Monday, March 03, 2008

Guest Blogger Camy Tang

I've followed Camy's blog for, gosh, a couple years. Since back before she quit her job, and before she won the Noble Theme contest, and before she got her BOOK CONTRACT, and not just one, but, I think, four. So I asked her to tell the dreamers of my readership a little about taking her leap of faith to pursue her passion. Without further ado...

I think I’ve always been very fortunate that as a writer, I knew for a certainty that writing was what God wanted me to do. There wasn’t any doubt. I’d already laid down my writing for Him once, and He’d given me clear permission to take it up again. He had even sent other things to encourage and prompt me in my writing.

What wasn’t so clear was my “other job,” biology work.

I enjoyed biology. I still find it fascinating. But it’s no longer my passion in terms of career. It’s kind of strange, because for a long time, all my career plans and hopes had been in the biotech field.

Now, they’re all in Barnes and Noble. LOL

Anyway, I was unhappy in my biotech job. I wasn’t in the field of biology that I enjoyed the most, but I had kept the job because my husband had been unemployed for over a year. He finally got a new position, but he’d only been there for a few months.

It had gotten to the point where I dreaded going to work each day. The drive into work was like driving to be dipped in boiling oil and whipped with chains.

The projects I was doing weren’t what I wanted to do—not in the particular branch of biology I liked the most—plus part of me wanted to be writing and not doing biology work at all.

I had managed to juggle both writing and working full-time for most of the years I was writing seriously, but it was getting harder because I was unsatisfied with the biology work.

Then, a friend of mine, Marilyn Hilton, offered a bold suggestion.

I knew God wanted me to write. So Marilyn suggested I ask God if I could quit my biology job and write full time for six months. The time limit was mostly to ease my husband’s worry, but it would also give me time to indulge my creative side for a while and be refreshed to start a new biology position—hopefully in the field I really enjoyed—when that six months was over.

If I got a contract, and the advance money was sufficient for our household expenses (read: mortgage), then I could continue writing full time until finances dictated I go back to work.

Now, I’m also fortunate in that I live in an area—Silicon Valley—where it’s very easy for me to get a new biology position. There are tons of biotechs here and my work experience makes me qualified for a variety of positions. Because of this, Marilyn’s suggestion wasn’t totally crazy.

I talked to my husband, who was open to it. I fasted. I prayed with Marilyn. And I quit my job.

Four days later, I found out I had finaled in the ACFW Noble Theme writing contest.

It was like a sign from God, a little bit of encouragement that writing—and forsaking my very well-paying biology position—was in His will for me.

I went on to win first place in my category in the Noble Theme that year. And the next year, I got a contract—just as the six months were up.

Now, I’m not saying every writer should quit her job to write full time. We had to calculate how we’d handle the sudden slicing of our income (because with both of us working, our household income was quite good).

I also had to have my husband’s 100% support. God was the one who molded my husband’s attitude about my writing, not my writing talent (because the only manuscript of mine that he’s read has been Sushi for One, and that’s only because I forced him to).

I guess my suggestion is—prayer and a willing heart. Being willing to do whatever God asks of us, whether writing full time or working full time and writing.

And my prayer for each of you is to know and be fulfilled in God’s will for you and your writing.

Camy Tang is the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.


Camy Tang said...

Thanks for having me here, Jamie!

Unknown said...

I love the name of your blog.