Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm healthy, but - I think quite understandably - feeling overwhelmed about all the things I have on my plate. I feel as though I'm trying to live the lives of half a dozen people, all at one time. And I don't know how I'm going to manage to do all I need to do. In fact, I don't think I will manage. What I need to do is figure out what is most important - be efficient with my time. Good thing I've had a holiday and I do have energy. I just wish there were more of me.

I've been studying how to publicize and market books...and wow! All the things I should be doing! No wonder publicists are so costly. They have a huge job to do. And, not being able to afford one, I will have to do that myself. And I need to try to do this as well as I can, because I believe A Firm Place to Stand is a book that will help fight stigma, and that is so very important. I want the book to be out there and read by many people.

The Vancouver Sun had a series of pieces about mental illness last week, pointing out the effects of stigma on the welfare of people with mental illness. It's a terrible situation. This has to change. And I believe my book and the things I have to say can be a building block in helping change come about. I want to speak to the media. I want people to learn more. I want to help compassion grow.

But I also have a 94-year-old mom who needs me. And I have Living Room and its people. Not just my group, but the other groups I'd like to help grow. I want to keep time for the people that come to me for support. I want to write articles. I want to blog.

This will be a busy week. I'm getting ready for a family barbecue at our house. We will be going through some of my mother-in-law's things to divide up the memories of her between us. I still need to go through her boxes. (a huge mess to clean up and organize) I'll need to clean house and cook.

I am overwhelmed with all the things I need to do, especially raising awareness about the need for support of people with mental illness by the church. I know I'm in a position to do some good. I feel the responsibility in a big way. But how can I best do it with the little resources of time I have? Where should I concentrate my efforts?

Please, God, lead me in the best way to go. I know I'm not on my own with this. This is, after all, your work and not my own. I shouldn't worry so much. I should realize that the burden is not all mine to carry. Help me to take aim with my writing tools and publicity in a way that will do the most good.


Jena said...

When I read your post and all about your feelings of being overwhelmed because you want to reach the world, through media and your book and support groups, etc., I immediately felt like I needed to tell you something. God has given you a wonderful series of opportunities to share your knowledge, compassion, and talents to reach multitudes of people. But seeking those big groups to make a big difference isn't necessary. Making a difference in people's lives one at a time is just as meaningful. You could make a difference personally in one persons life, and they could pass that on to someone else, and maybe THAT person also has the knowledge, compassion and talents to reach multitudes. Don't go for the numbers marja. Reach the hearts that God brings into your life, and accept the bigger opportunities when they come. Don't be discouraged if there is a variety. Be encouraged for the variety!

marja said...

Thank you, Jena. Those are comforting words to hear. Yet when you've put years into writing a book, praying through the whole of it, you want to make sure you do your best to share it with people. That's what publishing is all about, sharing with as many people as you can. Opportunities are not just going to come to me; I need to help make them happen, as God leads me.

I believe too that making a difference in individuals' lives is just as important. That's why I never want to give up on my Living Room work and the individuals I meet who need support.

I love doing the one on one supporting. That and Living Room are at the heart of what I do. I will continue doing that. I believe that if I stopped, there would be something wrong.

I spent a long quiet time this morning and that helped. Writing this post helped. Just need to plan to do what is most important. I need to make lists and prioritize.

P.J. said...

Boy, you sure do have a lot on your plate!! I pray that God will give you the strength and courage that you need to make it through your full days. It's awesome you are learning so much. I am sure that whoever reads your book will be touched by it and changed by it. Is there anything I can do to help? Promote it in our church bulletin? Line you up as a guest speaker for some kind of ladies retreat weekend?? (I work at a church, with ties to the community!) I think that would be very cool!!

Nancie said...

Dear Marja,

I can hear your excitement in your post as you set out to serve God in your various gifted ways! And I know how overwhelming and stressful that can be at times!

I am having almost the same feeling as I am recovering from my depression. I feel significantly much better now and can't wait to catch up on my tasks! But I realized that I need to be prayerful and pace myself moderately so that I will not overs train and burn out again. This is a great challenge to me!

Like you, I am learning that figuring out what is most important and be efficient with my time is crucial. I too am learning to commit each day into God's hands and all the various tasks that I can do to serve Him. I do my best and leave the rest to God. Where I can't do as much, I learn to let go and trust God to work in His own wonderful ways.

Your book is a great help to me and I believe it will be to many others! I am praying with you for God's blessing this book to many in need. Let me know if there is any way I can help you with the publicity! I am wondering whether there is something I can do to find some distributor in Singapore for your book. There is such a great need for such a book! We have very few of them in Singapore. Particularly, more churches should own this book so that they may learn to love and support someone with mood disorder! May God shows us how He wants us to serve Him!

With hugs and prayers,

marja said...

Nancie and PJ: Thank you both for your prayers and your generous offers to help. Wow, you might very well be able to help.
One thing, if you've read the book you could post a review on Just go to where my book is and there's a place where you can give your reaction to it. It would be very helpful to have something there.

Nancie: To have my book in Singapore, serving the Christians there - How wonderful that would be! Perhaps if you were to show your copy at a Christian bookstore and got their advice on how to get them into your country. They might be able to suggest something.

and PJ: I'd love to come to speak to a group. But you live rather far away I believe. I'm in the Vancouver area and with gas prices being the way they are, I doubt that I'll get to your town very soon. But yes, it would have been cool, wouldn't it?

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Marja,
Sounds like you need to sit down and write a list of everything you need to do and prioritize it.

In terms of your mother-in-law's things, that's always very difficult and unless you have to do it right away, I'd wait until I really felt ready to deal with it. Going through my mom's things was very difficult so I took my time.

Clearly your Living Room is a priority, but it sure would be nice for you to get some help with it. Is there anyone who can share the responsibility?

As you and I both know, publicizing a book is the one activity that needs to be done in a timely fashion. Most magazines and other periodicals are only interested in it during the first three to six months after it comes out.

But...what's sometimes helpful if you can't afford a publicist is to find out if there is a PR class being taught at a local college. Sometimes professors are interested in using your book as a class project and students can help out.

Or sometimes you can hire a recent college graduate who's interested in PR and has great ideas, but needs experience.

Also...obviously you want to do a mailing to all the mental health groups and churches in your area.

And there's a way to publicize it online. As I recall, you can write an email press release. I just don't know the site.

Best of luck with all this. Take deep breaths.


marja said...

Thanks, Susan. Those are all very good plans. I've implemented quite a few of them already. Think I will do my next post talking a bit on how I came on track yesterday doing that.