Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What the “Muggles” Don’t Know About the Writing Life

If you’ve been at the writing business for very long, you know how it goes. Friends and family members just don’t understand what you do. Sometimes the hardest issue to deal with is when they assume that during your writing time you aren’t really working. Innocently enough (in their minds), they’ll ask you to help with some task, take on a project, or attend a meeting. But when we’re trying to create, even a friendly invitation for coffee or a lunch date can seem like an intrusion.

Myra Johnson
Maybe you feel just enough doubt about the legitimacy of what you’re doing that you give in. “Sure,” you say. “I’m free.”

Well, guess what—and it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re multi-published. You are not free, and neither is your time. 

And I promise you, if we don’t respect our writing time enough to say no, neither will anyone else. 

Unfortunately, even among family and friends who know I’m a writer, some people still don’t get it. Last month I declined to attend a very worthwhile meeting of a church group I’m involved with because the chairman scheduled it during my prime writing time. Even after I explained, I got a few surprised reactions, mostly along the lines of, “Really? I had no idea!”

Recently another acquaintance casually asked if I have a “writing schedule,” or if I just wrote when I felt inspired.

“I certainly do have a schedule,” I answered. “I’m under contract, and I have deadlines I have to meet.” 

More surprised looks.

I can’t even tell you how long it took to train my husband not to interrupt me willy-nilly during my writing time, so I guess I shouldn’t be so amazed that other family members, much less friends or casual acquaintances, remain clueless.

But let’s face it—the writing life is a life like no other. What other career allows you to spend half your work time daydreaming, the other half immersed in fictional worlds where you are calling all the shots (unless you have really stubborn, opinionated characters)? Speaking of which, can you think of any other field where it’s actually okay to talk to people in your head—and hear them talk back???

It isn’t just a lack of respect for our time, though. There are so many other aspects of the writing life that are utterly foreign to the “muggles” in our world.

So I polled the Seekers with this question: 

Janet Dean: I wish non-writer friends and family would realize the time it takes for me to get back into the story after an interruption.

Missy Tippens: I wish they knew how much planning, rewriting, revising, editing and pulling of hair/gnashing of teeth go on before they see the finished product. It's not as easy as it might look!

Julie Lessman: I wish people understood that for most writers, writing a novel is like giving birth in the emotional realm, so it’s best to tread softly when offering “constructive criticism” that can often be akin to calling their “baby” ugly. Especially for people the author is close to like family and friends, I subscribe to the old adage that if you can’t say anything nice, it’s best not to say anything at all, in which case a nod and a smile works nicely.

Pam Hillman: I wish they would believe me when I tell them that most bookstores are more than happy to order books that they don’t have in stock. The store will call or email when the book comes in and you just drop by and pick it up. Win-win!

Cara Lynn James: I wish my family would understand I hate to be interrupted when I'm writing. I lose my concentration.
Glynna Kaye: Yes, my books are in Walmart, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon--but no, I don’t make enough money to quit my day job. I continue to write because I love to write.
Tina Radcliffe: This would be for my non-writer friends, because after a zillion years of living with me, my family definitely gets it. I would like them to understand that it's a job. IT'S A JOB. I go from job one to job two. I put in the hours and I get a paycheck. There is no ending, but there is an occasional vacation for good behavior. 

Mary Connealy: I wish they knew that when they ask me writer questions I really have LONG DETAILED ANSWERS THEY DON'T WANT TO HEAR. I know they don't want to hear them, so I give them a flip answer and move on, but if they PUSH I can absolutely answer in detail all about my book and where I get my ideas and how I think of a whole story. And what inspires me. And the editorial process and how they make book covers . . . I know all about all of that and the answer is FASCINATING to me and utterly boring to them. Which is why it's fun to hang around other writers, because they ask the same questions and are FASCINATED (right along with me) with the answers. Anyway, so if my answer is shallow and flip, TRUST ME, that's all you want to know. And I get sick of watching your eyes glaze over.
On a more positive note (not that the rest of us were whining or anything) . . .

Debby Giusti: I wish my readers would know how much their support means to me. Often when I'm struggling to create a new story, someone will say they enjoy my books or that they couldn't put down the last story in my series. Their kind words boost my sometimes flagging spirit and give me the encouragement to continue on. Recently a lady told me she had all 16 of my books and had read each of them at least twice. As you can imagine, her words touched me deeply and made me want to work harder to become a better writer. 

Debby’s response leads in nicely to the subject of book reviews. I don’t begin to understand algorithms and such, but those who do claim that reviews posted on Amazon and other online book retailers’ sites are vital for gaining visibility. In other words, the more reviews a book has, the better chance it has of being noticed. Here’s a blog post by someone who can explain it better than I can. 

Your turn.

What’s something you wished the non-writers in your life would understand about what you do?

Or, for our reader visitors, is there something about your work or daily life that you wish others understood a little better? Here's your chance to vent (nicely, of course)!


I’m offering two giveaways today! Just mention in your comment if you’d like to be entered in the drawing for either one.
  • An autographed copy of my newest release, The Sweetest Rain, from Franciscan Media.
  • The new audiobook version of my debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas

The Sweetest Rain. As the drought of 1930 burns crops to a crisp, Bryony Linwood dreams of cooling winter snows and the life she would have had if Daddy hadn’t been killed in the Great War and Mama hadn’t moved Bryony and her sisters to their grandfather’s struggling tenant farm in tiny Eden, Arkansas. Now Mama’s gone, too, and as times grow tougher, Bryony will do whatever it takes to ensure her family’s survival.

Michael Heath barely survived the war, and twelve years later all he wants to do is forget. A virtual recluse, his one passion is botanical illustration. Lost in the diversity of nature’s beauty, he finds escape from a troubled past and from his wealthy father’s continual pressure to take an interest in the family plantation.

When Bryony accepts employment at the Heath mansion, it’s just a job at first, a means to ward off destitution until the drought ends and Grandpa’s farm is prosperous again. But Bryony’s forced optimism and dogged determination disguise a heart as dry and despairing as the scorched earth . . . until she discovers Michael Heath and his beautiful botanical illustrations. As their relationship deepens, friendship soon blossoms into healing for wounded souls and a love that can’t be denied.

One Imperfect Christmas. Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she's allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves - most of all her husband, Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she's one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom. 

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit's end. Nothing he's done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion isn't helping matters. As Daniel's hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear. 


  1. Great list! I think I would like them to know that while I enjoy hanging out with them, and visiting with them, when I'm writing, my brain has only room for childcare (I have three young kids at home), and writing. Don't be offended if I forget to call you, and if we had plans to get together, please remind me! I'm sorry, but there are no spare thoughts when I'm plotting. But I do still love you.

  2. Hey all! Such a great list! Before I "went indie" it didn't matter as much* if I did some of that stuff. Long lunch. Quick errand for a working sibling. Etc. Now that I've got books out (7 novels, 1 novella since November) and readers expecting the next one on a relatively quick schedule (because that's the way indie works for many indies - I have 2 novellas and 1 novel coming out before the end of the year; I'm shooting for two more novels but the second one may be January).

    Because of that, and because I. Am. Getting. Paid. for all this, it's easier for me to say "sorry, I'm working."

    It is NOT easier for some people in my life to hear. One in particular pays lip service to it (well, then don't answer your phone if you're writing), but doesn't really mean it (if I don't answer, she calls my cell, my home, my cell, my home until I answer and if I don't soon enough for her taste, she calls my husband worried I'm dead).

    Now that I'm indie, too, I wish people realized that "writing" isn't JUST writing (or even editing/etc). Staring at stock photos for six hours? Work. Playing in Publisher making minute changes no one else would notice for two days? Work. Formatting? Work. Debating about keywords? Work. Reading books? Work. Writing back cover copy? Work.

    All of it is work. Fortunately, my husband is very supportive. My kids have learned when Mom says she's writing (fast drafting usually), you leave her alone unless someone is dying. My husband pushes me to make other people respect that time, too. It IS a full time job for me now and I have to treat it as such and make sure I don't let others take that time from me.

    *It really did matter. I just didn't think it did ;).

  3. I need 3-5 minutes to go from writing to non-writing: to finish my thought, write the first half of the next sentence of the next thought so I can rejoin the flow of creativity I was on. And check my word count. ;)

    And I wouldn't mind winning one of the prize books.


  4. I wish they would understand that I don't have any more hours in my day than they do. I get a little frustrated sometimes with people saying things like "Oh, I'm just so busy. I could never find the time to write a book" like I have this relaxed life that grants me all this extra leisure time to write. Especially when I then see them on Facebook talking about some reality TV show they're addicted to ;-) I have a "real" job, two children under four, and a husband in ministry. I know busy! I just choose to prioritise the "leisure" hours I have available to me differently than they do!

  5. Speaking about my day job, I work as a "collector" for a major company in the construction world. Most people within the company, as well as, people outside the company, believe all my job entails is picking up a phone and calling for money or dropping someone an email. That is part of the job but now days we have so much paper to push around it is unreal. We also have to be able to clean up mistakes the person who applies cash to an account does in error. You have to be a quick thinker and creative in how you handle the customers as well. It's a thankless job but a necessary one.

    Thank you for the great post today and I would love to win a copy of The Sweetest Rain.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  6. Yay!!! What a great post and right on. Your title is genius.
    I'm blessed to have a really supportive family and they try in so many amazing ways to support. At the end of the day though, I do need quiet and no interruptions to really get into the story.
    Maybe someday my three little boys will get that. LOL For now, I just try to write when they're sleeping! Hahahaa!

  7. Wonderful post this morning!

    I wish the muggles understood that writing is not my hobby. Even before I had a contract and no one wanted to read my books, I still considered it my job. It's not fun-filled bliss when I lock myself in my room and write. Or when I wake at 4:30 in the morning to write. It's something that I'm compelled to do. It's work for me, albeit very gratifying work that I feel called to do.

    I'd love to be entered to win your Christmas audiobook!

  8. Oh, my my my...this is just inspired. I love the title too. I feel vindicated!!!! My people get it!

  9. Oh and that audiobook looks amazing, Myra. Congratulations. Who produced it?

  10. Myra, those books look beautiful!
    I'm with Jessica, I write while the kids are asleep.
    As for what I wish non-writers knew... If my character loves chocolate and Aunt June loves chocolate, that does not mean the character is based on Aunt June. If the hero is a computer programmer and my brother is a computer programmer, that does not mean I based the hero of my romance on my brother (eww). If the villain is Hispanic and my husband is Hispanic, it does not mean I wrote those scenes in revenge over something my husband did. These examples sound extreme but these are REAL examples of things friends and family have asked me!
    I just tell them that everyone I know I way too boring to be in one of my novels. ;)
    (Unless it's a fun shout-out and they've already said they want the villain to have their name, etc. )

  11. Myra, all I can say is "ditto"! :) Not really creative writing, but it's 5:30 in the morning and I haven't had any coffee yet. Yawn!

    It warmed my heart to see the cover of One Imperfect Christmas again. I know you wrote every word, but I feel like the nurse who gave the baby its first bath and wrapped it in a blanket. ;-) I'm so proud of what you've accomplished since then!!!

    I'd love a copy of THE SWEETEST RAIN.

  12. Good morning, Myra.

    This is such a fabulous post. My answer is what I wish I believed about my writing - that it's a job and that I shouldn't allow people to interrupt me. I'm so proud of you for standing up for yourself and your work when that meeting was scheduled for your writing time. I haven't found that courage yet. Or maybe it's a lack of belief in myself and the importance of the work. Thank you for an important lesson.

    No need to put me in the drawing. I began to read your beautiful new book on Amazon and just knew I needed a print copy. Mine just arrived. This is such a beautiful story. Thank you for standing firm and getting the time to write it!

  13. Hi Myra,

    What a beautiful cover on The Sweetest Rain! And the blurb from One Imperfect Christmas almost made me cry. (My dad has a blood clot in his lung and my mother-in-law fell and had bleeding on her brain and we think fractured her hip, but dr. more concerned about the brain. We're definitely in the rocking chair generation.)

    But for your topic, my oldest son kept asking me to babysit when I finished on job until his wife got off work. I felt guilty every time I wanted to say no, but I finally said if I babysat for my daughter-in-law's job it was like saying her part-time job was more important than my writing. So now I babysit for other events (church meetings, dates, whatever) but not for work. I love the girls, and when we're together I'm all in and not stressing about writing. And now that we've set boundaries, I'm not worried about making them mad, but I'm blessed to have a great relationship with my son.

  14. Myra, I had to learn the hard way with my sprawling family and my day job that if I wanted to be left in peace, I had to make the adjustment. Hence the 4:00 AM writing time. No one bothers me. And it keeps me on task each day and no matter what happens the rest of the day, I know I've gotten my 1K in.

    During the day, even if there are no kids here, there are chronic interruptions. Folks stop by for eggs or produce or to order firewood. I can't ignore them. I can't schedule them.

    Phones ring, aging people need help, pregnant kids need help, or someone needs me to step into their role so they can do something else.

    Honestly, I just quit fighting it and figured my early run of the day is mine... and if I get more time during the day BONUS!!!!!

    Adjusting my schedule made it so much easier for me to handle whatever the day holds, which is usually some fun... and chronic interruption when you have a big family, I guess! And I love my crazy, big family, so we figured out what works for us.

  15. Waving to Jessica and Virginia, who also write when others are sleeping! I'm so glad to have company!!!

  16. I had the distinct pleasure of reading "The Sweetest Rain" on my way to New York City Friday, and Myra immersed me in a distinctly rugged time of American history with a fine delicacy of motion and romance. Utterly delightful book!

    Yes, if you win it, you will L-O-V-E it!!!!

  17. These are so true.
    I wish they would understand it's more than writing a book. Polishing that last chapter doesn't mean I'll now miraculously be published. I wish they'd understand there are multiple steps, and I'm taking them one at a time.
    (My family gets a little impatient sometimes, wondering why I'm not published after writing x number of books. Ha!)


  18. Good morning, MYRA! I'm fortunate that my family (and most of my extended family) "get it." But some others... :)

    As VIRGINIA mentioned, sometimes people think your characters are "about" real-life people. Once, just as a book released, something that happened in the story also happened to a co-worker right about that same time and some asked if I'd based that aspect of the story on that event. How could I? The book was written and turned in to my publisher a full year before something similar happened to our friend. But because the book's debut coincided with this event, some still assumed...! :)

  19. Excellent post, Myra.
    I'm fortunate to have an understanding family. They respect my writing time and give me the space I need.
    As for my non-writer co-workers, at the day job, I wish they'd stop asking me why I haven't quit my job. I NEED BENEFITS!
    I'd love to be entered to win "The Sweetest Rain." That cover is stunning.

  20. A fun, spot-on post. My family (especially hubby) understands that writing takes T-I-M-E. That's my currency, and my love language right now. I wish some of my friends realized that, when I said no to leading Bible study, it wasn't because I'm playing hockey. It's because I'm trying to walk out the calling I believe God has given me. And yes, I still spend daily time with Jesus, just not in a corporate setting. It's hard to explain this to some people. :)

    Great post!

    I'd love to be in the drawing for your new release. :)

  21. Good morning MYRA,
    I've made my living for years as a nonfiction writer and journalist working OUT OF MY HOME, so I'm primed to deal with this even before I publish fiction. Oh where do I start...sometimes I don't answer the phone.
    Would love to win "The Sweetest Rain." The post-world-war-I period fascinates me and in fact I'm working on a series that takes place in the same time frame. That war changed American life.
    Back later,
    Kathy Bailey

  22. What a great list.
    I've quit trying to get people to understand. I just turn my phone off and don't offer or accept invitations during my writing time.

  23. I wish my non-writer friends understood how incredibly HARD it is to even get published. My friends know I write stories. They assume all I have to do is send them in to some magical publisher who loves them and the next thing I know they're published and the world buys them. My friends don't understand why I don't "just send them in." One friend asked me for the name of my non-existent publisher so she could send in her collection of 'thoughts' and have it published.
    Great post Myra and I would love to be entered to win a copy of The Sweetest Rain.

  24. Good morning, Seekerville! Had my Earl Grey and I think my eyes are open now. Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!

    ANGELA, I totally get it. Busy writer-moms are entitled to be forgetful of anything beyond seeing to the needs of home and family. Even when my girls were school-age, they kept me busy enough after school and during the summer that other things, including writing time, often went by the wayside.

  25. CAROL! Yes, EVERY aspect of writing is WORK. My husband is very supportive, too, but sometimes at the end of the day he'll ask me what I accomplished, and I have to wonder, myself. Stared at a computer screen, looked at page after page of online photos for the image of a hero or heroine that would jump-start my creative mind, wrote a blog post, networked on Facebook and Twitter to make sure my name doesn't get lost among the myriad authors out there readers can choose from.

    Hey, girl, great going on the indies! Congratulations!

  26. Welcome, VONI! I agree--it takes a little time to shift the brain from writing mode to non-writing mode, and vice versa! I have to admit, sometimes when my husband comes up to my office to ask me something "important," I may not even register that he's in the room for a few seconds. And then I have to ask him to repeat himself!

    You're in the drawing!

  27. Love this so much -- and the title. The notion that the rest of the world are muggles makes me smile!

    As I read your blog post and the comments, it occurred to me that what it really boils down to is respect. That if the people in our lives respect us they'll automatically trust us, even if they don't understand all the intricacies of the craft, and therefore let us be.

    And that applies to so many other aspects of life. For me, this definitely translates to my chronic pain condition. There are so many things I can't do any more -- not because I don't want to but because it would cause me so much pain it's just not worth it. There are very few people in my life who get that my modified behavior is not a rejection of them personally. I so appreciate their gracious acceptance if I have to cancel or decline an invitation. No questions asked. No guilt-tripping. They respect me enough to know that I'm not just brushing them off. Trust me enough to believe I'm doing what's best for my health and then they go the extra mile by sending a card, arranging a 'phone date' or dropping off a little chocolaty decadence 'just because'.

    No need to enter me in either draw -- I have my own copy of One Perfect Christmas and The Sweetest Rain is in the mail somewhere between Christianbook.com and my house. Hopefully it arrives soon.

  28. KARA, I just do not get most of those reality TV shows. (Sorry if I'm offending any die-hard The Bachelor fans among us!) After a day of writing (or the work of writing), though, I do enjoy winding down with a good Netflix movie or TV drama.

    Okay, I admit it--I just enjoy a story with interesting characters and an engaging plot. And for me, reality TV just doesn't hack it.

    You have my admiration and respect for raising a family, serving as a pastor's wife, and holding down a "real" job! Yes, you do know "busy"!

  29. Oh, CINDY W, it sounds like you do have a challenging job! Tons of paperwork is bad enough, but having to remain tactful and polite while asking people to pay up takes a special kind of person. Bless you!!!

  30. JESSICA, I need quiet and no interruptions, too. Mostly I get that from my husband, but not always. Glad your kids give you a little quiet time after they're in bed.

    (Let's see how that's working once they're teenagers, though--LOL!)

  31. What a good list. I would like readers to know how much their positive reviews are appreciated. Not just from a sales stand point but also for the encouragement they give us to keep writing. Please enter me into the giveaway. Thanks.

  32. ANNIE, you got a book contract BECAUSE you treated your writing like a business, not like a hobby--congratulations! Keeping regular "office hours," investing in conferences and craft books, establishing an online presence, tracking expenses--it's never too early to start respecting your work of writing as a worthy profession.

  33. Hey, TINA! You have always been on top of your game as a dedicated writer, and everyone in Seekerville knows you don't take nonsense from anyone!

    The audio version of One Imperfect Christmas is produced by Audible. It was a big surprise to me several weeks ago to learn from Abingdon Press that this was in the works!

  34. Wow, VIRGINIA, how funny that your friends and family really thought those things about your characters! Although, I can see how it happens. We do tend to draw from real life and personal experience, but by the time my creative brain twists and adds and mixes things up, if people I know see themselves in a character, they need to understand it's purely coincidental.

    Unless, as you said, I did it on purpose, which I do admit to on occasion. ;-D

  35. BARBARA!!! Yes, it was so exciting to get the news about OIC in audio! The story is SO much better because of your editorial input! And YOU, dear lady, will always hold a special and honored place in my heart for granting me my VERY FIRST BOOK CONTRACT!!!!!

    Just thrilled and delighted to be on this writing journey with you, Barbara!

  36. Hi, CATE! You know, over time and with practice, it does get easier saying no to worthwhile requests like that church meeting. Although, unfortunately, saying no is still usually accompanied by a dose of guilt.

    But hey, they managed fine without me, and I dislike committee meetings anyway. So the guilt didn't last long at all!

    Keep trying! You'll get the hang of that very handy NO!

  37. I wish my family could understand that because I am reading and writing, it does not mean I am lazy or wasting my time. They don't tell me this to my face but rolled eyes and disgusted looks as well as the silent treatment say much more than words ever could.

    Please enter me in the drawing for the audible book.

  38. Good for you, JACKIE! Sounds like you found the perfect balance for guarding your writing time and also maintaining your enjoyment for keeping the grandkids! Boundaries are a good thing for all concerned.

    So sorry about your dad and mother-in-law. Aging parents present a whole new set of concerns.

  39. RUTHY, you have the world's greatest work ethic! (Well, you and TINA.) I hate to think what gibberish would pour out of my brain at 4:00 a.m.! Although I did read something recently that said our brains are most creative in the wee hours of the morning. If my dreams are any indication . . . well, we won't go there!

    I'm just thrilled and honored that you enjoyed The Sweetest Rain! Thank you, thank you!

  40. COURTNEY, the "muggles" just have NO CLUE what's involved in the creation of a book! And clearly they don't understand the ordeal of seeking an agent or submitting to one publisher after another and dealing with the rejections.

    And it doesn't stop there! I did a talk for a church group a few years ago, complete with PowerPoint, on the process from coming up with an idea, through my own rewriting and revising, through working with an editor, all the way to when FINALLY I hold a real book in my hands. I think they began to understand why publishing can take so long.

  41. Good point, GLYNNA. We have no control over the similarities between current events and what happens in our books. It all goes back to the time it takes to write and then get a book published--sometimes years! So coincidences happen.

    Glad your friends and family mostly "get it" about the writing life!

  42. Ah, benefits--yes, JILL! I know there are avenues for self-employed writers to get insurance coverage, but I don't imagine it's cheap. I'm blessed to have been covered all these years by my husband's corporate plan, so health insurance has never been a concern (except for the ongoing hassles that always seem to crop up).

  43. Good for you for saying no, JEANNE! Even worthwhile requests like leading a Bible study are not right for us personally when they pull us away from the work we truly believe God has called us to. In these cases, saying no isn't selfish.

    But always we need to pray for discernment about any given request for our time. There are times when I know in my heart that "yes" is the right answer, even if it means giving up a writing day.

  44. Mary said: I get sick of watching your eyes glaze over.

    Yep! lol

    I know I've gone on too long about ME when I see that look.

    "I wanna talk me, me, me, me, me!"

  45. Not answering the phone--oh, KATHY! I am eternally grateful for Caller ID!!!! And also grateful for a husband who's usually at home and will pick up if it's clearly not a call I will want to deal with (like from my agent or hairstylist).

    Yes, the Great War changed millions of lives, a truly fascinating and terribly sad time in history. I learned more in researching these recent novels (especially my Till We Meet Again series) than I ever remember from high school history classes.

  46. LOL, HALLEE, I think you just might have the right idea!

  47. CINDY, you are so on target. Non-writers have no concept whatsoever for what it takes to get a book published. And they can ask the most off-the-wall questions! Like MARY said, if we tried to explain, their eyes would just glaze over.

  48. KAV, I agree--it's all about respect. I may not understand something in someone else's life, but if I respect the person, then I must respect his or her decisions. For the most part, I believe my family and friends do respect what I do, even if they don't always understand how it works. But sometimes trying to explain is just exhausting!

    How wonderful that your friends are so considerate of your health issues. Phone dates and chocolate--so thoughtful!

  49. LORAINE, those reviews and especially personal words of encouragement are priceless! I received a lovely email from a reader just last week. She expressed how she'd picked up one of my older books at a benefit yard sale, and the story ministered to her because of things she had in common with the heroine. I was deeply touched, and so thankful she took the time to write to me.

  50. WILANI, there's just no excuse for eye rolls and disgusted looks no matter what! I'm so sorry you have to put up with this. There's probably also no way to make such people understand that reading is studying the craft and that writing is a continual practice so that we can become better at what we do.

    Hang in there, okay? Here in Seekerville we DO respect and honor your writing efforts!

  51. LOL, PAM! I bet we've all seen our share of glazed-over eyes!

  52. Everything Angela said!!!

    Except for the small kids at home. Hmmm, what happened to those? Must go check... lol

  53. Myra, I'm thrilled and honored that you and residents of Seekerville are supporting me on this writing journey!! I really need your encouragement to keep on keeping on.

    Having been an editor and a writer, I've stopped telling people what I do for the most part. They think editing is proofreading (and they're really good at English too) and writing? They always have a friend's mother's cousin (fill in the blank) who has a great idea for a book. Would I please take a look at a paragraph?

    My eyes glaze over. LOL

  54. Same with Carol's response. Putting a "This Comment was helpful" star by hers.


    I spent my holiday yesterday reading a manuscript for a friend. (Btw, it's an awesome story!!!) But it is work. I probably read 5-6 hours and I'm about half way through. Reading in a critiquing capacity is an odd mix of enjoying the story and WORK. After about 3-4 hours of reading, thinking, editing, I hit a wall and need to rest my brain. Then I can go again.

    But someone who picks up a book to read it for pleasure looks at me like I'm insane when I say I'm exhausted. Look at it from THEIR perspective....

    "Man, I'm EXHAUSTED!"

    "Really? You must have worked hard today. What did you do?"

    "Oh, I was reading."

    I can see how that would make them look at me like I'm a bit on the loopy side...

  55. Years ago when I was a full time missionary and ministering 24/7, writing was also a part of the ministry since I worked with children and wrote stories for them. I did not have to feel guilty for writing, but I did if I read for pleasure having no clue that reading is what would help my writing at that time. I finally came to the conclusion that if I had a normal 40 hour a week job I would get at least 15 minutes a day for a break so if I wanted to read a chapter in a fiction book during the day I shouldn't feel guilty. What a welcome change in my life so now I want to say to the many people who tell me they don't have time to read. You can make time for what you really want to do. I'll get off my soapbox now.

    I am so grateful for everyone here on Seekerville!

  56. Myra, my pet peeve is having writing called a hobby. Also, most muggles are clueless about editing. I actually had a co-worker ask me why I'd edit. I was so stunned I don't think I explained well. Note to self, I need a Mary answer for this. Oh, and the person who told me they yhought they could probably write like James Patterson because he wrote short chapters and they could do that. I told them to go for it.

    Recently I dropped out of one church related group and one writing related group. I had my nights so busy there was no time left to write. Hard, yeah, but necessary. Oddly enough there wasn't as much guilt as I expected.

    1. And please enter me in the drawing for your new book!

  57. Oh, BARBARA, I hear you! Years ago, one of the pastors at the church we belonged to back then asked if I would read his manuscript and give him my honest opinion. Well, I did--tactfully, of course--and he was NOT happy that I hadn't urged him to rush right out and find a publisher! Starry-eyed wannabes just don't want to be told their work isn't ready for prime time.

  58. PAM, it's certainly true that pleasure reading is NOTHING like reading to critique or edit. It takes a whole different segment of the brain.

    Of course, even in my pleasure reading, I can't fight the editor reading over my shoulder (have y'all met Grammar Queen?) who insists on picking apart every phrase and plot nuance.

  59. Oh yes, WILANI! There's almost always a way to find time time to do the things that mean the most to us!

  60. One more. Courtney's comment reminded me...

    I wish they understood that winning a writing contest does not mean somebody is going to publish my book.
    I wish they understood that just because a publisher asks for a complete, they are not going to publish my book.
    I wish they understood that just because they publish my book I'm not going to be rich ... or famous.

  61. And....

    I wish they understood how much I love my job! :)

  62. I get it, TERI! Even now that I have several books published, I think there are a few people in my circle of acquaintances who still think writing is just a hobby. Well, this little "hobby" of mine helps pay the bills now. I may not have to punch a daily time clock, but I do have to keep my eye on those looming deadlines and plan out each day's work accordingly.

    And YAY for less guilt!

  63. Jeanne T... so people "play hockey" in your neck of the woods, instead of "playing hooky"? :)

  64. LOL, PAM, I wasn't going to say anything to JEANNE about those hockey games. ;-D

  65. Oh, Kav, this is so SPOT ON. Trust and respect.

    When I first left my day job to work full time at home about 3 years ago, and My Cowboy got in the habit of calling to ask me to run an errand for the farm, I thought I'd made a huge mistake.

    He'd start the conversation with "Are you busy?" and I knew that meant he needed me to run hither and yon (hither is 20 miles away, yon is 40) to pick up a bale of twine or a new auger or make a run to the stockyard to deliver a load of cows. Basically, any of those trips carved 3-4 hours out of my day, minimum.

    Yes, he still asks me to help in a pinch, but we work together now to minimize my interruptions. I have a long list of errands to run one day this week. It's going to take most of my day, but I'm going to do it all at once. And if he needs something for the farm, I'll get it while I'm gone.

    He's definitely stepped up to the plate and is showing that trust and respect that I'm doing more than just sitting on the couch reading all day.

    Speaking of phone calls... I've been tempted to get one of the cheap pay-by-minute phones and only give the number to 2-3 people who are my emergency contacts. Then I could put my iPhone on silent as well as OUT OF SIGHT while I'm working. I haven't done it yet, but I've been tempted. :)

  66. Pam - AMEN! It's not only mentally taxing but physically! WHY don't people GET THAT?! ;)

    Okay - on the surface it doesn't make sense, but we know it does :D.

    My benefits are through hubs so I don't have to worry about that. And I am making enough off indie that quitting the day job next year is a very real possibility. But not yet. It's a VERY exciting possibility though. My day job is 5 hours a week. Two classes on T/Th, 1:15 each, but it takes ALL. FLIPPIN. DAY. I get nothing writing related done unless...

    I've started taking my writing work with me to work. I sit at my desk in the adjunct office and work - right now, I'm reading a paper copy of WINNING THE QUEEN'S HEART and making notes. I'm more productive here than if I stay home until I have to leave.

    I wish I could be like Ruthy. I've tried at various times in my life, but I don't function well until at least 8 and if they day could start at 11, that would be perfect. I write very well late at night, though. Of course, as my kids get older, they no longer go to bed at 730... I cherish my "late night" time with my 13yo after all the other kids go to bed, so I'm having to learn to make better use of my daytime without going cray cray like Ruthy.

    I have Imperfect Christmas already, but would love a shot at the other one :).

  67. Pam - that sounds like a GREAT IDEA. Except that one person who will send out the National Guard if I don't answer in what she believes to be a reasonable amount of time - even if I respond w a text that I'm working... :p

  68. Wilani, some "looks" are easily identified, aren't they?

    Barbara, oh my! I bet you do have some interesting convos with your background as an editor. Goodness, and I though I had it rough! lol

  69. Carol, maybe you could handle your needy friend in this way.... call her (using hands-free phone or headphones of course) and talk to her while you're driving to work, or waiting on the kids in line, etc. Use that 5-10 minutes to catch up. Then you have to end the call because well, duh, you're AT WORK.

    Do this every day and he/she might feel the need to call you constantly.

    I may or may not have employed this technique before.


  70. PAM, I recently started making use of the "do not disturb" function on my iPhone. Supposedly it remains quiet except for calls or texts from my contacts labeled VIP. Mainly I use it at night since I often have the phone in the bedroom, but I bet you could set it for daytime hours just as easily.

  71. CAROL, I am totally a "middle of the day" person. Can't think very clearly before about 9 a.m., and I'm ready to totally veg out by 7 p.m. Afternoons are my prime writing time.

  72. Love this post, Myra, and all the comments. We're a different breed, for sure!

    For those of you struggling to say no to church activities, I actually spent four years praying about whether to back out of many of the church ministries I loved, but that took time away from my writing. I wasn't sure if this writing gig was what God wanted for my life. Eventually, I saw the Light! :)

  73. If only it were that easy, Pam... I do that all the time. She says "well don't answer if you're working." That doesn't work (not that I can say that to her). "Tell me you're working." Okay, you prattle on for half an hour about a bug in your kitchen (slight embelishment? maybe...) while I keep working then get annoyed when I didn't catch the mention in there of your dog throwing up or some such thing. Then get annoyed in general.

    I've tried it all.

    But she's family. Sigh.

  74. Well, I see by the old clock on the wall (rather, the little digits on the upper right of my computer screen) that it's nearly lunchtime on the East Coast. I am terribly negligent about setting out the buffet on my Seekerville days, so today please help yourself to a variety of mixers for a healthy smoothie!

    low-fat vanilla yogurt
    frozen mixed berries
    frozen mango chunks
    protein powder
    natural honey
    peanut butter
    orange juice
    skim milk or almond milk (your choice)

    And for dessert, Trader Joe's dark chocolate squares!

  75. Good for you, DEBBY! God doesn't want us to do it all, only what HE has called us to do.

  76. I wish my family understood that I tend to be cranky when my characters are going through those necessary, human 'dark moments' that are essential to a story line. My character's lives tend to affect my mood.


  77. I love each of the responses and echo them. :) Mary, I'd really love to hear more of your answers and explanations.

  78. CAROL, talk to your friend while you're folding laundry. That's what I do with my in-laws.
    DEBBY, I've always served in small churches and it's a balancing act. Do only what only YOU can do And pray about it first.

  79. STEPHANIE, I experience the same phenomenon at times. When my characters are going through hard times, it definitely affects my frame of mind. Either I'm really empathizing with them or brainstorming how I'm going to successfully and believably get them out of their predicaments!

  80. Now, JODIE, don't get Mary started!

  81. Jodie you sweet thing.
    That's the best thing about Seekerville. We are all interested in something that other people find VERY interesting at the same time they don't REALLY want to know details.
    So I am actually SAVING them when they ask me, "What made you start writing."
    And I say, "It was so much more fun that dusting."

    I'm SAVING YOU!!!!

    HOWEVER here at Seekerville, we are all into the writing life and truly interested.

    YAY Seekerville.

  82. Yes, writing is definitely more fun that dusting!

    Even watching baseball is a teensy, tiny bit more fun than dusting.

    But always writing. Always, always, always.

    Thank you for the reminder, MARY!

  83. Yes, Myra, I need to try that out, except my four "VIP"s are my four "I need you NOW!' people.

    I'm in a fix, for sure! lol

  84. THANK YOU, Myra, for this post because it makes me feel like a WRITER! I identify with all those points!!!

    I wish muggles....who will remain nameless because I dearly love them....realized it takes me a bit of transition time to re-enter the "real" world after I've been in my "writing" world. I'm NOT ignoring them......I'm just worried about my imaginary creations.

    Please enter me for both of your books. Thank you!

  85. SHERIDA, I know exactly what you mean! When I stop writing for the day and go down to help get supper on the table, my mind is usually still upstairs with my story and characters. Hubby is ready to chat and I most definitely am not!

  86. Hi Myra,
    I've gotten quite the education as a reader here at Seekerville about the in and outs and ups and downs of writing. The more I've learned the more I admire and respect each of you for all the work, effort and thought that goes into a book from conception to delivery. Unlike some of the people who ask questions and "glaze over" at the answers, I find the whole process fascinating.

    One thing I've learned is about the benefit of reviews to writers, as mentioned. I never realized the importance of them in past years, but now that I do, I'm reviewing much more often, especially books that I enjoyed a lot.

    I'd love to read The Sweetest Rain, please enter me, thank you!

  87. TRACEY, thank you so much! Anyone who hangs out in Seekerville for very long is definitely going to get an initiation into the inner workings of the writing life.

    And thank you for posting those reviews! They do make a difference.

  88. Amen, Sister, to wishing a husband would understand the interruption of interruptions! :-) Seriously, he is quite encouraging and understanding and I love and appreciate that, but when he wants something, he just can't seem to wait until I'm done.

    Myra, I would love to be entered to win The Sweetest Rain. Sounds terrific!

  89. Kaybee - you're assuming I fold the clothes... ;)

  90. MEGAN, my husband is the same way! Sometimes he just walks into my office and sits down next to me and start talking. Of course, generally I hear him coming up the stairs--TROMP TROMP TROMP--so I'll try to pull my mind out of my work and get my brain in gear to listen to whatever he's about to tell me.

    Something earth-shattering, no doubt, like, "I'm heading to Home Depot. Need anything?"

    "Uh, sure. Pick me up some duct tape. And you know where to apply it, right????"

  91. Oh, Pam, I could tell you stories! lol

    And what's this about dusting? I do that about once a quarter whether I need to or not. OK, I need to, but I HATE dusting. I have a sign hanging in my bonus room that says, "This house is protected by killer dust balls"--my version of a "Beware of Dog" sign.

  92. There should be a law against chores that have to be repeated, like dusting, vacuuming, laundry . . . I mean, isn't once enough???

  93. HELLO SEEKERVILLE! I hope you had a productive weekend! I would like to say THANK YOU for ALL that you do in order to write stores that are compelling and uplifting. May your interruptions be few and BLESSINGS overflow your lives.

    Please put in the draw for an autographed copy of The Sweetest Rain.


  94. Absolutely, Myra! Have you seen that Cascade commercial where the husband and little boy are spraying all the wife's dishes with Pam so nothing sticks? Somebody should invent that for furniture and floors.

  95. Hi, CARYL! Wishing you the same blessings in your life! Our Seekervillagers mean so much to us!

  96. BARBARA, I don't recall that one, but it sure sounds like a good idea! You'd think the inventors of Pledge could come up with a spray that repels dust.

    Or maybe not. They'd be out of business.

    Although that Rain-X stuff product works well on windshields, and it lasts for several months! I could stand not having to dust for several months. I'd even pay extra for a product that made delayed dusting possible.

  97. Any advice on how to get the dog to respect my writing time? I swear any time I am seriously sitting down to work, the dog wants in and out!

  98. LOL, SANDY! I don't have a helpful answer for you! Glad to report my dogs are content just to sleep on their little blankies in my office or else on my footstool. They do seem to know when it's suppertime, though, and then they won't leave me alone!

  99. Loved this post, Myra. Sometimes I think that well-meaning people look at my writing as a hobby, rather than my current career. I'm wondering if that will change when I'm actually published. But I have to say that most folks (friends and family) have become quite supportive - - even respecting my writing time. :)

  100. PATTI JO, I know it's even harder pre-publication, because others aren't seeing the results of our efforts. They don't get that it takes time and dedication and hard work to make our publishing dreams a reality. Glad your friends and family are (mostly) respectful and supportive!

  101. Myra I just love this post. You are so right on. No one, including my husband, understands that even a quick question that takes two minutes drags me totally out of the story, the characters, etc. Only another writer understands. smile. And like Mary said, thank the Lord for other writer friends who do understand.

    But as pointed out- it is a great life.

    And the smoothie hits the spot. Thanks.

  102. Sandy Smith, Good question. I have hubby better trained than the dog. LOL

  103. Yep, it's a great life, SANDRA! And even with hubby's inescapable interruptions, I wouldn't trade him! Not only has he been uber-supportive of my writing career, but in his semi-retirement, he's become a pretty passable cook. Plus, he's taken over most of the daily errands and household chores. Anything to keep him busy and out of my hair during writing time!

  104. Great post, Myra...and nice blouse, ;) Love your photo.

    I get a lot of, 'Isn't that done yet? You've been working on it forever.'

    Duh...no kidding.

  105. Oh, no, LYNDEE! Truly, they don't get how long it can take to write, rewrite, revise, and edit until we get a manuscript written, polished, and ready to go.

    Another question I'm often asked is, "Are you working on a book?"

    Technically, I'm ALWAYS working on a book. I'm either brainstorming, writing, editing, or promoting--or all of the above! But, as Mary said, if I try to explain any of this, I get those glazed-eye responses.

    Thanks for the compliment! I'm so pleased I finally got a good professional photo--and by a church directory photographer at that!

  106. Oh, Myra, you NAILED IT, girlfriend -- great post!!

    YOU SAID: "But when we’re trying to create, even a friendly invitation for coffee or a lunch date can seem like an intrusion."

    Oh my goodness -- I'm glad I'm not alone in this!! Before I quit to write full-time, I worked as a travel writer at a large travel company at which I had worked for over 30 years, so I had LOTS and LOTS of friends and acquaintances with whom I went to lunch, not to mention coming from a family of 13, so lots of sisters to see as well. My calendar had so many entries, it looked like a newspaper. Until ... my first book was published. Suddenly I had deadlines and promotion responsibilities that swamped me and my social life too. That's when the lunches became a huge intrusion, and I had to learn how to say no, so your statement TOTALLY resonates with me!

    I LOVE the term "muggles" as you apply it to non-writers, Myra, because it's not offensive, but it does differentiate between those who know the traumas of writing and those who do not. :)


  107. DEBBY SAID: "I wish my readers would know how much their support means to me. Often when I'm struggling to create a new story, someone will say they enjoy my books or that they couldn't put down the last story in my series. Their kind words boost my sometimes flagging spirit and give me the encouragement to continue on. Recently a lady told me she had all 16 of my books and had read each of them at least twice. As you can imagine, her words touched me deeply and made me want to work harder to become a better writer."

    WOW, Deb, you nailed it, too, my friend, beautifully! If our readers knew just how important their encouragement was, they would be posting reviews left and right, so thanks for bringing this point up.

    And, Myra, thanks for the link -- very helpful, especially since I have been gathering info for a review Seeker post I've been wanting to do for a while now. Soon ...


  108. Myra, I am soooo intrigued by a hero who is a botanical illustrator. Talk about someone whose family probably doesn't give him the respect his work deserves! It'll be interesting to find out what kind of balancing act he achieves. Don't enter me in the drawing -- my copy is already on order.

    This was one of the hardest things for habitual volunteer me to learn: "I promise you, if we don’t respect our writing time enough to say no, neither will anyone else." Interestingly, my stepping back allowed others to step up to the plate, and not one of the volunteer efforts in which I had been involved has failed without me ;-)

    Nancy C

  109. Hi, JULIE! Life really changes after we leave Unpubbed Island, that's for sure! Yes, "muggles" seems like a fine term to us for non-writers because writing sometimes feels like a kind of "magic," of course for Christian writers at the guidance of the Holy Spirit!

    And oh yes, those words of encouragement from readers are priceless!

  110. NANCY, that is so true--sometimes our saying no is exactly what is necessary for others to hear the call on their own hearts. God never intended for us to do it all, or to take an opportunity away from the person He intended it for.

    Yes, it was great fun creating a botanical illustrator for my hero. I do tend to lean toward beta heroes rather than alphas. Wonder why that is!

  111. Really interesting post, Myra! Our profession is so different from most and a lot of people envy us -- because they don't have a clue about the real writing life.

  112. Exactly, CARA! Writing a book is so "easy," right?

    And I have a bridge to sell you real cheap!

  113. Thanks for the interesting post, Myra!!

    I'm retired, due to health issues, after working 46 years. However, I probably spend as much time online, and off - promoting Christian Fiction, in many ways - as I did when I was working. Few of my family members and friends understand this passion - what I do, or why I do it. It's hard for them to understand why I may feel the need to get home to read, write a review, or post online, etc.. Neither do many of my friends totally understand my physical limitations, as KAV commented - some things just aren't worth making the effort to do. Thankfully, all are respectful and accept both my passion and limitations.

    I was 'called' to do what I do - it blesses me, something I can do from the comfort of my home, when I might not feel up to making the effort to get dressed and go out. I do have some understanding of the hard work, time (or lack of) and many elements involved in writing, thanks to the many writer' posts I've read. I echo CARYL's thanks to each of the writers who've blessed me with their stories!!

    Please enter me in the drawing for 'The Sweetest Rain', I'd love to read it!!

  114. BONTON, thank you so much for what you do! I'm touched to know how passionate you are about promoting Christian fiction. You are a blessing to us here in Seekerville!

  115. Thanks so much for allowing us to see this side of your writing lives. Please enter me in the drawing for either book.

  116. I'm REALLY LATE to the party...but was so blessed by this post. Myra, I NEEDED this!!

    I especially relate to your statement: "And I promise you, if we don’t respect our writing time enough to say no, neither will anyone else." My husband and my family are terrific. However, we are trying to get a new business off the ground, and just when I think I've established a schedule, we have a crisis needing attention. I just keep plugging along, juggling the commitment to the business and to writing!

    Would love to be entered in the drawing for both or either!! Thank you for the opportunity!!

  117. What a wonderful post. Thank you Myra. My dearest really does not understand how easy it is to get me sidetracked by even a simple comment. I love him to pieces but when I am writing it can be crazy. I have taken to wearing headphones. It is the only sign that my husband gets. Thanks for the wonderful post. I am learning to protect my writing time. It is important whether published or no.

  118. Thanks Myra!!

    I wish the non-writers in my life would understand how much work being a writer is! And how similar it is to any other profession--schedule-oriented, task-based, creativity-spurred, skills and talent required.

    Myra, I would LOVE to be entered in the drawing for both/either. Sorry to be so late!

  119. I loved Mary's answer. I have VERY supportive friends who THINK they want to know what's going on in my head or behind the scenes of writing and book building.

    I wish the non writers in my world would stop asking me "So, when are you going to retire from the day job?" I'll admit, that day gets a little closer each month, but it the beginning it made me feel like a failure, that I wasn't living up to some vague expectation in their mind. God has a plan. I'll retire to write full tie once God's timing and mine agree.

  120. Hi, BETTIE! Glad you enjoyed this foray into the writing life!

  121. KATHRYN, glad to be of encouragement for your busy life! Crises don't follow a time schedule, and sometimes we have no choice but to alter our plans and do what's required. I always think back to something I read once about discerning the "urgent" from the "important." It isn't always easy to separate them.

  122. KELLY--headphones! What a great idea! But I doubt my hubby would notice my tiny iPhone earbuds, so I wonder if we still have our gigantic mega-headphones from the '70s.

  123. SARAH, you said it all! Writing is work--schedule-oriented, task-based, creativity-spurred, requiring both skills and talent. It's not like we're writing for our health, right?

    Or maybe in many ways we are, because writing certainly keeps me mentally healthy!

    Now, if I can just remember to get off my you-know-what regularly so the rest of me stays healthy!

  124. SHARON, I know of few writers who earn enough from publishing to support themselves without some other form of income, be it a "real" job or their spouse's support. As Glynna said earlier, we write because we love to write, because of our innate need to tell the stories on our hearts and hopefully reach others' hearts in the process. Yes, we need to leave everything about our writing in God's capable hands!

  125. two year in and I'M just getting my head around the fact this is a job. i work at it and i treat it as a job, although less rigidly scheduled... (i'm Indie and my deadlines are pretty much my own... ) i'm also in disability so to convey to others that what i'm doing, is, in fact, a job, is taking time. i've many who support what i do but there are those that brush it off as if it's a passing fancy. the more i work at it - and will release novel #2 in november - i know the more "legitimate" it will be to the muggles in my life!

  126. Hi, ROBIN! Good for you for treating your writing as a job! Yes, even when we're setting our own deadlines, we are still entitled to expect others to respect them.

    And I know it's hard to convince some people that our writing isn't just a "passing fancy," especially until we have the published proof to show them. But getting published shouldn't be the only evidence of our legitimacy as writers. Yes, it's validation for all the time and effort, but we each have our own stories to tell and paths to follow, and the results are entirely up to God!

  127. I love it!!!! Thanks for this post today. :)

  128. Oh Myra...

    How perfect is this?

    Enjoyed reading the Seekers' take on things.
    Y'all pretty well have it covered, as you WOULD!
    This IS Seekerville we're talking! :)

    For myself, yeah. The interruptions are killers.

    In fact, about 30 mins ago I was seriously contemplating getting in the car and heading to the Library to work.


    And how especially difficult this current book is, given that the REAL author, May, has crossed the Bridge and can't tell me the story any more.

    /double sigh/

    But also... The encouragement that young (and young at heart) fans bring when they have waited to get your next book in the series and buy it! THEY are who we do this for!!!

    Write on everypawdy!

  129. I've been out of town and just got back to Internet. Fun post, Myra!! I'll have to catch up on comments now. :)

  130. KC, I know you must miss May so very much, and I'm sure she's still with you in spirit. What joy those stories bring to her very special fans!

    Hope you found a way to avoid more interruptions today. It's never easy, is it?

  131. Take your time, MISSY! This post isn't going anywhere. ;-D

  132. Very interesting blog post... I am a writer but I don't yet have a writing schedule and haven't yet experienced this looks and questions :D

    I'd love to win a copy of your book :D

  133. I have 7 kids and people think I am some wonder woman. But I know better and don't want anyone to think too highly of me! I'd love to win The Sweetest Rain!

  134. SIERRA, if you haven't established a writing schedule yet, think about setting one. Even an hour a week is a step in the right direction. It's amazing how this one thing can change our own attitudes about what we do as well as influence the way others treat us.

  135. DANIELLE, if you are raising seven kids, then in my book you ARE Wonder Woman! Thanks for stopping in!