|Mr. and Mrs. Edward L. Akins, Dec. 3, 1982|
Today is my 30th wedding anniversary.
By the grace of God!
I couldn't be a writer without the support of my family and my husband. It's a sacrifice for him because my husband is the polar opposite when it comes to needing people time. He thrives on being around people, talking to them, spending time with them. For him to give up time with his one and only, is a real sacrifice, and I appreciate him for it.
Writers do well to remember what their families pay for loving them in the midst of a book or project. One of the things I do for my kids (who are older but have disabilities), is promise them a night out on the town (dinner, movie, etc.) if I sign a contract or sell a book or story. It helps them to be in on the victories. It helps them understand when I'm spending hours in front of a computer the reasons why I'm doing it. My children still at home can't grasp what I do because of their autism and developmental delays. But they do understand I'm happy when I sell something. And they are more than eager to celebrate with me.
Because my husband (whom I lovingly refer to online as "Mr. Himself") is a spontaneous kind of guy and I'm a planner, we've had to bridge that obstacle by making myself schedule "dates" so that he doesn't get neglected, or worse, feel neglected. It was very difficult for him in the beginning of my writing commitment until he saw me succeed. Then it clicked for him. I'm still not sure it's all that easy for him, but I'm grateful for his support. I couldn't write well without it. He has had to learn to do a lot more around the house than he did when we had little ones running around. I was happy to give those years to my children. But I'm happy now to give some years to the craft I love and I never take my husband's support for granted. We don't write books all by ourselves. It takes a circle of support and I know I'm blessed to have that.
All of it is by God's grace: successful marriages, writing careers, intact families. Without God's blessings and grace, we couldn't do it. So I thank God today that I've a marriage that's lasted 30 years. I'm grateful for the things I've learned by being married: giving up the right to be right; editing the words I say; compromise, compromise, compromise.
It's sort of the same when we write. We give up the right to be right by allowing others to critique and edit our work, we learn to compromise, and we most certainly learn to edit.
Nothing is perfect the first time. Wait, nothing is perfect, period.
30 years of marriage will teach you that.
And so will 30 minutes of writing.
Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, grandma to five beautiful little girls and author of the best-selling Jacques Cartier (that went #1 on Amazon in its category) and O Canada! Her Story. Her debut novel The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots was sold to Pelican Book Group and due out in 2013. One of her columns on MNN.com was featured on the CNN homepage. Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, she lives in North Manchester with her husband, twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and three rambunctious dogs. When she's not writing she dreams of riding her motorcycle through the Smoky Mountains.