Friday, November 9, 2012

The power of creativity

Recently, I held the launch of my non-fiction book Soul Friend here in Sydney. While it involved a lot of work, it was a great afternoon and those present seemed to enjoy it. A week earlier, we were still returning from our Queensland trip, where I had gone mainly to give some input at the Word Writers’ Getaway. But that wasn’t all I did in Queensland. I caught up with friends, spent time with family members, signed books in Springwood Koorong, had a strategic meeting with someone on a church staff, spoke to twenty seniors in a home bible study group and was interviewed at a women’s night out at a large church.

But in the months before that, as I look back in my diary, I can see I was busy with all sorts of things—appointments with some women I mentor, other ministry activities, minding grandchildren, family celebrations, speaking at secular venues about my writing journey, sending out lots of emails about my new book release, writing my own weekly blogs and blogs for groups such as this, making a book trailer for Soul Friend, setting up a new website. Forget the housework, shopping and gardening in all that!

As well, I was busy editing my two books for which I signed contracts earlier this year. With my non-fiction book Soul Friend, I needed to work through the nitty gritty of final edits with my new publisher, Even Before Publishing. And with my sixth novel, The Inheritance, due for release next year, I needed to rewrite various sections, getting into my characters’ heads yet again and watching for changes in points of view in particular. I’m glad I was challenged to do that, however—I’m sure my novel is the stronger for it.

Yet as I sit back now in my rather depleted state after my Soul Friend launch (and before the next onslaught of book signings, speaking etc!), I realise I have been missing something I have enjoyed so much in recent years. I have not had the opportunity to begin writing another book, to immerse myself in the whole creative process involved in such an undertaking. Sure I have written around fifty blogs this year—but to me, it’s not the same as letting my creativity run riot in a full length book. With ‘real’ writing, I can dig deep into the very centre of my being, let those creative juices flow and sense God’s presence all around me and in me. To me, this is a wonderful privilege—and one I am longing to experience again in the next few months.

I believe as Christian authors we are doubly blessed. Like anyone on this earth, we are created in God’s image, as Genesis 1:27 tells us. Surely that means that because God is so amazingly creative, each of us has some aspect at least of this creativity within us? But those of us who know God can let this shine forth in a unique way, just as God has purposed us to do, as we are guided and enabled by God’s Spirit at work within us. No wonder this is such a fulfilling experience!
Is this how you find your own writing experience to be? If you, like me, have been missing out on such fulfilment for a while, may you soon be able to enjoy it again, as you share your own creative journey with our wonderful, creative God.

Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of five published novels – Heléna, All the Days of My Life, Laura, Jenna and Heléna’s Legacy—and one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. Her sixth novel, The Inheritance, will be released in 2013. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information, please visit or


  1. I really identify with your comments Jo-Anne. Life can be so busy and so full of things that are good, but still keep us from the things that we most value and enjoy. I hope you find the time you need to dig deep into that creative part of you. I know how life-giving that is.


  2. Thanks, Carol. I'm looking forward to accessing that creative part of me a bit more in the months ahead--but perhaps not until after Christmas! Hope you can do the same--even before Christmas!

  3. Yes, there is a certain thrill in first draft creative writing. I'm looking forward to making it a priority of the new year to set aside some time each week specifically for this!

  4. Jo....whew!

    It hits me like that with our ministry in evangelism & radio. I've begun a few different books in my head...but then they fade away. Maybe because of everything else going on.

    Time to make a New Year's Resolution.

    God bless.

    1. I'll hold you to that New Year's resolution, Rita! God bless you and George as you head off to Thailand this week. And then after that ... maybe some writing??

  5. Hi Jo-anne.. I took a quick glimpse at your non-fiction book Soul Friend and find it very inspiring especially when you mentioned Tuesdays with Morrie which is one of my favorite books.

    As I read through your reason why you wrote Soul Friend, it made me remember the days when I was still at the Christian Seminary aiming for priesthood when all of us have our own spiritual advisors. But since I left the seminary to pursue another dream, I don't have anyone who I can share my spiritual journey with. I'm happy that you found yours in the person of Joy.

  6. Thanks for your comments and for checking out my book 'Soul Friend'. Yes, 'Tuesdays with Morrie' certainly played a vital part in my even contemplating the idea of writing a non-fiction book, after five novels. And you've inspired me to pick it up and read it again too!

    I do hope and pray you can find someone else who can share your own spiritual journey with you. Perhaps if you look around at your local church, there may be someone you see as you pray and listen with whom you feel you would 'click'. We all need such support around us.There is a page on my 'Soul Friend' website too where you can check out how to find a mentor/spiritual director, if you are interested. God bless!