Tuesday, April 10, 2018

" 'Tis A Puzzlement."

"The life of a writer must be so easy." I hear these words just often enough to make me re-think this second career into which God has led me. For those unfamiliar with my story, I was looking at retirement, not the life of an author. I practiced medicine for almost four decades, including ten years as a professor at a prestigious medical center. Retirement was going to include golf, travel, and leisure. But when my first wife passed away (just before my planned retirement), I journaled to express my feelings.Then I wanted to turn my journaling into a book, but had no idea how to do it.

Although I was so discouraged after one day at the writing retreat I attended that I wanted to go home, I persevered and eventually started on my road to writing. The Tender Scar, the book that was eventually published after that, has over the past decade ministered to thousands of people suffering the loss of a loved one. But I also was challenged at that same retreat to "try my hand at fiction."

After four years, four books, and four rejections, I quit. But I eventually tried once more, and shortly thereafter (long story) I got my first fiction contract. Now I've had fifteen novels and novellas published, and (God willing) will add to that number before the end of the year. But along the way I've discovered that being a published author doesn't automatically mean a full and peaceful life.

What there is to see beyond the name on a book cover might surprise you. I just communicated with a writer friend who spends hours each week driving her son for significant therapy, time that can't be spent writing...or marketing...or doing many other things. And this isn't an isolated instance. Yet she continues to write books that are excellent examples of inspirational fiction. I know offhand of numerous other writers whose personal lives aren't the perfect ones readers imagine. So why do we keep doing it? Because we're called to that activity, just as surely as ministers are called. We write because we can't not write. We don't do it for the glory (and we certainly don't do it for the money). But we do it.

I don't know why my first wife died suddenly, nor why God blessed me yet again with the love of another wonderful woman. I'm still not sure exactly how and why I got into writing. But it's a vocation I continue to pursue...although, as a retirement activity, it's not "so easy" at all.

Have I told you some things you didn't know about the life of a writer? Let me know.

Tweet with a single click. "The life of a writer must be so easy...or not."


EM Griffith said...

It's not an "easy" life, or an "exciting" one. When I was writing people used to say "You must have an exciting life!" I'd laugh and reply, "I spend countless hours in sweatpants and a tee shirt, staring at a computer screen and drinking pots of coffee. It's very exciting."

The life of a writer can be an isolating one, so it was always nice to be able to meet other writers who understood what a writer's day truly looks like. Thanks for sharing about your experiences.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Elise. I suspect our life isn't nearly as glamorous as some folks picture it. I imagine you have some stories, also.

Jackie Smith said...

YES, you did enlighten me! We avid readers, just sit back and enjoy your books ...not thinking of things you (and Elise above) cope with.
Blessings on you!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Jackie. We writers occasionally come down from our ivory towers and let the reading public peek beyond the facade we build to shield ourselves. Seriously, glad you were enlightened.

Patricia Bradley said...

The money. I wonder sometimes if we even make 50 cents an hour. lol. But you're so right. We write because we can't not write. Love this post.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Patricia. No, it's certainly not for the money, is it? And yet we continue on.