Balance – Part 2

click here for Balance – Part 1

My creative focus remains on the River Wild Series. At the moment, I have a fascination with moving bodies of water. That’s why my second post on balance has an ocean theme.

When life gets a little turbulent, my initial response is to retreat to the safety of the shore. Experience has taught me that I need strength and self-confidence if I am to maintain my balance when the waves are breaking. This realisation teaches me that, while I enjoy watching moving water, being moved by the waves has become a fearful thing. A reminder of all my limitations, which takes my eyes off the potential adventure and parks me on the shore of “I must not dare”.

God and I have been talking about how I can regain my self-confidence. There are parallels between my creative hesitancy and my physical wellbeing. I have a long-term infirmity that has kept me out of the waves for the past two summers. Here’s a photo of me – note the sensible walking shoes to avoid any possibility that I might trip or fall.

January 2019, Tiger Head Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania

Anxiety was the catalyst for my initial injury and anxiety continues to sustain the problem. I find myself pausing before I step forward to help someone, wondering if I will have the strength to make it safely home when I am finished.

Anxiety also nibbles away at my writing success. Not even three self-published books on my bookcase are enough to keep me upright when anxiety rolls in, like a thundering wave, and sweeps me off my feet.

The balance that I am seeking is halfway between “I am too afraid to try” and “my reckless decisions come at too great a cost”. I want to get back into the water, and to be confident that I won’t drown.

For me, the answer includes making a stand with God at my side. I’m looking for that place of safety, where He holds my hand. If the waves threaten to pull me off my feet, His strength sustains me. He created the waves and can see the danger that is coming, and He asks me to trust in Him. In everything I write, that search for balance is there.

DO you have a favourite Scripture to help bring balance into your situation? Please share.

The form you have selected does not exist.

Balance – part 1

Sometimes all I need is a little treat to tide me over until the next meal. This “little carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing” photo was hiding in my photo archive. If I had one of these right now, it would only take me a moment to gobble it up. Then I could get back to writing my post without feeling guilty.

But I have a confession to make. If I had some of these little cakes in the pantry, and nobody to share with, I would probably eat them all. Of course, I would make myself walk to and from the kitchen for each one. That would remind me that I was being distracted from the tasks that I have on my today list. And if that didn’t work, then I would set myself a longer walk, and maybe even allocate a household task to complete on the way.

January 2019 site specific weaving, Blue Lagoon Conference Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Recycled knitting yarn and balcony structure.

If I am left to myself, I can sit at the computer for hours without moving – except to eat. I’ve been trying this walk-to-eat strategy for a few years. I even used it for my final university art project in 2017. Visit my artist page here.

Finding the right balance between writing and researching how I’m supposed to do all the other things on this writing journey is a challenge. Sometimes, I get so involved in writing that I fall behind with my publishing schedule. At other times, it feels as if I’ve gone too far the other way… This is a different kind of weaving, the meandering to and fro while still keeping my eyes on the final direction.

And then there are the knots! Those little intersections of time and opportunity where everything seems to converge and I come to a standstill.

It is times like these that I return to Scripture. I believe that there will always be an answer to whatever is worrying me. Here is one of my favourites: Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd.
How does this apply to my situation? He leads and I follow. Like all “good sheep”, sometimes I get distracted, but He’s ready to call me back. If I get into trouble, He has a big shepherd’s crook to bring me out of the tangled mess I’m in. There are even a few times when He has to carry me. But my favourite times are when He runs along beside me, helping me discover the fun in this adventure.

DO you have a favourite Scripture to help bring balance into your situation? Please share.


I am between manuscripts at the moment. The first two are away from me, no further work to be done until I receive responses from others. The third story in my series is filling my mind, and I am feeling the pressure to get started…

One of my abstract digital drawings

I was filling in time, waiting for inspiration, and not getting anywhere fast. My restlessness this morning is uncharacteristic. I am in that between place. The land of indecision where fear and uncertainty are pushing back the exciting new possibilities. Into this moment, my mind catches a phrase on the screen in front of me, and everything that I am unable to pin down is brought sharply into focus.
“He is unafraid to ask God to teach him his ways and paths (v 4). He waits on God all day (v 5)”. (Mark Keown, WordLive, Goodness and Mercy, 4/11/2018.  To access the full post please follow this link:

One of the preliminary digital drawings that brought me to the first one

Now I have a clear direction. I should bring all my hopes and aspirations for today and place them on the prayer altar. I need to remember that I have done this before, with both my first manuscript White Rose of Promise, and the second one When Promises Are Broken.
What is there to fear in starting the third in the series? What am I afraid of? The Bible passage referenced in Mark Keown’s text is Psalm 25, one of those emotionally honest ones by David. Keown writes that David is so secure in his relationship with God that he can speak out all his deepest thoughts without fear. David had found the secret. An ability to be open and honest and to look to God for guidance and correction in confidence. David knew that God’s guidance would bring him everything he needed. He also knew that God’s correction would hurt but afterwards, he would be a better person.

Can you see the beginning idea of the final digital drawing hidden in this preliminary one?

When I sat down to write the first few chapters of White Rose of Promise I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the challenge. I spent long hours in prayer and matched my writing time with hours of reading Scripture and meditating on what I beleived God was teaching me. 
Then I sat down to write the second one with a different kind of trepidation. The first heroine had been ‘easy’ to write because she was a woman of faith. The second heroine was much harder to welcome into my life because she was angry and her view of the world was filtered by the relationship mistakes she had made. 
But the next heroine, the one who is speaking to me in the moments when my mind is open to daydreaming the possibilities, arrives in my story lost and alone. She has been set adrift by circumstances not of her making. Last night, I sat down and started to work on the timeline so that I know where my characters from the preceding books will be as the new story unfolds…

Another variation of the digital drawing to show the subtleties of colour and placement
that catch my attention and
draw me into a project.

I find myself between. How I manage the next few days will have an impact on how I am feeling about the writing adventure? What strategies do you use to manage the between moments on your journey?

Procrastination and me

It is time for my weekly update. So soon? What happened to the past week? Time seems to be passing much faster than it used to! I only have to look at how my morning has gone so far to find evidence of that.

I have spent the past hour working through the backlog of emails in my personal account. There are now only 15 unread messages, and they fit in the opening screen. No more having to search down through hundreds of messages looking for the start of an important conversation. I even found a 2017 newsletter from a missionary family I have promised to pray for. It sat there in the inbox opened, so the habit of marking things as important and then letting them disappear off the first page of notifications is nothing new… Welcome to my confession about procrastination.

Why was I looking at emails in what should be my dedicated Devotional Time?  I have been checking for new messages at too frequent intervals for days, as I am awaiting a quote for a cover design from a local graphic artist. The five I have already received through an international referral service were alarmingly above my budget. My editor thought I could use my Fine Arts skills to design my own covers, but I had an attack of self-doubt and wanted some professional advice. I am also waiting for news from my editor about the Copy Edit progress. No news is good news, right? 

Here are four experiments for one idea
from my own amateur attempts to discover what I might want
for the cover of Book 1: White Rose of Promise

Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment.

A year ago, this waiting period would have frozen me in place. Then, I was in the final stages of writing the graduating project assignments for my BA in Fine Arts and Visual Culture. The exhibition was over, and I had to write two reports: one covering the key influences from a year’s research and the other presenting the final images for the artistic work I wanted to be assessed towards my degree. The race was on but every day the designated tasks seemed to be taking so long. Procrastination became my new normal. I found out from my fellow students that this was a very common problem for them too.

Each time I sent off a request to my faithful study buddies I seemed unable to make any more progress until I  received their feedback. At one stage, I realised I was spending more time looking for their responses than I was devoting to actually writing my report. I had to learn how to push myself to work on other tasks while I waited. That learning opportunity has served me well in my current ‘assignment’.

Here is my 2017 Artist Statement
Here is a link to my Bookworms To Butterflies facebook album for the exhibition.
I took more than 139,000 and still have to make time to look at some of them (I had timed cameras set up all around the room).

So what have I been doing this week? Revising the first ten chapters of the sequel – it still feels strange working on the NEXT book while the first one is still in the preparation stage. I have added the main characters to the Series Outline so I can cross-reference their details each time they appear in the story, and I have been looking at how each one expresses themselves in their scenes. It is easy (at the moment) to remember all the central characters from both books, as they are familiar to me, but already I have too many secondary characters to juggle. I need one person to secretly be an enemy, so I went back through conversations looking for clues to that ultimate betrayal. It is also essential to start leaving clues (and add these details to the Series Outline) for future manuscripts so that my readers already have a good understanding of the new heroes’ and heroines’ motivations before those characters get to speak for themselves.

Last night was the first time I experienced confidence in my ability to generate a marked difference in tone between the new story and the first. The heroine of the first book is a devoted Christian, and everything that happens is filtered through her prayer life. But her unbelieving sister is the central character of the second book, and when this sister reaches her breaking point, there is no filter for her pain. Spending so much time describing her emotional turmoil flowed out into my own life. My long-suffering husband decided I am currently overly-sensitive to criticism, which has sent me running to my prayer closet on more than one occasion recently.

As I become more engaged in my fictional world, I have increased the time I spend in prayer and meditation. I don’t want to become lost and irrelevant to the real world opportunities that God has given me. Last week, someone in my family had a real accident that could have been disastrous. As a writer, I can see the different narrative possibilities that would lead me into a valley of shadows (Psalm 23:4). I am thankful God was merciful and saved my loved one from suffering a long-term disability. They are still very sore and unable to function to their maximum potential and have succumbed to a viral illness while their immune system was weakened by the pain and extra medication. Another topic to add to my prayer list.

Here is an image I created using the text from Psalm 23:4 superimposed over one of my own digital drawings. I have a long-term project underway to create a digital image for as many inspirational texts as possible. These are shared on my Butterfly Prayer House facebook page, where I publish a personal reflection (almost) every day )i(

Research fills any gaps in my spare time, as I have been subscribing to newsletters and reading as much as I can about how to become a published author. Somehow I have ended up on a couple of mailing lists that now go straight to the bin, but otherwise, my email inbox is flooding with useful information. I have had to make the hard decision to let go of some of my other interests and to learn how to quickly assess whether an article contains treasure, or is irrelevant to my situation.

I have decided I WON’T be writing my own newsletter. My once a week contribution to this page, and sharing on my different facebook pages will be more than enough. If I were to add any more writing commitments to my schedule and this will be the ultimate procrastination towards getting my novels published. )i(