Monday, August 10, 2020

I'll Take Door Number W for Writer, Please

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing. Toby Mac 

My day job (property management) was intolerable. I've a flat spot on my forehead from smacking my head on the wall. As customers rushed to my office in hopes I would fix their self-inflicted problems, I
Peter Leavell
would reach for a massive lever, pull, and a trap door would open below their feet, sending them to a soft landing elsewhere. Freed from their insatiable needs, I would turn back to my laptop and sneak a few words on my laptop. In theory. I never wrote at work. 

At home, the kids were so eager to see me—and my wife starved for adult conversation—I tried to push my need to write off into the late night so I could devote uninterrupted time with them. 

No Balance 

Frustration boiled within. Annoyed and trapped, I lost my health and was nearly bedridden. And worse, I went bald. I certainly didn’t feel like I was choosing my circumstances. And even though I lived the triple life of day job, award winning author, and family man—and my friends thought I enjoyed the dream life—I couldn’t continue. 

Always Choosing 

Everything is a choice. Not changing is a choice. I decided to change. But what? How? There are only two options for the frustrated writer: Change the attitude or change the circumstances. I had to either be okay with how my life was playing out, or I had to change my life. 

Directions from a Supreme Being 

Sometimes God nudges us one direction or another. At other times, He directs His omnipotent boot against our backside, and we go flying. 

In one day, three tenants interrupted my family time—a drunk confronted my kids at the front door, a lady was locked out for the second time that day, and a man said until his AC was fixed, he would stay in my apartment. I had to push him out and lock the door. The tugging that had long been in my heart now didn’t sound desperate. Instead, crazy now sounded reasonable. 

I rushed to my laptop and applied to get my master’s degree. And two years later of desperate, rather enjoyable work, I’ve quit my day job and I teach and write full time. Sure, I’m short on money. But it feels like I’ve retired and I’m living my dream. And I’m only 43. And not a stitch of frustration. 

Writers are frustrated. I get it. I was there. Yet, we must choose. We can change our attitude or change our circumstances. Sometimes, we can do a little of both (I’m thinking of you, publishing industry). But not choosing is a choice. (Not writing is a choice as well, but that’s a topic for another day) 

Choose well, my friends. And may your choices always lead you down the perefect path laid for you, no matter how frightening it feels.

Annoyed and trapped as a writer? You have choices. Here is my choice... #seriouslywrite @peterleavell

When the tugging of your heart no longer sounds crazy—when to make the major changes in your life. @peterleavell #sereiouslywrite

Are you choosing to let your circumstances beat you? Now is the time to choose differently. #seriouslywrite @peterleavell

The frustrated writer has two choices—change the attitude or change the circumstances. Which should you choose? #seriouslywrite @peterleavell

Peter Leavell, a 2007/2020 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history and a MA in English Literature, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing's Best award for First-Time Author, along with multiple other awards. An author, blogger, teacher, ghostwriter, jogger, biker, husband and father, Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter's books, research, and family adventures at