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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WHY DID I QUIT MY DAY JOB?


Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written 26 books and more than 200 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online elsewhere at http://darlenehfranklinwrites.blogspot.com/, http://mydailynibble.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/darlene.franklin.3

WHY DID I QUIT MY DAY JOB?

Lately I have been struggling with a crisis about my calling to write. My pre-published friends wonder why I complain. I am where they hope to be: writing full time, with close to thirty published titles under my belt, and more books under contract. I am blessed. I know that.

But doubts creep in when day after day I struggle to write. My health is fair-to-poor, and the days I don’t feel 100% far outnumber the times I feel well. I want to write more and instead have to write less. Getting words on paper challenges me all the time, and it’s even harder when my body seizes with pain or allergies clog my head.

So I found myself asking: am I truly called to write? I know I can write. I even know people enjoy my books. But have I made a difference? And if I haven’t, why do I put myself through the hard work (some days it feels like torture) of producing a quality book?

Recently I wrote the 100th post on my new blog, http://mydailynibble.blogspot.com/. I reread many of my posts, and surprised myself to discover I had written about God’s call to write—encouragement taken from the Bible, Genesis through 2 Kings. Some of the lessons I had learned:

·      Write all the words, sharply (Deuteronomy 27). What differentiates a writer from one who wants to? A writer writes. Period. Write from the heart, and hone my craft.
·      My voice is unique (Numbers 18). No one else can tell my stories the way I will. It is an exclusive calling; if I don’t write them—no one can and no one will.
·      Treat God as holy by writing about Him and presenting Him artistically (Leviticus 21-22.) In my writing, I present holy (not perfect) people doing holy things—in real life settings.
·      Exodus 37-38 provided a lot of lessons, including:
·      The God who gifted to write romantic fiction may also lead me to write a different genre, even nonfiction.
·      I’m not a household name, but one of a group of largely unknown authors who write Christian fiction.
·      In My Daily Nibble, I seek the break down the law (both the Torah and all of God’s Word) in bite-sized nuggets of understanding.
·      God doesn’t call me to be anyone other than myself. My writing can’t and shouldn’t copy someone else’s style.
·      Writing is often an act of faith.
·      Whatever God wants me to write, He won’t give up on me or leave me, but He will see me through to the finish. (Joshua 2)
·      Writing may/will move me out of my comfort zone. (Genesis 31-32)

At the same time, I spoke with a supportive friend. She pointed out the obvious: “Maybe you are under attack. Maybe God has something even bigger that you are or will be working on, and Satan is trying to stop you.”

Oh. Suddenly it made sense to me, especially in light of all the things God had shown me in His word.

If I needed any additional “signs,” God gave me a three-book contract—while I was in the hospital for a week.

So I am once again doing the hard job of writing and asking God for daily strength.
Many writers—so close to 99% I would almost dare to say all of us—fight self-doubt and discouragement. Visit the milestones when the call seemed the most clear. Remind yourself why you started writing—why you should continue.

One final thought: The last time (before now) that I seriously considered quitting was ten years ago. At the time, I had no books published although I had been writing for over ten years. I asked God, am I foolish to pursue this pipe dream?

The answer I got was—I don’t have to know if God wants to write five years from now. I only need to know if He wants me to write today, on this particular project.

Don’t worry about the rest of your life. Ask God for wisdom for today.

Hidden Dreams

Mary Anne is on the run.

Her father's been murdered, and now the mob's after her, too. Leaving New York City behind is the only way to stay alive. Yet Mary Anne Lamont finds herself stuck in Maple Notch, Vermont, when her car crashes straight into Wallace Tuttle's truck. Wallace and his family offer her warmth and welcome, no questions asked. But she doesn't dare give them her real name—not without risking their safety too.
At first, Wallace chides himself for being distracted by the glamorous flapper. Mary Anne certainly doesn't fit his image of a future wife. But underneath the bleached bob and big-city ways is a courageous, caring woman. When the danger she's been running from draws close, Wallace must risk everything to prove his faith in Mary Anne, in God's plan, and the dreams they've come to share.

22 comments:

Gina Holmes said...

Excellent post. Thanks for writing what most of us feel from time to time.

Geoff Wright said...

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK DARLENE. I'M ONLY JUST CONTRACTED AFTER TEN YEARS OF WRITING. I HAVE CHRONIC FATIGUE AND MY WIFE IS MY CARER. ON THE DAYS WHEN I'M NOT UP TO WRITING I LEAVE IT WITH GOD. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO ME. GOD BLESS. GEOFF WRIGHT. AUSTRALIA

Elaine Stock said...

I like this focus: God wants me to write today! I can handle that. Thanks for the uplifting post.

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for such an uplifting, encouraging post Darlene.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy Woolard

Greg Miller said...

There are many people who could be artists, painters, welders, and great bus drivers. That doesn't mean they should do those things; they just have the ability to perform a particular activity, be it a craft, a hobby or a life-long vocation.

I found this post curious. Is it a complaint? A whine? An inspirational call to keep writing? I found parts of it hard to believe.

I’ll go with “inspirational” as the intent but I must say, after reading many Novel Rocket posts, this struck me as strange, compared to others.

PS: I follow and read Novel Rocket “religiously” and constantly.

Susan Stilwell said...

Great encouragement. Thank you, Darlene.

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It really hit home with me today! God bless!

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Darlene Franklin said...

Hi Greg, I feel badly that you found my post puzzling. I will confess, I haven't read a great deal of Novel Rocket, so it may not fit its profile.
I am the most curious as to what parts felt unbelievable. I would appreciate your response to that. belovedfranklin (at) hotmail (dot) com

Darlene Franklin said...

Hi, Gina, thanks for the encouragement.

Darlene Franklin said...

Wow, Geoff, Congrats on your contract! It sounds like we share a number of the same hurdles to writing. I live with debilitating arthritis, constant pain, and raised a daughter with a severe emotional disorder. Praise God for your encouragement that it can be done.

Darlene Franklin said...

Elaine, I have learned that God is a today kind of God. I don't need to know about 10 years in the future (or 10 months) - I just want to. :) God tells me what I need to know when it's time.

Darlene Franklin said...

Cindy, I apologize for not responding earlier. Thanks for reading my post and your encouragement.

Darlene Franklin said...

Thanks, Susan.

Darlene Franklin said...

Sherri, so thankful this hit you where you needed this week.

Darlene Franklin said...

I never thought of myself as a "content" writer. Thanks for giving a new avenue to think about!

Carla Olson Gade said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, Darlene, about the discovery of your call to write. People have many talents, but God's continued blessing on your ability to do what He has asked of you each day (I love that!) and the way others have been blessed by your books and your blogs are surely a ministry. The affirmation you have received when seeking God's will encourages us to do the same. I think instead of naming it self-doubt (when that happens to me) I will call it a check-point when I seek the Lord's affirming guidance. Surely you can write, though you do so with the blessing of God.

As always, you inspire me!

Darlene Franklin said...

Thank you for building me up, Carla.

Patty Smith Hall said...

Greg, so many people have talents that go to waste simply because others tell them they 'shouldn't do it.' Why do these people do it--mainly because they don't possess that talent and find it easier to knock down those who do.

As someone who deals with a disability daily, I found Darlene's article inspirational, simply because I've walked in her shoes. I've written two published novels flat on my back and sometimes wonder if God indeed has called me to write. In other words, the spirit is willing but the poor old body is weak. Thank God for those who continue to write despite those physical impairments--we have a voice to offer.

Darlene Franklin said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Patty.

Anonymous said...

Dear Darlene:

This was such a great start to my day--one of my absolute favorite Novel Rocket entries. Thanks for all the inspiring Bible verses.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Bible verses. And your entry is one of my absolute favorite Novel Rockets. Write on!