We have a special post written by Angela R. Watts, a speaker at Diamonds 2021 and the bestselling author of The Infidel Books. She shares how God was with her in her writing journey while being a caregiver of her chronically ill mother.
How God Helped Me Balance Caregiving
and My Author Career
I’ve written stories since I was six years old, and after my mother became chronically ill, my passion for writing didn’t stop when I was a young teen. It didn’t slow down. It burned brighter.
Most authors I know grew up with their parents reading books aloud for them. I was the kiddo showing my mom the books, getting her permission that they were safe, and reading them by myself as a kid. Mom homeschooled us kiddos, encouraging me in my creative writing. I wrote short stories, drabbles, poetry, and fanfiction, and at twelve, I completed my first novella. I was fourteen (or fifteen, I’ve forgotten) when I completed my first novel. I was sixteen when I self-published my first book.
During these years, I juggled caregiving for my mom, school (straight A student, by the way, for those thinking I slacked. Except math. That was probably a fail. Or a B), housework, babysitting my nieces, farm life, karate, and more. Though I struggled, I focused on fiction as a means to cope and find comfort and hope. However, my dream of being a published author was not one I allowed to reach the surface until I was about fifteen. This is when I discovered the world of self-publishing and realized I could publish my novel.
It was tough, I won’t lie.
My author career has been trial after trial, some large, some small, but they all add up to one wild ride. God has been with me, every step of the way. When all I could do for months was handle life and helping my mom, He assured me that more was to come. When I finished a novel only to have it rejected by friends, God kept whispering, “Keep going, I’m not done yet.” I struggled with balancing my life and my writing, and on top of this. So, how have I learned to handle it all?
First, I’m constantly focusing on my reasons why.
Am I writing and working to serve God or serve myself? When I help my mom get meals, housekeep, shop, etc, am I doing so out of love, or am I having a stressful day and allowing my attitude to be abrasive? Am I reminding my family how much I love them, or am I so focused on work that everything else is drowned out? I’m the sort of person who gets on a mission and doesn’t stop till the mission is finished–but as a caregiver, that trait was bashed with a stick many times.
My mom, however, is a graceful woman and she constantly reminds me that I need to balance it all. So, my first step to balance my life is to refocus on my whys. If they’re off track or turning selfish or muddled, I snap my sights back on God’s will and find comfort in this above all else.
Second, I’m a pretty hard-working individual,
and don’t mind long hours.
I work for myself as an author and editor, so scheduling my workload is very important! I set myself deadlines for my work and I stick to them as closely as possible. Then I have my clients, and I schedule my editing jobs similarly! I enjoy having a list of things to do each day and it helps me track my time better.
Third, I listen to my mother!
She constantly reminds me to eat, drink water, exercise, play with my pup when I’m stressed, and rest when I need it. I overwork myself because I find immense joy in my work and accomplishments, but that doesn’t mean burn out is okay. The past year or so, I’ve strived to balance my work and rest, as well. Despite my expectations, it didn’t slow me down. I was able to rest and take care of myself and still write a few novels, publish a novel, pitch and sign a contract for a novel, publish a short story, and take on brand new epic clients!
I’m constantly learning something new in my life and career. I like finding better ways to do things. I love working with clients. I love seeing my readers scream over my novels.
However, I wouldn’t be where I am without God’s goodness.
God pushed me through every bad day, every tough week, every stressful month. He showed me the beauty in pain. He constantly reminds me to look back at how far I have come. Middle-school me would have never dreamed of putting myself out there and pitching to a publisher, but in 2020, I signed with my dream press.
I refuse to allow my circumstances to weigh me down. I refuse to allow my trials to do anything but make me focus on God more than myself. I refuse to view my life as nothing but a struggle. I spent years surviving, years begging God to spare my mom, with fiction being my only escape. I’ve grown a lot since then. My mom is with me, I’m focusing on living, and I’m a bestselling author.
None of this would be possible if I had not heeded God’s will for my life and took it all step by step. If you have a dream or a goal, and life is keeping you down, hold on. God is not done yet. Give yourself grace, give yourself small baby steps, and keep fighting on.
If you’d like to read more posts like this, or you want to check out my novels or editorial services, you can find me online or on my website, angelarwatts.com!
Angela R. Watts
Angela is the bestselling author of The Infidel Books. She writes bold fiction that glorifies Christ and has published over seven books. She lives at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she loves traveling. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but when she’s not writing, she’s probably raising animals, painting, or working with her amazing clients.
P.S. What is Diamonds 2021? Diamonds is a conference for chronically ill Christians. If you miss my previous post, click here to find out more.