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Monday, August 29, 2011


I’m sitting at my dining room table with my laptop. My screen is blank. The phone is next to me, and I’ve just hung up from a 20-minute conversation with the Director of Congregational Education at my temple. I’m the Religious School chair and we spent time discussing setting up committee meetings and discussing the upcoming first day of school. In between the “business” side of the conversation, we chatted about camp, our kids and life in general, because we’re also friends. I really like her and love talking to her, but my screen is still blank.

My older daughter is in the kitchen baking cookies. She’s really into baking this summer and asked if she could be in charge of baking cookies. Since that’s usually my job, I was happy to relinquish the task. She’s pretty independent, but not an experienced baker, so she comes over at every step to ask me questions. They’re easy questions and need simple answers and really don’t take up much time, but my screen is still blank.

My younger daughter is at the computer writing a play. She’s creative and loves to write and act and is very good at it. She also loves me to read what she’s written, every step of the way. I love reading what she’s written, and find myself a little jealous that her screen is filled with words. My screen is still blank.

The dog is banging against my leg. She doesn’t bark and rarely whines, and this is her way of telling me to pet her. She’s fairly insistent, and unless I want bruised shins, I’d best comply. I pet and rub her and pay her some attention, and then turn away. She scratches me to try to get me to continue, but I resist. My screen is still blank.

Balancing life and writing, as you can see, is a challenge. It’s challenging for everyone, because very few of us can devote our entire day to writing, at the exclusion of everything else. What makes it most challenging for me is balancing the needs of my family with my need to write. When I first started writing A Heart of Little Faith, balancing writing and family wasn’t as much of an issue, because I did the majority of my writing at night, while my husband watched TV and my kids slept. By the time I’d finished writing it (92,000+ words later), both kids were in school part of the day at least, so I had time to query authors and agents in peace. The school schedule also enabled me to write synopses and requested partials. Requested edits and changes could be done at night. This is a breeze, I thought, with visions of me in a Superwoman cape flitted through my head. Ha!

When I finally got “THE CALL” from Whiskey Creek press, I floated on a cloud for days. My family would try to talk to me and I wouldn’t hear them. My volunteer responsibilities at my temple and everywhere else collected dust as I daydreamed about being a famous author. The laundry piled up, my family consumed frozen food and my clean house was not-so-clean for a good long time.

The situation only worsened when I was given galleys to edit and cover art to approve. My family was wonderful and gave me all the time I needed to make the necessary edits and provide approvals. No problems there, except my editing time ate up my writing time and my WIP sat on my computer, untouched.

When A Heart of Little Faith came out in June, I had plenty of time to market the book and write, because my kids were at camp and I had 12 hours of “me time” before my husband came home. But now they’re home, and while that’s not a bad thing, it’s very difficult to get anything done (especially since my youngest has declared August her “birthday month!”).

So, for the time being, until the kids go back to school, my screen will remain blank, marketing will occur in fits and starts around their schedule, and we’ll spend my “me time” together, swimming, baking and enjoying the freedom of summer. School’s around the corner, and although only two of us will be boarding that school bus, we’ll all be returning to the “school schedule” soon enough.

A Heart of Little Faith can be purchased from the following:
Whiskey Creek


Jennifer Wilck can be contacted at the following:
Blog—Fried Oreos:
Blog—Heroines With Hearts (contributor):

When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).

One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I’ve gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith came out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.

In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board, train the dog we adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.

When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.

I can be reached at or

ADDENDUM: After this blog post was submitted, Ms. Wilck was given the exciting news that she is Whiskey Creek Press's #1 selling author this month with her book, A Heart of Little Faith.


Debby said...

I loved what you said. It must be tough to satisfy all you daily needs and still satisfy the creative side as well. Great post Debby236 at gmail dot com

Paula Martin said...

You do a great job in balancing your family life with your writing. I don't have family around me 24/7 now, but I remember when I did, and it's not easy. I ended up doing my writing late at night and, in fact, still do. Old habits die hard!

Annette said...

No surprise at all that the novels hit #1. great post

Debra St. John said...

Ah, yes, the blank screen. For me, though, the timing is opposite! Now that I'M back in school, my screen is blank much more than I'd like it to be.

Congrats on your number one spot! It's well-deserved.

Marlena Cassidy said...

Writing time is a precious hard thing to find. I do the majority of mine on breaks and during commutes or whenever I can find time to write a few words here and there. Congrats on hitting number one!

Jennifer Wilck said...

Thank you, Debby, I appreciate your comment!

Paula & Debra, thank you and thanks for stopping by--Debra, good luck with the school year!

Annette, thank you!

Marlene, thank you, and keep it up!