Thursday, 30 March 2017

Pride or Joy?

By Josephine-Anne Griffiths

Last Friday I was reading a fabulous post on Australasian Christian Writers, titled ‘Investing in Writing’ by Jeanette O’Hagan. It reminded me of what was to be an off-shoot blog post from two posts ago on Christian Writers Downunder. I enjoyed writing the post on Bibliotherapy and Transformative Writing, and all that therapeutic stuff works wonders for anyone. So long as we are doing what makes us happy, that’s all that matters, whether it be cooking, gardening, sewing (or any craft), reading, singing (which by the way, is so good for the soul) … oh and of course writing.

There are a plethora of things that we can engage in, way too many to mention here. ‘But why?’ I hear you ask, ‘are we merely doing things to make ourselves happy?’

Well, why not? Isn’t happiness what we are all striving for and madly craving? The magic word for me in Jeanette’s post was ‘investing’, investment of time, energy, emotions, money etc. I tried my hand at scrapbooking once (and once only). Don’t get me wrong, scrapbooking is a wonderful and fulfilling pastime … but sadly, not for me. I’m more your ‘stick ‘em in an album as quickly as you can’ kind of person. ‘Rightio, that’s done.’ Lately, I seem to have numerous photographs stored on flash drives … maybe I’ll get a few digital photo frames … one day.

The problem with trying new things is that yes, you do need to invest much time, energy and money before you can even make a start. With scrapbooking, the emotions came later, when I realised just how much of my investment had been wasted. You must buy many things, an album, album-sized paper in various colours (just in case), stencils, stamps, stickers, and all those other little doohickies which make the finished product look so pretty. When you have bipolar, OCD, or any other similar condition, which disempowers your sense of reality, the investment is likely to balloon out astronomically. So, what’s my point? Simply put, my investment in my writing has been anything but trivial. Courses have been completed, some more enjoyable than others. I have subscribed to so many ‘helpful’ sites on the various aspects of writing, that my inbox is more overwhelmed than I am. Yes, it is good to read up on and study the various techniques of other writers, but when your in-tray, inbox or bookshelf is overflowing, and you just know you won’t ever get to it all … it really isn’t helpful or healthy. So, I guess we need (I need) to be more selective. Sometimes so much of our time is absorbed by learning the craft (or making out that we are when we are just procrastinating), that we don’t always achieve what we sought out to achieve in the first place.

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. 
Simple as that.” ~ Stephen King

So, we must spend time reading the works and advice of others, remembering that balance is always the key.

To Publish or Not to Publish: Is that the question?

When I began to take my ability to write a little more seriously, about three years ago, this question was constantly churning through my mind. ‘Of course, I want to be a published author’ I told myself ‘what else is there?’

Recently I realised just how difficult it is to get published. It is a long arduous job and highly resource consuming, whether we are self-publishing or travelling the traditional path. Like most hyperactive, OCD, bipolar (and anything else you can think of) writers, I often have too many pots on the stove, and my fidgety fingers are sticking themselves into too many pies.

Oh, how I love those sweet ones.

So far, I’ve had just one poem published in an anthology. This occurred at the end of 2015. What happened to 2016? I don’t know. Why wasn’t I entering some of the numerous writing competitions that keep popping up? I don’t know. Wait, wait a minute … yes, I do know. 2016 was a bad year for many. I shall bypass the details of my 2016, but when bad things keep happening, it can be difficult to keep all those plates spinning. I don’t know if this past year was really any worse than other years, but I do know it was much worse for others. I guess when a new year begins, we all like to think ‘Ah, this is my year, it is going to be so different.’ But nothing much has changed. Whose fault is that? Has some wicked gnome cursed me? Maybe I upset a leprechaun on St Patrick’s Day? You don’t think so, do you? No, the fact is I have been wallowing in everything, in every situation. I need to learn to enjoy life again and concentrate more upon gratitude and joy.

Being published isn’t the most important element in a writer’s life. It may well contribute to paying some bills, or could prove to be quite lucrative, but not unless we are super famous. Does it really matter? I don’t think so.

In the end, our happiness should be because of those around us, who we have made happy. It’s contagious you know.

This life is just a fleeting moment. Who do I want to notice me the most? My family? Friends? Acquaintances? Complete strangers? Ah, that human pride … it is always sticking its nose in whenever it gets the opportunity. I know Who needs to notice me, and Who matters the most. He matters first and foremost because my ultimate future lies with Him. Although I can’t see Him each day, I know and trust that He is there. And you know what? If we keep very quiet and still, we can hear Him whispering to us, telling us that He cares.

‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

So, lately my health has been declining a wee bit, and my concentration isn’t as I would like it to be. My writing has decreased down to a daily journal, but hopefully, this won’t always be the case. One thing is for certain, writing blog posts make me feel alive, and keep my brain active. Another thing I love to do is read, which people who know me can vouch for. I read with passion, and what a surprise, I love to write book reviews! Writing these reviews brings me joy because I feel that I am doing something positive for fellow writers. Mind you, due to the events of 2016, I’ve got quite a few reviews to catch up on. In fact, because my short-term memory isn’t improving, I just know I’ll need to read these books again, to review them. Just as well I love reading, and have enjoyed those books *laughing loudly to myself* Also thank you to the authors of those books, who have been patiently waiting for a review. They are still on their way, I promise.

The most recent project that I have taken on is the reading and editing of a very precious book, written by a beautiful woman ... she knows who she is.

So, dear friends 2017 is all about gratitude and joy. I will write whenever and wherever I can, and continue to read with passion.

Becoming published? Well, I shall leave that one up to a much higher Being than myself. Everything happens in His time. What do you think? Is being published at any cost, more important than sharing a valuable message? Or indeed is striving for something to the extent where it causes us great stress, diminishing our health and happiness, worth the anticipated rewards?

I know what I believe, and I choose joy.
Joy for myself and consequently for all those whose lives I touch.

‘Life is very hectic and unpredictable at times. Sometimes we get caught up in our struggles and daily obstacles. However, we need to learn that everything will come to pass. Life is always in motion, and so are we on this journey. I'm a strong believer in God, and I carry my faith with me into every roadblock I come across every day. Faith is an expression of hope for something better. More than a wish, it is closer to a belief, but not quite. A belief is rooted in the mind. Faith is based in the heart.’ ~ Peter Garcia

What do you think? I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below.

Josephine-Anne Griffiths previously worked in the field of finance and administration. Once early retirement became necessary and having always been an avid reader and passionate writer, the next step became logical. She is currently working on a fictional memoir, 'Charlie Dreams' and a small book of inspirations, yet to be given a title. She has tried her hand at short story writing and more recently poetry, in addition to inspirational, narrative non-fiction.

Josephine-Anne, fondly known as Jo’Anne, is married to Leon. They have six children and six grandchildren between them. First and foremost, she has always agreed that the ability to write is a God given talent. However, if not for the persistence and encouragement of her beloved parents, Edward and Teresa, Jo'Anne would never have put pen to paper, let alone read a book. You will find Jo’Anne either lost within a book, behind her keyboard or in her garden day-dreaming, with a notebook and various coloured pens, within easy reach.

You are also welcome to contact Jo’Anne via the following links:


Website: Josephine-Anne Writes Little Gems of Inspiration



  1. What a beautiful post Jo'Anne. Loved it. I'm so sorry that 2016 was a difficult year for you. I've had those myself and know we just have to ride them through and do what we can. I'm glad 2017 is a new year - may it be your best writing year yet. Well done for all you have invested in the craft. Your post reminded me of one of my favourite quotes "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet." Fredrick Buechnan. I think there are times we have to persevere and do stuff that's hard for us and not what we would normally choose because that too is what life is all about - choosing to persevere and choosing to love. But yes, there is a reason why we need to choose joy and choose what brings us fulfillment too. God has created us with a purpose hasn't He? And when we discover it, we discover how to make Him happy and ourselves as well not forgetting the world around us.

    As for getting published - getting published opens a doorway for the world to access our writing. Thankfully in this day and age we have the Internet and we don't always need to get into print in order to be read.

    Wishing you continued joy in your journey dear Jo'Anne, much better health this year and lots of reading and writing. Thank you for inspiring us today with your wisdom, your sense of humour and your beautiful writing.

    1. Thank you Anusha. You are such a kind and wise (but young) soul. I think 2016 was quite yucky for many. I had three friends die last year. Also my dog, Jessie passed away, and of course all the other health issues that are always going on. However, I always think that God sends us these trials to make us stronger in spirit. After all, the Bible does mention that it is wise to take the narrow, difficult path, and trip over a few times, rather than taking the spacious easy road that teaches us nothing. I love that quote of Fredrick Buechnan, and I may use it for something at some stage, if that's okay.

      Leon's heart surgery has proven lately that it has been UNsuccessful. I don't know what the next step is, but I shall endeavour to be patient, as I know that impatience gets us nowhere. You are right of course, about the doorways that need to be opened for the world to be touched by our writing, and isn't the internet just marvellous? When I was writing my post I had a mental block, and couldn't for the life of me spell, 'leprechaun' ... so I just popped in a combination of letters, and said to myself 'I shall come back and fix this up later'. Would you believe that I forgot? Most people who know me would believe it *giggling* However, I quietly popped in this morning and fixed up the spelling, and hoped like mad no one had seen my whoopsie moment.

      May 2017 be everyone's year of joy, and especially yours Anusha, as you bring joy to so many.

  2. Thank you, Jo'Anne, that was a beautiful post. I love your reminder that living in joy and gratitude is more important than material achlivements. May you have God's peace today and be empowered by his love :).

    1. Thank you Sue. Yes living in joy is really all that matters, after all we cannot take any of our material achievements or possessions with us when we return Home. May God's love, peace, and grace follow you too, where ever your heart may take you. Blessings to you.

  3. Glad ypu opened yur heart o us JoAnne. I'm sure you've already discovered the answer to your question - 'Is being published at any cost, more important than sharing a valuable message?' I think we can all chorus 'NO!' to that. There's much more to life than striving after something that gives no joy in return. Keep on Blogging gal! And don't be concerned if you don't get comments, if it's on the internet then it will be read.

    1. Thank you dear Rita. Yes, I do know the answer to my question, but I often need to keep asking myself and others ... just to be sure. I shall keep on blogging (more often God willing), and yes, even if there are no comments, someone is probably reading and hopefully being inspired and encouraged, the same I am when I read the beautiful writings of others.

  4. Hi Jo'Anne,
    Yeah, I echo what the ladies who have commented have said. As I was reading your post, I thought of the blessings of the 21st century, enabling us to share our heartfelt writing in non-traditional ways, exactly as you've done here. After all, when we've finished writing our blog post, we're asked to hit PUBLISH. It's just another way. You've also mentioned one of the other things I love so much about writing. It's the perfect pastime/vocation for people with low budgets. I like how you encourage us to focus on the happiness aspects, which is not necessarily the end result.

  5. Thank you Paula. How right you are! Of course, when I post something on my blog/website, or even on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter ... I AM PUBLISHING. I just never thought about it that way. I would love to have a book in print one day, and if God wills it, I shall. Mainly because I would love my children and grandchildren to be able to look back and read my heart. Yes, I know all about low budgets, as many/most of us do. But when something is the Will of the Lord, He will make provision ... somehow. God bless. :-)