Friday, November 30, 2012

Deadlines…beware! by Serena B. Miller

While on the journey to publication, it can be easy for us to get caught up with sitting at the computer for hours. Some of us may have day jobs where we sit at a desk, only to return home to do the same. Because we’re passionate about what we do, we’re driven to get those words down! But author Serena B. Miller has an important message to share about that very thing. 
 ~ Dawn


by Serena B. Miller

I just finished another deadline. This one was a killer. It was a much harder book to write than usual. Lots of research. I thought I was on track, but the final six weeks of pushing through to the end about the only thing I did was write. When the manuscript was finished, I didn’t send it to the editor as much as I flung it at her. I’m still in duck-and-cover mode dreading the moment when the edits come back.  

The day after I sent it in was like being a kid on the first day of summer vacation. I slept in. I laid in bed luxuriating over the fact that the book was finished. I looked out the window and wondered what to do with this glorious, sunny, fall day. Then I went downstairs and made coffee. The taste richer. The air I breathed sweeter. I took my time showering, and dressing. Everything was in slow motion, as though floating on air. I couldn’t stop smiling. 

The first thing on my to-do list was to take a walk. I have a marvelous place to walk. A country road where there is almost no traffic. I even have a mixed hound to keep me company. She was delirious to see me because I’d barely stuck my nose out the door for weeks except to go to church. She jumped and skittered about and ran toward the road as though to show me where it was and to encourage me in this new venture. 

Half-way through my walk, reality hit. The low-rising hill was steeper than I remembered. My breathing more labored. I had to walk slower than usual. I turned back long before I would have only two months earlier. I came home, sat on the porch, and dealt with the reality that I had hurt myself writing. I’d allowed my body’s muscles to weaken. While my heroine had done all sorts of difficult and adventurous things, I had sat typing. 

Here’s the thing: I love my life. I love my family. I love my church and my home and my profession. I especially love it when readers write and tell me that my books have brightened their day and helped them face harsh circumstances. I love it that I being allowed to use my one and only talent to glorify God. 

But I’m no spring chicken (as my father used to say) and it struck me on my walk how very insidious and sneaky Satan is. While I wasn’t looking, while I was busy being obedient to God and writing my stories, Satan began to steal my health away from me. 

And so….I’ve gotten my timer back out and am doing the 45 minutes of writing and 15 minutes of moving around every hour on the hour routine again. It’s a brilliant routine (that another writer taught me) when I pay attention and actually do it. Vacuuming, dusting, straightening the house, bowflex time, walking the dog. Nothing fancy. Just moving my body. Fifteen minutes at a time. 

I kept saying that this particular deadline was a killer. I didn’t realize I had unconsciously meant it literally. Be careful out there, writers. Remember to move around. 

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Serena B. Miller’s first book, Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, Ohio, was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice awards. Her second, The Measure Of Katie Calloway, won the coveted 2012 RITA award for inspirational romance. Her present book, A Promise To Love, is a historical loosely based on her grandmother’s marriage of convenience. Serena lives in southern Ohio surrounded by woods, good friends, her family, and her rescued hound-mix. She also helps her husband in his full-time ministry—when she doesn’t have a deadline looming. 

To find out more about Serena and her work, please visit