In the Valley of the Shadow of QUIT

by | Aug 19, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 12 comments

Okay, so I’m there.

Walking between the mountains of publication, dreams, and reality. If you’re a writer, you’ve probably been there before….counting the cost like clinking coins in a piggy bank. Is it worth it? Can I even do it?

The coins in one jar are stacking up a whole lot higher than the coins in the other.


My oldest started middle school this year, which is a big shift in our family dynamics. I never imagined it would be such a change, but it is. So much homework, organization, planning…and he’s a GREAT self-starter. My fourth child started Kindergarten, and requires lots of guidance in the process. Because my second born son thinks homework is one of the plagues sent by God to the Egyptians, it takes him double the time to get it done. So life has become VERY, VERY busy. The first week and a half of school has been tough.

Did I mention I started a new job? Yep. Full-time tenure faculty position at the university, but that means more responsibility, more paperwork, more administrative duties = less time to write. My imaginary friends are getting mighty lonesome.

Oh, and I put my youngest into full-time childcare for the first time. (drawing in a shaky breath). I’m blessed because she’s doing so well, but there is an added transportation dynamic.

And there’s the responsiblities at church. You know, teaching Sunday School, Children’s Church, Worship Team…etc.

Not to mention my house that is slowly turning into a ‘garage-sell-wanna-be’.

Sorry for the complaints. I’m just walking that path right now and trying to figure out where writing fits into the mix. In all honesty, I can’t ‘quit’ because stories brew in my brain everyday at almost every hour, but the push toward publication isn’t a necessity for me right now. So I’m hovering between two paths and praying for a guide 🙂

No, these situations are not life-threatening. Not even really, really bad.

And, this season is just that…a season. And there is a time for every one of them.

The bottom line?

What season is this for me? What choices do I make?

Well, one thing I do know:

The only way through any fog-laden, rocky, crooked valley for a lost sheep

Is to have a Shepherd.


  1. Julia

    Pepper, I totally understand where you’re coming from. You’re so right. The shepherd will make a peaceful way for you, a way of balance. I’m trying to make a new schedule for myself this morning, every new season is a time of adjustment.

    • pepperbasham

      Oh Julia,
      Thanks for the understanding voice. I needed that. The valley can seem awfully lonesome sometimes, and just knowing there are others traveling along the path makes it a bit easier 🙂

  2. Melanie Dickerson

    Oh, Pepper, I understand. What I have to do when I get to that overwhelmed place where I saying, hey, wait a minute. I’m doing so many other things that I can’t get any writing done, I have to pull back from the other things. Maybe you don’t have to do Children’s church AND Sunday School AND Worship Team. Choose just one. And don’t worry too much about the middle schooler. I worried terribly over it but my daughter actually likes it way better than Elementary school.

    And you can always quit your job … okay, I’m sort of kidding about that. 🙂

    • pepperbasham

      Okay Mel,
      Unless I have a VERY rich uncle who’s planning to give me some secret inheritance, the day-job is a MUST. LOL
      Thanks for your words.
      I’m seriously considering toning down some of the church responsiblities (but that gets stick since my hubby is the pastor 😉
      I’ve already started making plans for it though.
      And in my heart-of-hearts, I know my oldest is going to be FINE. It’s my second one that I get a little nervous about and my brand-new kindergartener. You know, there are always those kids who float through their days (#2-kid), or are VERY…stub…er perserverent (#4 kid).
      But oh my, they are all so funny and I’m incredibly blessed.
      Just there, right now. Walking. Praying. (supposed to be working) 😉

  3. Susan Mason

    Hang in there, Pepper. Hopefully once everyone settles into a new routine, you’ll be able to carve out a little time to write.

    It’s really hard when almost everyone is experiencing something new. But it will calm down!

    Your school starts early. My kids don’t start back until Sept. 7th. Just thinking of all the things we have to do before then makes my hair curl!! But we always get through it!

    Take care,


    • pepperbasham

      Thanks, Sue.
      It is early, but they also get out the third week of May – so I guess that’s the swtich off 🙂

      Lots of new stuff does make the stress level jump. I think it’s just because it’s the first time that ALL 5 of my kids are in some sort of educational facility and all the ‘extra’ that requires sometimes.

  4. Christina

    Pepper, I am so there with you. We started school on Monday and this is the first chance I’ve gotten to really be on the computer. With two high schoolers and one junior higher, my time is very limited. I feel like we are doing school from sunrise to sunset, which isn’t the actual case, but it seems like it. And when the kids aren’t doing school I’m planning their next day. So exhausting!

    When to write, when to write? I have no idea. But yet I believe writing is a calling from God for my life. I need to step into obedience and find the time.

    And I agree with Melanie, try to back off on some of those other things.

    • pepperbasham

      I so agree with you that writing is a calling, and God provides the gifts – I just have to make the opportunities count, obey.
      Thanks so much.

  5. Casey

    Take each step as it comes and just pray that God would put the priorities in front of you that He wants you to do at that moment. Being in the center of His will, will give you all the peace that you need.

    And I will be praying for you. Wish I lived closer so I could help, but since I don’t, know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    • pepperbasham

      Thanks, Case.
      You’re a sweetheart. Plus, I’ll take the prayer.

  6. Regina Merrick

    Oh, Pepper! Bless you. When my husband started year 5 of five years of being a school administrator, I gave up children’s ministry and children’s choir. I was tired. Tired of working full-time, being the main chauffeur for my youngest, tired of being the go-to girl for just about everything. I figured out that my passions had changed gears ever so slightly over the course of the last few years. Writing, learning about writing, etc. had niggled its way up in the priority list, and I sincerely felt like God was giving me permission to step away from some of the ministry that was left over from before I worked full-time.

    He doesn’t want us steeped in depression because we can’t do it ALL. Your kids will feel it, your husband will feel it, and the ministries that you truly love will suffer for it.

    Just a few words from someone who has kinda been there!

    OK, and a purely selfish question – is this going to keep you from ACFW? 🙂 I sincerely hope not…

    • pepperbasham

      Nothing apart from a tragedy will keep me from going to ACFW. I know things will calm down a little after we get into a routine, but I’ve still gotta make some new adjustments.
      ACFW is already planned and paid for. I’ll be there, but I just need to pray and find out what God wants me to do right now. HOw much to devote to writing (or CAN devote to writing, ya know). It’s been difficult to just keep up a blog recently.
      Thanks so much for your words, Regina -a nd I can’t wait to meet you in September. 🙂


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