No, I have never been a surfer! But over the years, I have had to learn how to ride the highs and lows of those writing waves and the ever-changing, often choppy seas of publication and book promotion. I am so thankful to God for keeping me afloat, guiding me around those dangerous rifts and preventing me from being wiped out along the way!
Perhaps my current writing and speaking week will serve as an example of those ever-changing waters for me.
· Last Saturday, I held the launch of my latest book, Becoming Me. I combined it with a visit to our church’s Art Installation, where a piece of my writing on the theme of solitude was on display. The waters I have had to navigate with this book were certainly quite choppy at times. Then organising the launch, preparing the food (not my strength!) and speaking as well caused a few more waves! Yet in the end, everything flowed well and I truly enjoyed myself.
· On Sunday, with the cancellation of the Sydney Book Expo, I instead met with the publisher of two of my previous books, along with other authors and an illustrator. It was so good to encourage one another and to realise we are riding similar, yet uniquely different waves.
· On Monday, I spoke to around ninety men and women at a Probus Club about my writing journey and the joys and challenges of being published. What a privilege to address such an attentive group of older folk and later to answer their varied questions! Yes, I was tired, yet I felt God carrying me along on a lovely, warm current as I spoke and giving me strength.
· On Tuesday, I met up with a friend who was unable to attend my book launch but couldn’t wait to buy my new book. And today (Thursday), I will be meeting up with some other old friends who likewise will want to hear all about my new book. I do not take this loving support for granted and am so thankful for it.
· On Saturday, I am to speak at a women’s ‘Bookfest Breakfast’ at a church not far away. I am so looking forward to riding this particular wave. I don’t know where it will carry me—I have never met the women at this church—but I know I can trust God to navigate me in the right direction.
· On Sunday, I will attend the 25th birthday celebrations of the NSW Writers’ Centre, where I will receive a book package and free membership of the Centre for a year! I am one of five winners of a writing competition in which we were asked to share something of our experiences at the Centre. What a great little wave to ride to the shore, where yet another interesting writing week will begin!
Of course, some periods of my writing journey have been much calmer, with little happening at all. Perhaps that is where you are at right now. Or perhaps you’re struggling in some muddy, turbulent writing waters and feel you are in well over your head. Yet whatever is happening, may you be aware of God’s gracious presence with you and experience God’s peace and strengthening to keep swimming—and writing!
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 six published novels and two non-fiction works, Soul Friend and Becoming Me. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com.