I celebrated my 54th birthday this past Saturday. I’m hoping more inner wisdom will come with the added year. At least then I’ll have something better to show for living twelve more months than additional gray hair and a rounder middle.
This year I hope to pick and choose the most important things and discard the petty stuff I don’t enjoy doing. What’s really important in life? To me many things: My faith, family, writing, watching my only granddaughter grow up, friends, a clean house, a happy husband, a loving daughter to whom I am very proud, staying warm, watching it snow, camping on the New River, good books to read, fishing for Bass, walks in the woods, loving on my cats, picking wildflowers and writing. Oh, I already said writing, didn’t I?
For almost six years I’ve been a full-time stay-at home novelist. No one knows the hours that go into creating a meaningful tale. Whether it’s a short story for children or a 100,000–word novel for adults. Last week I was interviewed for an Internet show that spotlights authors. The interviewer sent me twelve questions that he would be asking me on the show and gave me a couple of weeks to prepare.
As I was reading through the list of twelve I started stressing out. One of the questions was what is my Branding Statement? I don’t even know what a branding statement is. But the kind interviewer led me to a taped segment that he had created especially for people like me who don’t know what their Branding Statement is either. After listening to his information I came up with a Branding Statement for Sarah Martin Byrd, “Life Changing Books With Grit From The Heart.” What do you guys think? If you’ve read my work let me know if you believe my new Branding Statement fits.
Some of the other questions were as simple as, “Tell us about your book.” Who could do this better than me, the lady who wrote it? Well, I’m here to tell you probably anyone could have. I was all over the place. I was supposed to answer the question in one minute and after three and a half I was still blubbering and not finished.
Other questions were: “Who did you write this book for?” “Is there a central message in the book?” “What led you to write “The Color of My Heart?” and,” How can you share the themes of this book with children?”
Those five questions plus seven more were harder to answer than any pop quiz I ever experienced in all my years of schooling. Why? I really can’t explain. I simply write what is on my heart. Does there have to be a central message? Can’t the story just be for entertainment? And, do I have to pinpoint a certain group that I wrote this book for? My answer was everyone. The interviewer quickly corrected me and said, “If you say everyone, that means no one.” What the heck does that mean? What if that interviewer asked God who He wrote the Bible for? Do you think he’d tell The Lord that His Word can’t be for everyone, I think not!
Long story short, the pressure of all the, do’s, and don’ts in life can suck the magic out of our imagination. I can talk face to face about my books for hours and not even stutter once, but when put on the spot with these questions I froze up like an over worked air conditioner on a steamy day.
The interviewer also asked if I have a specific writing style. Am I supposed to? My writing style is Sarah’s. Not Nicholas Sparks or Mary Higgins Clarks. It’s mine and there’s no way to describe it without boxing myself in. I enjoy writing inspirational stories, women’s fiction, young adult, and children’s stories. To be successful do I have to choose?
After taping that interview last week I was a nervous wreck. It wasn’t fun. So I have made a vow to never, ever do another phone interview. It’s just not me. So my first official decision since turning 54 is: Stop doing things that are not pleasurable! That of course excludes housework, laundry and grocery shopping. Maybe a bit more wisdom has come my way with the ticking of time.
This verse might just be God’s Branding Statement:
HEBREWS 4:12 NKJ
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.