Daily Archives: September 25, 2006

Words of Blessing

Wow! You would think after reading Sam’s post that the two of us talked on the phone this morning and chose our topic together. With much regret I haven’t spoken to Sam since the ICRS convention in Denver. (Sam, did you get a lot of bargains that last day? Jodie, Ralph, & I did great though I cut myself off after only one handbag.)

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I need to report I had a great writing week last week, pumping out an impressive 25,000 words. If I managed that on a consistent basis, I could write a hefty first draft in 30 days. I know other writers do this without breaking a sweat. They must. Don’t you wonder how Nora Roberts and Debbie MacComber have several hundred books between them? Not me. But I keep a close eye on my numbers. I try to make myself accountable for a certain word count. If not, I wouldn’t get anything done. My housework would interfere. The weeds in the garden. My grandkids–three at last count. Doctor and hair appointments, and everything else that rob us of our time.

Sam, I happen to be one of those blessed few who does not work outside the home. My husband works third shift at a printing factory to keep me in the lap of luxury. I don’t have kids at home any longer so my days are basically mine to do with what I choose. So why don’t I have more 25,000 word weeks?

Discipline, that’s why–or should I say, the lack thereof. I allow the distractions of life to keep me from sitting at my computer and staying there until I reach my word count goal. I think it’s precisely because I have so much time that I think, “I’ll get to it later.” or “I didn’t have a good day today, so I’ll make up for it tomorrow.”

Alas, you can’t make up for lost time. Didn’t our parents tell us that a thousand times?

Don’t write to me and tell me I need to manage my time better. I know that. I know I need to get control of life’s distractions instead of letting them control me. It’s like losing weight. We all know the dynamics. Expend more calories than you take in. Simple, huh? So why is the world paying billions of dollars for books and diet aids and surgeries if all it takes is putting in less than you take out?

I’m obviously not the only one who doesn’t do what she knows to do.

“Oh, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” the apostle Paul, Romans 7:24

A good writing week last week has made me determined to repeat it this week. I love watching those numbers go up and the feeling that I have accomplished something of great worth. More than an impressive word count, more than discipline, more than financial gain or personal gratification, I want my writing to mean something. After reading one of my books, I want the reader to feel that he/she has grown by spending three days inside the world my book created. During my devotional time last week, I came across something that reminded me of that point.

Whether writers or educators or parents or insurance salesmen, we will have an impact on others, even if it is only indirectly. How will the words out of our mouths or those we write touch the person who hears/reads them? Do we uplift or tear down? Do our words make whole or sew doubt? Are my words, words of blessing or words of cursing?

While determined to write another 25K words this week, more importantly, I want those 25K to edify and inspire. Be blessed and have a great week.


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Paying Bills and Writing Thrills

by Samuel J Alibrando

Hey Molly, your name will be easy for me. As the eldest grandchild my grandmother felt she was too young to be called grandma so her first 4 or 5 grandkids called her “Molly”. “Molly” is special to me.

I am late on this blog. I was in Chicago on insurance business [my day job] since Wednesday and this is a nice segue into talking about the artist and the provider.

I suppose if one is a wife of a man who is amply providing money for bills and expenses, she can write and market, etc.full time. However, for the majority of writers out there, you may be a single woman, a single mom, a bachelor, a husband, a father or even a spouse who needs to contribute to the family income, this is about that balance.

Remember, I too am a student in life and this new thing called “published author”. I honestly believed my first book “Nature Never Stops Talking-The Wonderful Ingenuity of Nature” was not only good enough, but that the timing was God-given and in a matter of 18 months combined with my whole-hearted and savvy contributions to marketing, I would earn more than ever before in my life. I genuinely believed that. I almost sold my insurance business but couldn’t get the terms I wanted. Instead, I drew from a credit line when I was short since I literally went full time into the book work and marketing temporarily.

By the ninth month I realized the big numbers were not materializing. I was told there were 30,000 new book titles released monthly. Frankly, I do not know many book authors in person before becoming an author. I also received the flattering responses from strangers learning I was being published. But when I walk into a big bookstore it seems like everyone is writing books. One of the partners in a firm interested in buying my insurance business approached me with a smiling glazed look saying “I never met an author before” and shook my hand. He had to be in his 60’s. Flattery is one thing. Realizing my carefully considered financial plan was based on inexperience and spreadsheet hypotheticals, I turned more energy toward my insurance business once more. Personally, I have never been able to bring myself to announce to my dependents “I am a great artist and so we shall live in the car and you must become serious dumpster divers. Don’t worry though, in 3, 5, 10 or 20 years I believe my hard work and talent will be discovered in a big way.”
So it’s off to work I go.

I do have the privilege of residual income in my business so if I miss a month of work, I still have money coming in but it isn’t quite enough. And now I owe more than last year. Without getting into politics I will state only the obvious that when I do make more money I owe more taxes which means I have to earn more than I need in order to net the amount that I need. OK, isn’t everyone trying to make more money? Whenever someone wants to change the status quo, there is a learning curve which means more time to make observations, corrections and experimentation. Mentally and hourly, this is much more consuming than the regular work routine. The apostle Paul was kind of a part time apostle. He made tents for income and kind of bragged about it saying he was entitled to contributions but chose not to go that route. We must ALWAYS do the right thing. As Christians the WRITE thing doesn’t override the RIGHT thing.

Truthfully, I do not feel shortchanged but honored to be published and still writing. I am doubly blessed to have a 2nd book out. I am grateful to have work for income too. I am grateful to be American. Let’s admit it, none of us selected what family or nation to be born into, we just found ourselves born into our time and situation. To provide for my family and now, just my wife and myself, is a terrific honor also. We are safe in our home. We eat well and have most of the comforts Americans enjoy. My burden is the shortness of the day and my limited energy. I still write.

I have never been disciplined but have accomplished most of what I do from great zeal. I compose and play music. I journal and write and keep a log of ideas and new quotes. My writing is something of a reaction to my life and the world I live in. Writing is expression for me; an outlet.

If you pray to God to be a writer you must show Him the sincerity of that prayer with your actions. My conduct is also a prayer in every way. My behavior reveals what I really want –

So my challenge is this: Your life and choices reap a destiny. Is your life headed the direction you want? Is your daily behavior showing God the power of a quest He can bless?

Test question: Is your life filled with integrity and only lacking fulfillment due to circumstances; OR is your life lacking integrity and fulfillment due to your choices? God can change circumstances, but it is we who must change our character through choices trusting His help.

This is what I must examine often in my own life and as Psalm 90 [the only Psalm I know of by Moses] pleads “Teach us to number our days so we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

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