Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


The Literary Work

The day-by-day entries in Ellen White's diary tell of the relentless demands of her literary work. As the reader has often noted, this usually began in the early hours of the day. In one entry she explains: 4BIO 326.5

The morning hours, from 3:00 A.M. until 7:00 A.M., are my best hours to write, for then I am not broken in upon and obliged to give my time to advise with my brethren and counsel with them.—Manuscript 175, 1897. 4BIO 326.6

But beyond the writing, she needed to give diligent attention to the proofreading of materials copied. “I have been awakened at half past 3:00 A.M.... I see I have several articles put under my door to read this morning, to see if all is correct.”—Ibid. In a letter to G. A. Irwin, newly elected president of the General Conference, she disclosed in her appeal for more literary help something of the way she worked: 4BIO 326.7

I have a very large amount of matter which I desire to have come before the people, but I have no one to consider these matters with me. If I could have Sister Peck and Willie, I could get off many important things much more perfectly. I ought to have someone to whom I can read every article before sending it to the mail. This always helps the writer, for the helper often discerns more clearly what is wanted, and the slight changes that should be made. It is an important matter to keep in its simplicity all that matter that I write. I am sure my two editors endeavor to preserve my words, not supplying their own in place of them.—Letter 76, 1897. 4BIO 327.1

Shortly before this, the General Conference had officially released W. C. White from administrative duties in Australia so that he might give more of his time to his mother's literary work, but he was still in America performing errands for the Australasian Union Conference. A few months later, Sarah Peck was released from teaching in South Africa to join Ellen White's staff. 4BIO 327.2