Thursday, 7 May 2020

CWD Member Interview – Pamela Heemskerk

Most Thursdays this year we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today’s interview: Pamela Heemskerk

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.

Queensland, New South Wales, Queensland, in that order – almost exactly one third of my life in each. I have happily never moved back to a major city and have discovered I love the cold. I’d love to travel to wild, chilly and less inhabited places, and a trip to Antarctica continues to inspire my writing.

I was an outdoors person, but health issues have forced me into the ‘gentle arts’: writing, handcraft, jigsaws (did you know there’s an app for jigsaws… 😊). As is so often the case, life’s struggles fuel the writing.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?

I am a non-fiction writer, who started with devotions, and had a number published in Penned from the Heart, Rise, Gathered Treasures and various short pieces in local publications. I fell into poetry whilst attending a series on Dietrich Bonhoeffer – driving to Brisbane every Wednesday night for 8 weeks. This was later published in Glimpses of Light. Since then, I have entered one poem each year into the Poetica Christi competition, and to my delight, they have been published. 

I think I might be a frustrated teacher at heart – I really enjoy writing with an educational and explanatory bent. I have found if people understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’, it can empower them to do something to help themselves. Adele Jones and I presented a number of articles around writing and injury, along with exercise sessions at CWC conferences. 

My own booklet has been on living with hearing loss, written from the crucible of a disability that has impacted every area of my life and work. I am hoping that others may find some solutions to the daily struggles this causes.

Question 3: Who has read your work? 

Well, obviously, nowhere near enough people!

Who would you like to read it? 

Anyone who has, or knows anyone with, a hearing impairment. Given that 1 in 6 have a hearing loss, that means there’s a lot of potential readers out there…

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?

Process – mmm – sounds like I have a plan. It’s more like:

Where’s the latest draft? Did I call it Latest Draft? Or Most Recent? Or Final Draft? Where did I save it? Did I save it? 

I’m supposed to have written something for the meeting on Saturday.

Oh look! There’s those poems I started two years ago… Oooh, I like that… uh, maybe this would sound better…

If anyone would like to teach me how to organize my USB, my half-finished works or my inbox, I’ll provide the coffee, a foot massage, a free kitten…

Things that have helped me the most:

  1. knowing I’m not the most disorganized writer in the world (please say I’m not…)
  2. remembering it doesn’t have to be serious
  3. seriously: knowing that there are lots of very talented people in Omega, CWD, ACW and Australia, who can read, edit and shape my writing, and 
  4. that God’s timing is perfect

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?

When I spend time with God, I write. When I don’t, I don’t.

Honestly, spending time with God has been the most significant learning time in my writing. It is here in this quiet place that I find inspiration, phrases and even a whole ‘rough draft’. The challenge is to stop and rest.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

So many of you are talented, passionate and persistent in your craft. I can’t possibly list all your attributes, but Cathie Sercombe for perseverance; Anne Hamilton for whipping my booklet into shape.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for this year? How will you achieve them?

Goals? I was thinking maybe in 2022. No, 2024…

I was in a Bible study group 3 years ago and we set 10 goals each year – and for the last 3 years I have achieved most goals I’ve set (not many were writing goals). I learned to be structured and deliberate in choosing how to spend my time. Yet I did not find this onerous – I spent time with God regularly, and found many of these things ‘fell’ into place. 

I did get the draft of Edition 2 of my booklet on hearing loss completed last year, but this last few months have been rather more like… tread water; breathe; tread water…

Surprisingly, in the middle of this, I have sent off 3 pieces; written this blog and hope to complete another poem soon. This year might be a wait-and-see as far as bringing out Edition 2 of my booklet goes. 

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

I doubt I would be a writer if I didn’t have a faith. Sometimes life with God is bewildering, and I have leant heavily on others’ insights into His goodness, even when it doesn’t make sense. Writing helps me to express what I have learnt, and to think it through.

I often think of the verse: ‘Comfort others with the comfort you have received’. I write from life experience – if it helps one other person, it’s worth it. 

Pamela Heemskerk is an Allied Health professional working with children with disabilities.
After developing a hearing loss in her first year at work, she has become passionate about promoting awareness around hearing loss, and published a booklet on this topic:  Rather A Small Chicken…A guide to hearing loss for family and friends.
She has worn hearing aids for over 30 years, and is now ‘enjoying’ the learning curve that goes with technology and hearing. 
Pamela has had a number of short articles, poems and devotions published. She has co-presented on Writing and Ergonomics at the Christian Writers’ Conference in 2014 and 2015, and this information was published in an on-line writing magazine and two blogsites. 
Pamela is a jigsaw addict, and enjoys dabbling in water colours and good coffee. 

Blog site:


  1. What a beautiful intro into who you are Pamela. I'd like to offer to come and organise your USBs and so forth...I will be no help whatsoever, I just want the coffee and kitten cuddles! And we can laugh at our equally-disorganised filing systems! Thanks for reminding us that God is our source when it comes to our writing. Blessings, Helen

    1. Thanks Helen. I'm not sure coffee or kittens would help organise either but they would be calming... !
      I'm always amazed at how GOd continually inspires - His Spirit breathing through us. It's so special

  2. I really enjoyed your interview, thanks Pamela. I identify with the bit about spending time with God leading to writing. When I first became a Christian, after writing all my childhood, teens and young adult life, I stopped writing completely as I thought it was 'just me doing my own
    thing'. A few years later as I developed a close relationship with Him, I found writing began welling up through me again.(Sounds a bit odd.). Btw I also have a very messy desk, study and computer. Thanks again.

    1. SOmetimes, I think, God takes us away from something for a time and then returns us to it - renewed and sanctified by Him. Then it becomes more of Him than us. Does that make sense?
      Oh, I feel so much better knowing I'm not alone in mess! Creatives (and mess) rule!
      Now to organise my work computer...

  3. Some memories stand out and when I met you Pamela, your warmth reached into my nervous heart and soul! I wanted to BE with REAL people, REAL writers who are REAL Christians and as small a chicken as I felt, (lol!) you made a lovely first impression.
    Which, may I say, has proven the REAL you!
    I enjoyed your bare-all blog! Where would we be without God?! I’ve never been good at goals, so having to set one is as muddled as jigsaws to me.
    It’s wonderful that even while you've been treading water last season, your gifting to write didn’t slip away, but moved with the Living Water around you!

  4. Hi Rosie. Thank you so much! I'm so glad the love of God shone through. WHat an encouragement.
    Goals was a weird one for me - I just kinda drift...but setting them crystalised something. I kept them small and at the end I could see I'd made some ateps. And that was great.
    Writing, like life, seem like a jigsaw - do a bit here and a bit there. One day, I will look back and it will be a completed picture and God will have been in it all along.
    What a beautiful phrase - the gift of writing moved with Living Water
    Looking forward to reading your next story!

  5. Thanks for sharing yourself with us, Pam. You do indeed 'comfort others ...' There is so much that we do not understand, but I'm 100% with you in my amazement at how writing helps us make sense of things. Thanks for the shout out. Not quite sure where perseverance ends and stubbornness begins but having the encouragement of others I think helps us persevere with the right spirit. :)

  6. Hi Pamela. Really enjoyed your interview and love your sense of humour! Thanks so much for sharing. And no - you are NOT the most dis-organised writer. I am! :) So you can rest easy. I do agree that writing does help us make sense of life - and the bewildering paths it takes us on. Me too. I love writing because I sometimes know what I am thinking through what I write. I am fully with you - comforting others with the comfort we received is what God asks us to do - what better medium than through our written words! And again - fully agree that if it helps one person - that's all that matters. May God continue to infuse you with wisdom, courage, strength and insight for your writing journey and for life's journey too. And may He reach many through your pen. Keep writing!