After twenty plus years working in the glamorous advertising industry for a Madison Avenue caliber agency, Grace Chong, took advantage of an early retirement package as her agency went through a merger with another agency.
Grace was faced with some tough decisions. Go back to work for another agency and earn a nice income again and live a lifestyle of business class trips and entertaining at 5 star hotels. Or choose to pursue a childhood dream to write books.
“I chose to write over money,” shared Grace with a sweet regret-free smile that warmed and encouraged the souls and hearts of the participants at the Project Author ministry edition seminar last Saturday,March 18, 2017. Those words were like a cup of chamomile tea spiked with honey for those listening, who were facing similar crossroads in their lives.
Yes, I am at an extended three year cross roads, pushing the limits of God’s grace and patience as I buy time before going into full-time writer/author mode. (But that’s an entirely separate story that I’ll share another time.)
So, Grace, the executive, described her not so easy author journey and the adjustments that she had to make.
“I’d be crying as I found myself driver-less riding tricycles, dialing the rotary phone myself to make calls since I was without a secretary, looking at a closet full of blazers with nowhere to wear them, and alone and clueless at the malls climbing up an escalator before the stores were open,” Grace relates with a genuine pain written on her face. We were laughing at her story. Partly because, for some people, hey that’s par for their life’s course. But to each his own struggles, right? Lol! (Lol is as millennial as I’ll get, okay?)
Grace overcame her pity party, by taking prayer walks in her village at 5 am, conversing with God and counting her blessings. Then she realized how good God is to her and how she was already so blessed. “Count your blessings one by one…”, Grace said almost singing the words. That was the breakthrough for her.
She got to work with her writing with the same discipline that Grace was accustomed to at her advertising agency job. She treated writing like a job, reporting to her writing desk at 8am and knocking off at 5pm.
Today, 20 years and 50 plus books later, not to mention the 6 Palanca awards that she’s won for her work, Grace is still at it. Writing books that teach children values from God’s word.
She also writes from the Christian perspective for adults about life issues like retirement, singleness, and grace at work and everyday life among many other topics.
Grace also teaches advertising communications at a local high school to support herself and her writing ministry as she donates all the royalties from her books to help put children of pastors to school.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that she won her first Palanca award (the Philippine equivalent of a Nobel or Pulitzer prize for literature), a first prize award for her children’s story, on her first try.
I guess God figured that someone needed encouragement and prodding.
Those were Grace’s parting words.
Write now. Not tomorrow. But now. Don’t let the sun go down without writing. No more excuses. Write now. “Even if it’s just two sentences before going to sleep. Write!”
And the Grace of God, who so generously supplies us with all that we need, will see us through every word. (Even if some of us have to bleed through our noses looking for the right words to write.)
Write by God’s grace.
Reminds me of salvation. We can only be right in God’s eyes by accepting the saving, and amazing grace of Jesus Christ’s gift of eternal life.(See Romans 6:23).
Writing for the Lord is just like that. Only by His grace.
And yes, Grace did end up singing a line towards the end of her talk to much applause. Was nice and sweet but I’m happy she’s sticking to writing and not switching to singing as a career.
Thank you Grace Chong, writer extraordinary for the Lord, for sharing your amazing author journey and encouraging everyone in that room last Saturday. It was special.
Now, it’s time to write!
*Grace Chong was our special guest faculty at Project Author ministry edition seminar last March 18, 2017 held at CCF Alabang. This was our event poster…
And with some of our students and faculty:
Extreme leftmost is Prudy Verzo of YouVersion who graciously offered to the Project Author ministry students a chance to get published in his YouVersion Bible app which also publishes devotions and turns your books into serialized devotions. It has 4 million subscribers in the Philippines and quarter billion worldwide. Amazing!
Grace Chong’s books are available at all National Bookstores and online through www.omflit.com.ph
Read Grace online on www.leavesofgrace.blogspot.com
Subscribe to www.Ardyroberto.com to get my blogs, updates and alerts on our next PROJECT AUTHOR session and more. God bless you all!
By the way, remembering what Grace said to “just write”, I wrote most of this blog post on my phone, using the WordPress app, while on the nice air conditioned point to point bus from ATC Alabang to Greenbelt, Makati. Decided to write instead of watching the Warriors NBA game on my phone. That was the hardest part. The trip took half an hour. Just write, right?