Thursday, February 13, 2014

In Secret by Anusha Atukorala

Some months ago, I needed to have an x- ray of my left foot. I parked my car at the shopping centre and trundled off for my x-ray. Once it was over, I returned to my car and got in surreptitiously. Why surreptitiously you ask? Shhhh. Not so loud. I climbed into the backseat and shut the door. I took out a tub of “Exit pain” cream. I pulled off my shoes. I pulled off my socks. I put on a pair of disposable gloves. I applied the cream on both my feet – top and bottom… as quickly as I could. Ah! That was better. Much better! I put on my socks and shoes. I took off my gloves. I gathered my shopping bags. I was ready. Off I went to the shops.

The problem was that I had very painful feet. I’d found a temporary solution in a tub of an all-natural-pain-relieving cream. If I applied it before going out for a walk I could last the ½ hour. If I applied it before going shopping, I lasted a whole hour. How I thanked God for it. It got me through.

But if a passer by had seen me applying the cream while I was inside my car - it may have looked a trifle odd. “What’s that strange lady doing in her car?” they might wonder. Going for that x-ray before my shopping changed matters. I had to do it in my car, not at home as I usually did. In secret. Not that applying the cream was a bad thing of course. It was a good thing. It helped me walk didn’t it? But it’s not a fact I would have announced to the world. It was something I had to do in secret. Just so I’d get my shopping done.

We writers too often do things in secret don’t we? Not bad things. Good things. Like eavesdropping on other people’s conversations (so we can get ideas for dialogue). Or making wild surmises about other people’s lives. Or brooding over a character’s love life while in company. Or spending hours on our own, hunched over our computers. Or day dreaming when we should be paying attention to our spouses. Yes, we are a strange bunch. No doubt about that. But our secretive behaviour is actually good for our profession, don’t you think?

Jesus asked us to do things in secret too. Here are a few examples... just off the top of my head.
1. Pray.
2. Give.
3. Forgive.
4. Live a life of integrity.
5. Do good.

So what are the things that as a Christian Writer I could and should do often “in secret” and to an audience of One? Here’s my little list.
1. Cultivate my relationship with God as my number 1 passion.
2. Listen to God (about all of life including my writing life).
3. Pray for others.
4. Give.
5. Forgive.
6. Make every day count.
7. Do good.
8. Work hard.
9. Read.
10. Read.
11. Read.
12. Read.
13. Read.
14. Learn.
15. Study.
16. Observe people.
17. Observe the word around me.
18. Seek God’s ways and wisdom.
19. Do research.
20. Learn my craft.
21. Write.
22. Write.
23. Write.
24. Write.
25. Write
Of course it’s not a comprehensive list. What would YOU add to it?
In secret or otherwise? Go on….I’m listening.
And yes, you can whisper if you like…..

PS After reading Ian's eye-opening post on marketing, I can see that something is definitely missing from my list! Thanks Ian.

Anusha Atukorala is writer who's in love with Jesus, life, people and the English Language! She loves connecting with people, especially other Christian writers. Her passion is to become all God has created her to be; and to share His amazing love through both her life and her writing. Do drop by at her website to say G’day. You will be most welcome! Dancing in the Rain


  1. I'm not sure I can think of ANYTHING to add to that excellent list of things writers can and should do, Anusha--except perhaps rest at times! God bless--and I hope your feet will both soon be much better.

  2. Hi Jo-Anne, Thank you for your lovely words. And yes, REST is essential so thank you for mentioning it. I believe you too are recovering from an operation so let me wish you the very best as you rest and recuperate - something I am doing myself these days. Thank you - yes, I am hoping that I will be flying high with feet that can dance by 2015! :)

  3. I hope your sore feet are better soon, Anusha. Good list, and it shows how writers can get so busy without even factoring in the marketing aspect :) I like the photo of your bedside drawer. My little table tends to get piled with books too.

  4. Thanks Paula. Appreciate your wishes. Fancy my forgetting the marketing aspect - although perhaps it was intentional forgetting because that's one aspect of a writer's life that I dislike. Glad to hear you too have lots of books on your bedside table. In my case it's more than usual because I have 3 months in bed following a foot operation. So I get lots more time to read than usual. Yay! :)

  5. Great post as always Anusha. I'm visualising you sitting sweetly in a coffee shop minding your own business while eavesdropping on everyone around you - LOL. We are a sneaky bunch. I've had a lot of real people turning up in poems lately. Sshhh. Don't tell them! The other obvious thing you left off your list was chocolate. Very much on my secret writer's list as I'm supposed to be on a diet! Hope your feet are not just dancing again soon, but figure skating and snowboarding too. Take care xx

    1. Thanks for your lovely encouragement Nola. I am laughing at your imaginings about my listening in other people's conversations! Actually I haven't indulged in too much of that to date since I've been mostly writing non fiction ... but seeing as a fiction book is now calling out to be written, I plan to join the rest of you fiction writers in such sneaky pursuits.

      Yep! I left out the chocolate. The simple reason is that chocolate has become a No-no for me. I stopped dairy products 5 months ago for my fibromyalgia and voila - my pain (even in my feet) have been so much less, that it is sadly something I have to leave out in secret or otherwise. But - yes, you are welcome to my share Nola! :)

      Thank you my friend - the figure skating and snow boarding is sounding good. Let's do it together one day! Blessings! xox

    2. Good plan Anusha. We can eavesdrop on the chairlift :)

  6. Enjoyed your post so much, Anusha. And a great list. But how do you manage to keep your desk so tidy. C'mon now did you (secretly) get things in order before the shot?

    My husband has a bedside pile like yours. Not me. By the time I get to bed, usually late, I cannot read. That's reserved for morning coffee & afternoon tea time.

    1. I meant to add I hope your feet will heal nicely so that rubbing on cream will be a thing of the past.

    2. Thanks so much Rita for your encouraging words. As for my desk - believe it or not - that's how it looks most of the time. The way I do it is by having the table behind me full of books and papers in disarray! Aha! :) I like order in front of me when I work - but some disorder behind doesn't bother me. That's my secret!

      My bedtime reading is my favourite reading time. These days I am in bed for 3 months (after an operation) so I made sure I had plenty of reading matter to keep me going. It hasn't disappointed me either. As for my husband's bedside reading - that's even better - a big bookcase as well as a bedside table. He doesn't do things by halves! :) And thanks so much - I've had a 2nd foot operation done - so yes, hoping my feet will be soon like the feet of a deer. I will let you know! Bless you for reading and your encouragement Rita.

  7. I love The Secret Place. We all need to go there. Thank you for your story and the lesson drawn out of it. I love the way you think.

    1. Thanks so much Elaine. Yes, that secret place is very special isn't it? Thank you for reading and for your encouraging comments as always. Bless you m friend.

  8. Once your feet fully recover you will truly be able to dance in the rain - and I hope that will be soon! Enjoyed reading your post, thanks. Truly you, as usual :)

    1. Why thank you Margaret. So glad you enjoyed it. And do appreciate those wishes greatly. Looking forward to plenty of dancing by and by! Meanwhile am enjoying my times in the 'secret place'. Blessings and thanks for your encouragement.

  9. Well, it ruined my whole day when someone mentioned marketing. What I would add, to go with each item on the list, is always have pen and paper handy for making notes, even at the bedside. Ideas are in the air and our memories can be fleeting. The pen and paper is esp. important in the computer age.
    This advice was given long ago by a prolific author.

  10. Yes, marketing and I are not friends either MikeSnow. :) As for pen and paper... yes, I have plenty of it on hand all the time. I have lots of little booklets for many a purpose ... call me old fashioned if you like - but it keeps me ticking along nicely. Glad you use them too! I do agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for the reminder.