Monday, December 5, 2016

Keep on Writing


I was getting ready to leave for the Omega Writer’s Conference in October when I saw it - a call for submmissions for a Children’s Picture Book Writing Competition. They were looking for “creative, winsome charming picture books that help parents instill an open-hearted, transformational, lifelong Christian faith in their children”. I did like the sound of that. Better still, the first prize was $5000.00. Whew! Not an amount to be sneezed at. There were no entrance fees either. I knew I must give it a go when I returned from conference.

Would it herald my big writing moment?


A week later, I came back refreshed and revitalised after a fabulous time in Sydney, having caught up up with those of like minds, learning an abundance of writerly wisdom, being inspired by people and places and best of all, filled with God’s joy. Unfortunately, as it often occurs, a week of intense fibro pain and weariness followed my energetic week away, so it was only a few days before that all important deadline that I had sufficient energy to sit down to create my story.


My dear friend Melissa popped in on the Friday before and spotted our family's pet giraffe (yes, he’s alive …or so we like to think). She suggested I write a story about Raffy - what a brilliant idea! The day before the story had to be submitted, I sat at my computer, concentrating hard. It took hours to craft and refine my award winning picture book. The next day was a busy one. My body felt weak and weary but I persevered, working also on my author bio and the story’s synopsis. Finally, close to midnight and exhausted, I was ready to send in my three documents. Just before I pressed the submit button, the competition’s terms and conditions popped up.

It was then my dream was shattered - a crystal vase smashed into a million shards.


The very first clause had my mouth open, while my jaw dropped a few kilometres downwards. Apparently, the competition was open only to US residents. I could have cried. I’d read the competition details many times over—but for some reason this vital fact had not been publicised. I could hardly believe it. How foolish I'd been!

I wonder what your writing year has been like. Was it filled with instant success, millions of books sold, a plethora of fan mail, TV appearances, a bulging bank balance and a celebrity lifestyle? If you are like many of us Christian writers, you are presently plodding away on your current story, a few drops of hope glistening in your heart, but perhaps also a wee bit discouraged about those writing dreams yet to be fulfilled.

In a few weeks, the curtain will fall on 2016 and we will be left with our memories of the past year. Whatever it brought you in your writing sphere and whatever the future holds for you, let me ask you three questions:

1. Has God called you to write for Him?
2. Have you strived to walk with Him?
3. Have you sought to be obedient to His call?



If you answered ‘yes’ to all three questions, let me shake your hand. Let me celebrate with you. Success for us comes not from the world’s yardstick of accomplishment. It’s simply getting up each morning and doing all that God calls us to do. Persevering. Learning from failure. Not giving up. Perhaps like me you've made a few blunders? No matter - God can redeem them all. He's good at that! So permit any discouragement to fly out of your window like a captive pigeon set free. Congratulate yourself for all the writing you’ve done these past 12 months. Celebrate your conquests with a smile. And let your heart be quick to hear the sound of God’s ‘Well done’.

And now ... put on your writer’s shimmering cloak of joy.
And Keep On Writing.


“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14


Anusha Atukorala is a writer and speaker with music in her heart and a message to proclaim. The abundant love of a faithful God is her theme song. God’s call to writing in 2007 led Anusha on a Grand Adventure which continues to surprise and thrill her. Anusha loves to build the body of Christ and to encourage others through the written and spoken word. Her first book ‘Enjoying the Journey’ is comprised of 75 little God stories. She has twelve short stories published in Anthologies and plenty more books in the pipeline. Do drop in to say G’day at her website Dancing in the Rain. She’d love to meet you.

10 comments:

  1. Oh Anusha, I think a few people were caught by that one. But the story is written. I don't believe God wastes even our 'mistakes'. Maybe it is meant to be submitted elsewhere? And thank you for your encouragement to keep walking with God, being obedient and writing for Him. May the new year be filled with joy, hope and fulfillment for you and may your health prosper as it never has before!

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement Jenny. So there were others who were in the same boat? Yes, they should have included the details elsewhere. And yes, in the New Year I shall pursue options of where I can submit my story. I even have a few more stories of the main character (my precious little giraffe Raffy) in my head. :) So who knows where it can lead.

      Well done on all you have accomplished in your writing Jenny despite your family's needs and life's challenges. Thank you for your warm words. Sending those beautiful wishes right back to you my friend. May 2017 bring you much fulfillment and God's blessing and good health for you and your loved ones.

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  2. Thanks Anusha for the encouragement to keep on writing. They say Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime - and how much poorer the world would be if he hadn't kept painting. How disappointing that the contest was US only but you still have a picture book manuscript you can submit elsewhere. Who knows where it will go :)

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    1. Many thanks Jenny. I didn't know that about Vincent Van Gogh. That certainly gives me hope to keep on writing despite not getting too far in my writing journey. You are so right that the world would have been much poorer if he hadn't kept painting. And yes, I do have a manuscript and am hoping I can do something with it. Blessings my friend. :)

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  3. Hi Anusha,
    Oh dear, I can imagine your reaction when you saw that clause! But they say nothing is wasted, and you may be able to use that story down the track elsewhere. I've had my moments of missing vital fine print too.

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    1. Thanks Paula. Yep! It was quite a shock! Thankfully I could laugh at myself a bit later. :)

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  4. I spent several hours editing a 1200 word story into a 746 word story for a Faithwriters challenge because it fit the theme of 'Embarrassment' perfectly. As I went to submit it I discovered the terms and conditions state that stories had to be written after the topic was announced. I stared at the words ... but, but, but ... a subtle voice whispered 'Who but you would know?' Who indeed! Get thee behind me Satan! Ah well. I think it is a much better story at 746 words than it was at 1200. Perhaps it will find a God-given niche one day. If not ... it was a valuable exercise in trimming off the dross (in more ways than one). Thanks for your encouragement Anusha. I feel as though events this past year have conspired to hinder my forward momentum at every turn. On the first of December I said, 'Well Lord, you and I now have one month left of this year to change my perspective and overthrow my evaluation of 2016 as having been fruitless and frustrating.' So ... Thanks for the nudge. ��

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    1. Hi dear Mazzy. I'm so sorry to hear about your own circumstance with that story. Oh No! :( What a huge disappointment. Well done for acting with integrity and for sending Satan scuttling out of the door. Yes, I have no doubt you will find a God given niche for that story Mazzy. I'm sorry too about the kind of writing year you've had which sounds very similar to mine. I've been surprised as to how little fruit I've borne and wonder at times if it is wise to keep on keeping on. So I do understand your own battle. Perhaps some writing would emerge based on the year's frustration Mazzy? Perhaps it's one of those years that will spring you forward to an extremely productive New Year? I sure hope so. May God show you that it hasn't been as fruitless as you imagined even if it was frustrating. And may He lead you (and me! :) ) into many greener pastures in writing in 2017. Bring it on!

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  5. Thank you dear Anusha, for this encouraging post.
    Yes, 2016 has been difficult, but we all need to focus upon the things we did achieve, rather than those we wish we had. God works in very mysterious ways, and we never know when He is going to use something that we have done or achieved for His better. I had a similar experience with a writing competition. I got so excited about the topic and thought 'wow, I could do this' ... then I noticed that it also was for US residents only. While I am sad for you that all that stress and angst was gone through, I am also happy that you now have this manuscript to submit elsewhere. See, He knows what He is doing, even when we don't. Thank you, I really did relate to this post. You always speak/write from the heart, and often I feel as if you are speaking to me personally.
    Well done Anusha, and bring on 2017! :-)

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    1. Hi dear JoÁnne. I'm sorry to hear you too had a similar disappointing experience with another US based writing competition. Yes, nothing is wasted in God's economy so we can rest content in that knowledge. And like you said, I do look forward to submitting it elsewhere in the New Year. I was very glad to hear that you felt I was writing to you personally. :) Blessings my friend and all the best for your writing in 2017. May it go places you never dreamed of!

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