The Fight/ FaithWalk (Poem)

Mary&Martha (3)

Mary and Martha fighting within me
One wants to be sitting at Jesus’ feet
The other’s too busy with cooking and cleaning
Distracted by everything that
Really needs doing
And she’s getting mad with
Mary, who’s laid back and smiling
Can’t she see?!….

You know I’ve just got to …
Run all these errands, tick off my list
Take care of the kids
Hurry to the shop,
Dash to the library
When will it stop?
You tell me,
When will I stop and
Listen to Jesus?

Mary and Martha fighting within me
Martha’s got the edge today
She’s the one who’s always saying
“I need to…”, “We’ve got to…”, “I must…”
She’s busy and stressed
Also somewhat depressed
‘Cause she realises she’ll
Never
Get everything done

But don’t you know
Some things can wait, Martha
Like striving and fretting over
Temporal things
Just take a moment to
Breathe in some fresh air
From His Word
Grasp a ray of light
Through his divine touch
Then you can carry on
Yeah, then you can carry on
With a smile on your face
After
You’ve met Jesus

Move over Martha
It’s your turn Mary

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Write A Book (And The 1 Reason Why You Should…)

Photo: marsmet (CC)

Photo: marsmet (CC)

  1. Everybody is doing it. There was a time when writing a book was seen as a major, commendable feat; authors were held somewhat in awe. Not anymore. Since the typewriter was ditched and we all got our hands on new technology, writers have been springing up all over the place. The advent of the internet and the ability to self publish has enabled an explosion of authors into the marketplace. Just look around on Amazon Books for a few minutes and you’ll get the idea (if you hadn’t already realized). Nearly every fifth person on social media sites seems to have written a book or a novella or a travel guide (well, at least if my followers are anything to go by), while virtually every other person expresses an intent or desire to one day write a book. So, yep the market for books is beyond saturated, and if you’re going to write something, you better check that it’s unique or in demand.
  2. It will consume far more time, energy & mental exhaustion than you could ever imagine. It may consume your every waking moment. Just consider your most stressful project, dissertation or creation to date, and how much it took out of you to complete it. Now quadruple that, or even times it by 10 (depending on the length, complexity and genre of your book), and you’d have a vague idea of how much work will go into this brilliant book idea of yours. (For more on exactly what’s involved, check out this article). Despite what you may have heard, writing a book is work, not a stroll in the park. Are you willing to invest that much of your heart, mind and soul into getting your book into print? Thought not. Think again. There are other vocations out there, you know.
  3. It’s not just about churning out text for the content of your idea any more. You’ll really have to look into expending effort into producing a website (or outsourcing it to a professional), and think about additional social media channels devoted solely to your book. Yep, basically more time, and probably a hefty sum of money to get on the writers’ bandwagon these days. If you think such things are an unnecessary extra that really wouldn’t concern you, you better do some research. Even the big publishers are looking for authors who are willing to go the extra mile with establishing an online presence and connecting with readers.
  4. If all that hasn’t put you off yet, maybe this will: The project doesn’t end after the book has been written, or even published. Next comes selling hard copies to friends, neighbours, colleagues, twitter buddies, random strangers etc. It’s all about marketing yourself, chasing leads, requesting reviews and making friends with others who’d happily advertise your book to their friends and followers. Yet again, even if you land yourself a deal with a top publisher, they’ll expect you to do your part in marketing your book. You are no longer just a bona fide writer, you are now expected to be a promoter and marketer. Believe it. Could you actually do this, or does the mere thought scare you silly? If so, now’s the chance to forget that vision of becoming an author and put your ideas on the slush pile of Silly Ideas To Be Forgotten, Never To Be Resurrected Again. Just think of all the stress you’d save yourself, not least the embarrassment of having to sell an actual product to the wider world.
  5. And finally – and this is the most convincing reason of all… In pursuing your dream to write a book, you will subject yourself to the greatest tension ever known to writers everywhere… No, not waiting to see if anyone will buy your book; no that’s really not that bad. After all, you don’t have to tell anyone how many copies you’ve sold! No, the ultimate fright comes after you’ve sold a few and the reviews start coming in – from readers you don’t even know. Yes, waiting for reviews, and along the way requesting reviews, often having no idea what they will say, could possibly be the scariest moment of your life. Are you ready for those 1* reviews to come in from those who think your book is the biggest load of rubbish they’ve ever read? I have not asked anyone for 5 stars, not even my over enthusiastic big sister – and yet a few glowing reviews have rolled in. But I am not naïve. When I think about it, I don’t think I would even give myself 5 stars! I know those 1* reviews will likely soon come in. How am I so sure? That’s easy, just check out the reviews for your most favourite book ever, or a well known blockbuster that comes to mind. Scroll down. Yep – there they are – the 1* reviews from disgruntled readers who really weren’t impressed with the story or style of that hyped up book! Do you really think that if J.K.Rowling couldn’t avoid 1* reviews, that somehow you’re so special that you won’t get any? You must be joking (unless you only ever sell 5 or 10 copies to your best friends and family.)

The 1 Reason Why you Should Write a Book…

If all the above has failed to deter you from pursuing this writing malarkey, then here’s the one reason, and one reason only, why anyone should actually press on and write that book they’ve so wanted to write. And here it is (drum roll, please)… The ONE reason you should ever write a book is because YOU HAVE TO! Because it’s stirring in your bones & your soul, and you finally relent & accept: ‘This is what I absolutely must do. I will get no peace unless I get the words out, printed on the page/screen/scrap of paper.’ If this is you, then what are you waiting for? Get on and get writing your book! We want to hear about it. Tell us about your book idea in the comments below.

And while you’re here, why not check out the links to my novel and book website? Thanks!

‘You just make mistakes when you rush.’ A reminder to slow down…

Creative Commons: Ell Brown

Creative Commons: Ell Brown

I’d just finished writing an article and looked forward to settling down to my tasty stir-fry leftovers for a quick lunch before our big supermarket delivery was due to arrive. I hadn’t received a text saying exactly when within the hour they were likely to come. Alas, in usual Murphy’s Law fashion, I had just taken the first bite of the spicy dish, when the doorbell rang. Drat.

‘Oh well’, I thought, ‘I better just unload everything quickly so I can settle down to eat afterwards.’  As I unpacked the vast amount of items (there was practically no food left in the house), I engaged in a little small talk with the delivery guy. I apologised for ordering so much stuff and said I’d try to hurry up, knowing that the drivers have several deliveries to fit into their daily schedule. His laid back response stunned me…

‘No hurry’, he said calmly. ‘Take your time.’

‘But won’t you be late for your next delivery?’

‘There’s no point worrying about that, I just take my time. And you just make mistakes when you rush.’

I relaxed, emptying the boxes a little less manically.

The young employee explained further: ‘All the drivers get really stressed and talk about it in the canteen at work. They all moan about how hard the job is and how they have to rush around to get the deliveries done on time, but I’m just not that bothered. They say to me ‘Aren’t you worried about being late?’ and I say ‘Nah, I take my time’. I end up making the deliveries on schedule most of the time anyway, and there’s nothing you can do about a customer being slow to unload, or a traffic jam en route.  The others tend to make mistakes ‘cos they’re in such a rush.’

I slowed down some more, deciding that after putting away the food for the fridge freezer, everything else could wait until I’d eaten my lunch.

I couldn’t get that line out of my head. ‘You just make mistakes when you rush.’ How true – in so many areas of  life. I thought about the couple of typos in my novel (hurriedly checking the final proof before it went to print); I thought about the times I’ve left something important at home or at work, because I’ve dashed out the door without checking my bag; I thought about missing a crucial email after hurriedly scanning through my inbox.

Rushing makes us feel as though we’re being productive and using our time well. Ironically, the converse is true: rushing often slows us down, as we have to go back and remedy the errors or mistakes we make. Rushing also robs us of a calm, relaxed demeanour.  Instead of simply getting on with a job or task at hand, we’re constantly looking at the clock or feeling on edge. The young man delivering my shopping was able to work efficiently at a moderate pace, without letting his job get him down or stressed.

Slowing down as we work certainly has its benefits: A relaxed attitude, a cheerful manner and a more pleasant individual for others to work with. The many health benefits of living stress-free have also been well documented by researchers. Slowing down doesn’t mean being lazy or inefficient; it simply means pacing yourself and working consistently, often allowing you to achieve more than if you had hurried.

So I’m going to purposefully implement this laid back philosophy into my work ethic and family values. Rushing, quite simply, isn’t worth it.