Tag Archives: God

When your to-do list is freaking you out

Five posts to publication, five dreams – here’s the second. It came when I’d made some decisions and started the ball rolling with self-publishing Writing in the House of Dreams, and was worried about the enormity of the task I was taking on.

Sat 8th Feb, 2014

I’m in a cafe with my grown-up son. It’s a formica tables and plastic chairs kind of place, and he looks completely incongruous in a wide-shouldered, pale-coloured overcoat which makes him look like a cross between a fat-cat businessman and a mafia godfather.

I’m talking about Writing in the House of Dreams. ‘There have been times,’ I say, ‘when I would have loved to just give up and, if I hadn’t loved it so much, I would have done.’

He says, ‘What you need to do is pray!’ I see he’s also a preacher of some kind now. Before I can say, ‘I do pray. That’s how I’ve got this far,’ he whips a little music machine out of his pocket, puts on some loud gospel music and yells ‘Halleluyah!’ Everyone in the café jumps up and joins in, dancing, clapping and singing along.

This is one of those dreams that feels like a gift when you’ve gone to bed feeling anxious, because it wakes you up in the morning with a smile on your face. That, in itself, puts your anxieties in perspective, even before you get to the sense of the dream.

As an author who has always been traditionally published, one of the things that surprised me about self-publishing was how challenging it could be to keep up my stamina and confidence without the back-up of a hard-working and confident publisher.

Normally, I don’t have to think about the book once it’s with the publisher – I just get on with writing the next thing. But when you’re self-publishing, you have to go on working with the manuscript long after the decision to publish is made. You have a massive to-do list, and doubts can start to set in.

Have you got enough time and energy to see it through? Is the book actually worth all that time and energy? Are you capable anyway of doing a good enough job?

One way to get past worry is by lifting your focus from every individual problem to the bigger picture; from what you’ve got to do to why you want to do it; from yourself to what is bigger than yourself.

You can call it what you like, it doesn’t have to be God. You can call it Love. Whatever you love is bigger than yourself. It lifts you above selfishness and laziness and bends you to its work. The reason I write is because I love writing. I want to be better for writing. I’m willing to give up other things I’d like to do for the love of writing.

Prayer is perspective. My dream reminded me that I couldn’t give up, because of that love.

Laughter is perspective too. My dream told me not to take it all so seriously. I could only do my best, and the rest was down to luck, or grace, and out of my control. O happy day!

What helps you get a sense of perspective when your to-do list is freaking you out?



It’s about love

Stephen Fry kept saying in his recent TV programmes Out There ‘It’s about love.’ Today’s post is about love rather than my normal themes of dreams or writing, but I felt I had to write it. You’ll see why.

Last week-end I went to the civil ceremony of two dear friends. The venue was wonderful; the celebrations went on all day and deep into the night.


Watching these two beautiful brides make their promises to each other, I felt proud and grateful to live in a country where marriage is now an option for everyone.

Although some people argue against gay marriage on religious grounds, I’m personally pretty sure God enjoyed the occasion as much as me. I mean, as God is love it stands to reason that every expression and celebration of love is naturally attuned to the divine vibration.

Some people worry that gay marriage undermines our social values. Any change can spark a reaction of fear, which can turn into aggression, but this change is something we should not fear. Love is good news for society. It’s easier for people who love and feel loved to be generous and kind in their behaviour towards others.

All of us who believe in love, whether we’re gay or straight,  need to speak up for gay rights because, as Stephen Fry warned in his piece about Russia, progress can be reversed.

In Russia, recent anti-gay legislation has lead to a huge increase in homophobic violence, and now they’re debating whether the children of gay couples should be taken away on grounds that growing up in an orphanage would be better.

Progress is a fragile thing. It needs careful nurturing in the early days. That’s why I wanted to write this piece today, and add my small voice of support.

Did you see Stephen Fry’s TV programme? What did you think?