What does self-care for a Christian writer mean?
In mid-July, I busied myself reading the MTW’s blog posts I had missed in days and noticed a trend in these posts. It was advice on how to thrive and achieve as a Christian Writer. These write ups were backed up with prayers considering what each one of us tries to accomplish in just one day! I looked at my life as a Christian writer. I have a portable calendar that shows what I have to accomplish each day by God’s grace. Some days have book launches, zoom meetings, blog write ups, personal newsletters to read or give feedback, review deadlines, TBR list to consider, things to catch up from my part time job, family commitments, social media, etc. In the midst of all this, there are personal challenges and writing goals to do!
Many of us face personal challenging situations such as dealing with loss, health, family or job issues. I used to feel disappointed by the few comments on my blog post but now I understand. It can be easy to think erroneously that some member’s posts are ignored. This attitude can be transferred to reviews, book launches and ACW group meetings attendance. I know better now. Looking at my calendar, I realise that I can try my best to support ACW members as much as I can but I must pace myself and try not to be like the proverbial hunter who carried an elephant on his head and tried to catch a rat with his toes but died in the attempt.
The first thing to remember as we are often so advised is to consciously ask God daily for His GRACE to accomplish all He wants us to achieve that day as well as our writing goals. John 11:40 says that ‘If you believe, you will see the glory of God.’ Believe God’s Word about yourself - you can do all things, you are more than able, you are made in God’s image, all things will work together for your good, He will give you the desires of your heart, whatever you touch will prosper and succeed, etc.
Also, remember that there is no competition with anyone. God has a time table for us in spite of whatever we are coping with. God uses our situations to move us into His purpose. Whether He moves us like a snail or an hare, His purpose for us and our writing will be achieved. He orders our steps with His Holy Spirit. He will make us ready and move us on as He did for Moses. Let us not be anxious about our pace or accomplishments. God’s time is the best.
Finally, as Christian writers, we rely on God’s faithfulness, His love and graciousness to trust Him and be content with how far He has brought us in our writing journeys. We see where He began and ended with Job, Joseph and our Lord Jesus. He will grant us unexplainable strength and favour in spite of our unfavourable circumstances. This has been true in my own case because there have been times when I felt overwhelmed or frustrated. Lacking the technical know-how for self-publishing, books to review, meetings/book launches to attend, school work to catch up etc! I asked God for His grace - and He did and sorted me out!
Yet, are there still things that I haven’t done? Of course, like I haven’t put my recent books in the ACW Book shop or put my books on D2D etc but I must learn to pace myself, be content with what I have achieved so far and ask God for grace for the strength and my readiness. This is self-care. Now, at the end of each day, I marvel at what God has enabled me to accomplish and I always thank Him for His grace on my life.
May He grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed in Lord Jesus Christ’s name. Amen. [Adapted from Psalm 20:4 NLT]
Are there some things that you are hoping to do by God’s grace and timing?
Sophia Anyanwu lives in SE London. She is a tutor, writer, poet and Grandma. All of Sophia’s books are available from her website: www.olusolasophiaanyanwuauthor.com , Amazon or local bookshops.
Their Journey On Earth To Heaven | A Nigerian Love Story
FEBRUARY 17, 2022
by Troop Atomic Mommy
Many books come and go in the romance genre. Some dabble in the secular world and others partake in religious overtones. “Fictional romance novel” is not what one thinks of when you read the title of this book. But do not veer away.
This novel is quite appealing, beyond first read. It is a romance-inducing love story that will leave you feeling as though you’ve just been in a coffee house listening to Hemingway. The skilful use of verbiage and tone, evoke perplexing and riveting senses, and is a true credit to the author’s ability to tell a story. And though the story is intertwined with strong religious speak, the tale does not lose its voraciousness for love.
The author has built the readers, a new and intoxicating setting to fall in love in. Readers are taken on a journey into a Nigerian love story, where two become one. Over time, the characters ask us to believe in their love, to believe in their sense of family, and to have faith that love truly does conquer all.
It is for these reasons that this book was an easy read and has an air of high-value for the souls in need of love, family, and faith. What a truly skilled writer the author is, to be able to deliver such a classically strong love story with the most flattering readability.
If you are aching for a new style of writing, deep filling romance, and an emotionally evocative set of characters, then this book is for you.
If you are interested in following the author to see what else is in the works, then you can follow the author on Twitter @olusola_anyanwu.
You can read the book by clicking on the Amazon link below.
When I lived in Nigeria, 19 years ago, there were months of unpaid salary but I would never eat foods cooked with dog, cat, frog or snake meat. These are delicacies in some cuisines but I wasn’t brought up to see such as food! My family kept dogs, cats, rabbits and even monkeys as pets and they feature in my books [Their Journey, Stories for Younger Generations, Stories from The Heart and my poetry collections]. It would have been breaking the boundaries of my ethics. During the Biafra War in Nigeria, some people broke their food boundaries to survive. I’m sure in God’s eyes, they didn’t break any boundary; my opinion. Did Prophet Hosea break boundaries marrying a harlot?
I recently published a Christian fantasy fiction about Eliana, a sex worker, in ‘The Captive’s Crown’ who found redemption! This resulted in some graphic scenes. Did I break boundaries of Christian genre conventions? For some Christian readers, this read might break their reading boundaries. To encourage such readers, please skip Chapters 17&18 [pages72 -81] . Should I have been more abiding? I have been blessed reading about characters that were doctors, scientists, etc and marvelled at things I never knew. I break my reading boundaries when I read – sci-fi, pirates, horror, etc as a beta reader, a reviewer or simply out of curiosity. I am always blessed!
I was encouraged by 2 specific reviews on ‘The Captive’s Crown’ and I remembered Colossians 3:17 –“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” Other amazing reviews on Amazon gave me food for thought – our filthiness in God‘s presence before Lord Jesus made us clean, acceptable and righteous by His blood is what happened to Eliana. How did our brother, Apostle Peter, feel when he was commanded to break his food boundary by eating ‘unclean’ animals in Acts 10: 12-15 in the Bible? I like to think that Papa God uses that example to demonstrate that our love for all people should be sincere as said in Romans 1:16 -18 in the Bible.
Would you break boundaries in your writing to prove a point? Can you give examples of people you know in the Bible, who broke boundaries or conventions with Jewish traditions?
#amwriting #Christianfantasy #encouragement #reviews #TheCaptivesCrown
I was recently inspired by Liz Manning’s post on ‘LIVING THE WRITER’S DREAM’. There was the picture of a dainty writer’s study with a vintage singer sewing machine table holding her laptop and all her various writing stationery. From her study, she can hear the sea and be so inspired without moving from her home! She can from her bed watch the boats coming and going from the harbour! That is a writer’s dream for some of us! Other dreams are seeing our books being filmed, receiving over a thousand glorious reviews and writing glorious books, the world hankers for!
I made a list of all my writing goals:
Then, I came upon this scripture and realised that God was talking to me: “But be doers of the word and not hearers only – James 1:22a NJKV. Indeed, how will I achieve my writing goals and realise my dreams if I hear so much literary meat that is shared but not act on them?
Martin Luther King Jnr was inspired by his own dream and acted on it. Do you know of others who had grand dreams and worked towards it successfully? Tell us below! If you are traditionally published, have books with over a hundred reviews, receive book sales on three figures, I thank God for you because you are indeed blessed and are an inspiration. Please if this is you = Procrastination, Self-indulgence, Laziness, Creating invisible barriers, Excuses and Wishful thinking, tick off the list one by one ASAP and get on tracks! Some of us, like me, may have many distractions or genuine handicaps from life issues such as health, family, finance, work, etc.
As Christian writers, we have our faith which we stand on and trust God, the giver of dreams and inspiration by His Holy Spirit. I pray that what He has started in your writing life will be completed by His grace. Hebrews 10:35 says, “Don’t cast away your confidence; it will richly bless you.” This means we need to PERSEVERE so that we can accomplish what the Lord has laid in our bosoms to share to the world for His glory. Then we will attain our writing goals and accomplish our writer’s dreams!
#ACW #Christianwriters #inspiration #faith #goals #dreams
From the Garden of Eden!
In this article, I wish to explore how relationships should begin with the family so that when young people leave the nests of their homes as adults, they are equipped with relationship skills. They are ready to find their spouses and live confident and healthy relationships in their marriage. In the UK and in other parts of the world, there is a trend amongst the younger generation to relate more with social media than with their families and friends. It is very common in many homes to have families who are living in ‘estrangement’ with family members. Consider this scenario: Young adults stay in their individual rooms all day and night without any contact with other family members in the same house! Some may communicate with family members through whsap! In my novel, ‘Their journey on Earth to Heaven’, I explore a myriad of relationships: spouses, in-laws, grand parents, siblings, step siblings and friendship. For parents, it is putting their work lives or their careers before their family needs. There are many parents who do not know that their teenagers, youngsters, young adults or even their kids are in to gangs, smoking and drinking harmful substances or be there for their children at the time of their needs. My book shows the pros and cons of such relationships.
How did our Papa God, right from the Garden of Eden, show as examples how to relate with family members? This is the scenario in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2: 19 – 20. God was with Adam when he named all the animals, giving him the authority; building his confidence and showing trust and respect. These are important relationship skills we need to inculcate in our family members. Papa God was never too busy or preoccupied with creation to neglect Adam. In the evenings, the two of them would chat, have fun and get to know each other the better as we see in Genesis 3:8. How did Papa God prepare Adam for his future? In Genesis 2:15, Papa God showed Adam how to cultivate the garden. God was patient. This is equipping him with responsibility. We live in a world where some cultures still feel women should solely be in charge of the home in addition to their chores as a mother, wife and probably, a co breadwinner! My book explores how men should take a hand to nurture their babies, get to know their kids and help them in life. Finally, how did Papa God know that Adam was lonely in Genesis 2: 18? Through a good relationship with Adam which led to the creation of Eve! For any relationship to succeed, we need to be observant, responsible, patient caring, devoted and attentive towards our family members, our spouses and friends.
I hope you have been blessed. My books - ‘Stories for Older Generations’, ‘Turning the Clock hands backwards’ and ‘Poetry from the Heart ‘ explore relationships and will bless you.
Decorating for Christmas!
By this time, last year, I had decorated my home for Christmas!
It is not the excuse that my ‘babies’ have flown from the nest, save 2 still trying to stretch their wings for that final flight or are they too cosy in the nest to make the flight? I leave that to Papa God, our Creator.
Christmas, aside our celebrating our Lord’s birth, is personal to every one of us. For me, it is also the rebirth of another mile stone to achieve in my life. Because it comes towards the end of a year and marks the beginning of a new era, I set life goals and writing goals. I hope to finish a new poetry collection by Christmas, set from December 2021. Hopefully. For my life goals, I had planned house decluttering, to be more active in my Christian life and to lose weight. All will be a carry-over!
So all those years you decorated the house for Xmas, was it for the season, family or for Lord Jesus?
Searching my heart, I realise that for the past 30 years, I did the Xmas decorating. ALONE. Is yours a family thing? I know Donna Fetcher’s home is always heavily and beautifully decorated for the Xmas season [Judging from her last year’s December Newsletter] and maybe many of you as well. Have you done yours yet? Do you decorate lightly or heavily?
I have written one Christmas poem inspired from one of us writing one last year December in the MTW post. I haven’t yet written a Christmas story. The idea of decorating the home for Xmas can create an upbeat tone or mood and an atmosphere of excitement, no matter the genre. Have you done any Christmas writing?
Well, guess what everyone – I’m simply going to see what will happen in my home this Xmas season!! Will it get decorated for Xmas or not? Find out next month!
Does your book title whisper its genre?
Here are some ACW member’s books and some others that I have read. Can you tell from the titles what genre they belong to if you hadn’t known their author or read the blurb?
Sometimes, it is very easy to tell a book’s genre from its title. Other times, the title does not give a clue but the blurb will always let readers know what kind of a story it is. Sometimes too, the writer’s name gives away the genre, without even looking at the blurb. All this got me thinking. What if a book’s title or its author knocked off one’s interest straightaway, without their even checking the blurb? One’s preconceived notion of a particular writer can put one off the book’s tracks outright! I became twitter friends with Raelle who writes mainly pirate stories. I never knew a day would come when I would have a change of opinion about this writer and her writing until I read xxxx ! It was just for curiosity.
It boils down to the blurb of a book IF the reader’s decides to check it out. I make a deliberate decision when I create my book title. Do you as well?
Here are some names of God below. Some might help you decide which to use when you pray. Which is your favourite and why?
I love El Roi because it lets me understand that God knows me intimately well and in whatever situation I am in, He’s got my back. This has a great influence on my praying pattern. So titles are important. As Christian writers, we are a light to those still in the world of the flesh and sin no matter our genre preference. A difference maker. Matthew 5: 14 says –
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
Hope you all had a good Christmas. My home was decorated as you can see! In my last post I wasn’t sure of this. Compliments of the season and wishing you all a very happy, healthy 2023!! Blessings!
WHAT WOULD AUTHOR DECLUTERING LOOK LIKE???
What in the world does that mean? I hear someone say! I know. I thought about it as well when I got out a pen and wrote out all my commitments and responsibilities as a writer and human in 2022. This is what it looked like.
And so back to decluttering, is it wise to do so? It is wise to do so.
Bible: Hebrews 13:6 –so that we may be boldly say, the Lord is our helper so we will not be afraid for what anyone can do to us.
Thank You Yahweh, our Shepherd, our Jehovah Rapha, our Abba, our God of - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, our Adonai, our El Roi, our Papa God. We thank You for making it possible to gather as a family to meet with You. We thank You for being patient with us when we doubted You. We Thank You for our careers because it is blessed. We thank You that all our impossibilities will become possible by Your grace, power and favour. We thank You because You will make a way where there is no way. Thank You for defeating all the powers and principalities that came against us in our exams, schooling, travels, holidays, jobs, health, relationships and our blessings. Thank You for our salvation. Thank You for breaking the shackles of shame in our lives as a family. Thank You for the powerful name of Jesus You gave us. Thank You for forgiving us with Your mercy when we transgressed against You. Thank You for every day You give us. Thank You for all that You have done for us as a family, for every battle You brought us through, for every mountain You helped us climb, for the joy of the LORD which gives us strength, for Your peace poured out on us that passeth all understanding.
We thank You that our children will return to the throne of God physically and spiritually. Amen. We thank U because You are faithful, able to complete all the good work in us - in our healing in our bodies, for all that we are believing for because it will still happen by Your grace. We thank You because You make dreams and promises happen. We thank You because we will see ALL our children and grandchildren fulfil their divine purpose and destiny. We agree with You in belief and faith that Your favour over each of our lives will be awesome because in this house, we serve the LORD, our supernatural God of all creation.. Our hope is in You and forces of darkness can’t stop Your purpose and blessings for our lives. Thank You because we are blessed, fulfilled, victorious and loved despite any setbacks or moods we experience. Thank You for our amazing future. Thank You for the shift, new open doors and new levels of our destiny, the right people we are going to meet and the promotion in our careers that will be more rewarding than we imagined. We will be full of testimonies. Amen.
Help us to trust You when we don’t understand our circumstances, the unfairness, the complexities of life and setbacks. We know You will turn everything for our good. Amen. Help us to keep our LORD Jesus as the centre of all things in our daily lives to Your glory by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I have prayed. AMEN!
How was Christmas Day spent in your home?
Did you get good xmas presents, meals or company? Was it a time to put away all thoughts of writing, editing, reviewing, drafts or publishing? Was it a day to remember the ‘reason for the season’ and put away all thoughts of life issues? Hope it was a day to celebrate our Lord and King; a day to ponder on His love for taking you so far; a day to be most grateful for the salvation package; a day for self-discovery or the miracles in your life; a day spent with friends and family; or a day not to look down at your weaknesses, nor look at the darkness that life might have thrown over you or that writing to edit but a day to look up and see the light of God’s Light! Hope it was a day that thoroughly blessed you by the best gift you were given by God –our Lord JESUS!
When I was a child back in the 60s and 70s growing up in Nigeria with my younger siblings, there was the usual Christmas tradition that was practised in our home. The Christmas season began on the first of December with the hanging up of Christmas cards sent to my parents on strings crossing the corners of the living room and sometimes, extending to the dining room. The mood was set. We spent the days leading to Christmas visiting the Kingsway Store to see Father Christmas in his grotto, decorating our rooms, making nativity boxes, eating chocolates and cakes in excess and listening to xmas records. It was a time of leniency; the cane was temporarily on break and we were in ecstasy and high spirits waiting for December 25th. It was a time to put up our best behaviours anyway and turn blind sibling rivalry, quibbling and irritations!
My siblings and I who believed that Father Christmas was real began to guess what presents we would each get. Before we were seven years old, we got fascinating gifts that little boys and girls usually get –dolls, trains, building bricks, etc but after that, ‘Father Xmas’ gave us books and educational stuff to help our learning. I remember the globe of the world gift to help my geography when I was 11, a ladybird’s times table book to help with maths, Janet and John books to help with reading, etc. Then as the years moved on, time grew us older, wiser and more discerning. We pretended that we were ignorant of how our parents stealthily went downstairs to drop our gifts [already secretly seen] under the tree and we faked sleeping when xmas stockings were put at the foot of our beds. An enjoyable deception game!
The pregnancy of Xmas Day finally came to its end. 25th December erupted with our waking up before the dawn had a chance to light the day and before Billy cock’s 6am crow! We ate special breakfast of eggs, sausages and bacons with richly buttered bread and warm Bournvita drinks. We wore new clothes to church and enjoyed looking, listening and singing special xmas songs to the new child born to be the saviour of the world! Back home, after service, we unwrapped our gifts [with faked awes of oohs and ahhhs] and ate the most special lunch feast of the year! - Jollof rice, with chunky portions of fried turkey, chicken and meat, garnished with fried plantain and salad. We didn’t drink water; we drank sweet wine or champagne if we wanted to!
Looking back at Christmas Past, once upon time, it was like ‘Christmas in Wonderland’! I clearly remember that ‘O come All Ye Faithful’ was my favourite hymn during the Christmas service because of how the two different choruses were harmonised beautifully together. I still look forward to hearing it sung in church on Christmas Day. I consciously try to make celebrating Christmas in our home magical. Hope you do. Our Lord deserves it!
Well, I hope you have been motivated and inspired to write your own story or poem of a day and time you celebrated the birth of our Lord significantly or a memorable Christmas! Wishing you all a happy and successful writing in 2023!
#iamwriting #christmas #ACW #salvation #christmasstory