Wednesday, July 23, 2014

She Wanted to Be a Writer-- at 100 Years Old!

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A car accident took her husband. She'd barely turned fifty and no longer saw a purpose in life.

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
    B. Television
    C. Emails-Internet
    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?


If you found any typos in today's post...Mary Vee, (that's me sheepishly grinning), is waving her hand as the guilty party. 

If you have questions or would like this topic discussed in greater detail, let me know in the comment section. I'll gladly do the research and write a post...just for you :)

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.

Visit Mary at her website and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Mary, this was so inspiring! I wish I had her drive and initiative NOW! I know I keep using my day job as an excuse to not use my creative gifts more, but I am so very tired after a long day at work. I just want to retreat. I'm not sure how to change this...any ideas? :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Remember, she didn't do all those things at one time! What she did was choose to use all of the days she was given for life.
At this time you are working in the place God has you. My suggestions:
1. Come home after work and try to do something that makes you laugh. Wow that can really jump start an evening and distract us from the whoas at work.
2.Spend time with your precious family. That usually involves dinner and hopefully conversation.
3. The key is at the next moment, when the family is usually ready to settle down with a TV show, try to do 5-10 minutes. Thats all. Just a quick 5-10 minutes of writing. It will take you through those commercials they're watching.
4.After the 5-10 minutes join your family or keep writing. The first 5-10 minutes are difficult. Once you are there, you might be surprised how many days you choose to turn it into 15-30 minutes!

It's okay to be tired after a long day of work. A lot of that comes from the environment there. We try to pull ourselves out of it at night but struggle and end up not wanting to do anything. Pray on your drive home for strength to do something you really want to do during the evening. Pray every day. After a month you might be surprised at the changes you feel.

Love yah, Sherrinda.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Wow, Mary! You should be a counselor...or a Life Coach! What you said was so motivating AND so doable! Thank you, sweet friend. (((hugs)))

Jeanne Takenaka said...

This was great, Mary. As were your thoughts for Sherrinda!

My biggest distractor is tiredness. When I'm tired, I get easily distracted on the computer—social media and the desire to connect on some level with someone. Silly, isn't it? I'm working to make better habits when it comes to this, though.

When I'm 100, I'd love to be active, interacting with those I love and also writing. :) What about you?

Mary Vee Writer said...

I can totally identify with the distraction of social media when I'm tired. If it isn't bed time, we gotta get a cup of tea or juice, do five jumping jacks and then put our butts in the chair. :) Good soldiers for the Lord. (hey, sometimes I need to talk to the child within me.)

When I am 100, I want to travel to still travel. I don't think I could ever see enough of this world God made. Make sure you hold me to it, Jeanne. :)

Pepper said...

Fantastic post, Mare! I LOVE the motivation within this post, very sassy! Kind of like Ella - kick but and hopeful all at the same time.

At 100 - well, I'd like to be in Heaven, but if God still wants me on earth, I'd like to be loving on my family and writing comedy! I should have a well-developed sense of humor (with a handful of senility)by then for sure!

Sherry Carter said...

Great questions! I really need to start jotting down how I'm spending my time through the day. I have the luxury of being at home but I get to the end of the day, frustrated at how little writing I did.

I think my expectations are too high. "Tomorrow, I'm going to do the following 5 things!" When I work a while and I'm not making headway, I get frustrated and quit.

First, I need to reign in my list and then keep track of the things that draw me away from writing.

When I'm 100? Spend lots of time with my great-great grandchildren!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Love your answer. Heaven would be my first choice too.

But if not, I'd love to see you at 100 with a sassy humor. Hah! It'll be great!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Love your idea of just reigning in that list to what is doable. It's so easy to make the list long. Why do we do that? It just frustrates us.

Here's looking at that very doable list.

And spending time with great-great grand babies is a great great and grand idea. :)

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

What an inspiring lady! Thanks for sharing, Mary!

Michelle said...

Great thoughts here to remind us, Mary! So glad you shared with us.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Thank you, Karen and Michelle.