Monday, 5 December 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 submissions 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 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 though, 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 most 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 little discouraged as to the number of 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 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.


  1. Oh Anusha. What a shattering experience for you after all that effort. I hope it finds. Way to light. I am impressed you managed to do in spite of your pain. Well done.

    1. Thanks beautiful Jo. Yes, it was pretty upsetting I must admit. A bit later when I recovered I could see some humour in it and was able to laugh at myself. Your empathy really blessed me. Thank you so much. And yes, I do hope I can get it published one day.

  2. Thanks Anusha, for sharing once again beautiful truth. I entered plenty of contests over the years - but usually my disappointment happened after getting my results! This year has seen the (near) fulfillment of those dreams, with my debut novel releasing next year. Through it all has been the constant reminder that God loves me, has good plans for me, & regardless of what my circumstances say, I can trust Him. Sometimes it's hard though! Love the picture of a shimmering cloak of joy- it's a choice to wear it, isn't it?