went up a decibel.
“Mama, what’s going on?” She stared as I began to drum my feet on the floor, joy bubbling up inside.
“It’s obedience, that’s what it is.” She rolled her eyes. I laughed.
“Don’t you get it? That’s all God requires of me. It doesn’t matter whether what I write gets published or not. It doesn’t matter whether I earn a single cent from writing or not. All I need to do is obey Him.”
“What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22, NLT

From the Mango Tree


  1. Anita,

    This did encourage me, as I've struggled with quitting or continuing to write.

    Thank you,

    Jean Ann Williams

  2. Thanks for sharing, Jean Ann. May He bless you as you follow His call.

  3. Anita,

    Thanks fof dropping by my blog and letting me know you were writing on Novel Journey today! I am so pleased that I remembered, you truly blessed me!

    I have been talking alot lately about commitment, mainly because it's where I struggle. God is so gracious to give us this gift, and I appreciate you exhorting us in our calling.

    Glod bless you...

  4. Great thoughts, Anita. The part about success ministered to me this morning.



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