She didn't feel like eating and hid away from everyone -- until a friend visited her. "Ella, you can't die!" Her friend asked what career had she always wanted to do. "Work with children" was Ella's answer.
Ella went to college (remember she is fifty), earned her certification and applied for jobs at age fifty-five. She taught for about ten years, saw the needs of many children, went back to school, and became a social worker.
While helping the needy children, she saw how drugs hurt their lives. She built up a camp, that provided a place for the children to clean out their bodies and find a new purpose in life.
By age one hundred, Ella had many experiences. She felt as spry as her grandchildren and decided she wanted to learn to play the violin or maybe become a writer. A coin toss chose her next career. Ella became a writer.
She studied the craft while writing articles, a history of her county, and a novel, and probably more!
Dennis Hensley, professor at Taylor University, presented his interview with Ella and wrote several articles about her writing career that lasted until she was 106 years old. He told his class at the Write to Publish conference about this amazing lady.
There are times when life can rip us apart. Thankfully, God gives us friends and family to encourage us. Like Ella, what we choose to do with each day could impact more people than we realize.
Time is a gift given brand new, with no mistakes, every day.
Twenty-four hours. Sometimes events, commitments, and pressures make the day feel like five hours, and that is okay. God will give us a new set the next morning.
Dennis Hensley talked about two basic kinds of writers and how they used their time: the write players and the write producers.
A write player is one who shows the world her intentions to compose the next great novel. She attends writers' conferences, wears clothes that makes her feel like a writer, talks about her idea, tells all their friends even the hotel maid walking down the hall about the novel she is working on. In one year's time she's managed to have an outline, maybe. None of us want to be this kind of writer.
The write producer has her seat in the chair everyday. Sometimes for five minutes, hopefully for two hours. The plot of her book takes on twists and turns breathing excitement. Words are edited and fresh words keyed on the screen. The write producer knows when to walk away from the words to think and work through the next scene and when to rush back to the chair, ready to type.
Time Management is crucial to a write producer.
Many things can suck the life out of our writing time without our noticing. Take this quiz to determine your need, or confirm you are already spot on as a writer producer.
1. What is the greatest distractor of your writing time?
A. Social Media
D. Other (not essentials like caring for family, etc.)
2. How much time do you spend with this distractor each day? (For now make a guess. Tomorrow, for just the one day, jot down the time you spend doing this activity. You may be spending more time than you thought.)
A. Thirty minutes
B. One hour
C. Two hours
D. More than two hours
3. What is the excuse that draws you to the distractor?
A. I will only take a minute.
B. I need a break.
C. Someone else calls my attention to the distractor.
D. I don't feel like writing at that second.
4. What is the best way to draw you back to writing?
A. A reminder of my commitment to God to do this writing project.
B. Seeing my work space.
C. My main character pops in my mind.
D. Available time.
5. If your confidence has been lowered for any reason, what works best to restore your drive?
A. Time with God.
B. Sitting down/going for a walk and enveloping myself with the story.
C. Talking about my story with a writer friend.
D. Writing the next scene
Answering questions like these helps me see where my focus is. I probably would answer the questions different from one week to the next--and that is okay. By confronting myself with these questions, I become aware of what I need to do to honor the time God has given me to be the best writer I can be.
Here is one last question for you.
What would like to be doing if you reach one hundred years old?
Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes contemporary and romance Christian fiction, is honing marketing and writing skills, and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.