Monday, 30 November 2020

Has anybody Seen my Muse?


by Anusha Atukorala

The other day I was hunting for my runaway shopping list. I hunted here and I hunted there; I hunted everywhere. But no! Like a magician's rabbit who had performed a vanishing trick, my little notebook had completely disappeared from sight. Until … I opened one of the current books I was reading  … and voila! There it was. Hooray!


Have You found anything precious inside a BOOK?  


I’ve found plenty of valuable nuggets inside books. Like … joy from stories that crept into my heart, head knowledge that came from books, heart knowledge that also came from books, courage from tales of bravery, smiles from jokes and humour, wisdom from learned authors, relaxation when chuckling through a good yarn, deep sleep through a good book at bedtime, camaraderie through books shared with friends, a thumping heart when glued to a page-turner, hope from inspirational writing. And more. So much more. For like feasting on delicious morsals  at a banquet, in books too I find numerous delectable goodies that fill and satisfy me.


Early in 2020, my brain hummed with a plethora of writing ideas. I made some impressive writing plans. I even enjoyed lots of extra time to write, courtesy of Covid-19. But now … as I look back on the year that’s fast waning, I don’t have much to show as a Christian writer.


Has anybody seen my muse?


I did find something more precious than gold in a BOOK I’ve read every day of 2020. I’ve had more time this year to pursue God. Like a parched traveler finding an oasis in an arid desert, I’ve been drinking from the inexhaustible spring of the Waters of Life. Through the written Word and the Living Word, I’ve found Life. Hope. Sustenance. Blessing.


So perhaps 2020 has not been a waste after all?


Watching Avatar the movie some years ago, it struck me 

forcibly how we humans borrow God’s ideas. All. The. Time! 

The beings in the planet portrayed in Avatar were so similar to

 humans—with arms, legs, eyes, noses, mouths just like ours

 and tails like those of animals.

The plants in that planet were a whisper of our God’s creation. 

The beauty in that sphere was a reflection of the earth’s loveliness.

The truth is that we can never improve on our Creator's work

when making a movie or in writing a story, for every idea we 

have comes from Him. The exciting reality then is that the 

closer we get to Him the better we can tap into Him and His

creativity. No, I haven’t done much as a writer in 2020. But I

have done one thing well. 

I’ve called it my Year of Jesus, and my Year of Jesus it has been!

So perhaps it was simply a divine pause in my life? 

Perhaps it was a year of being renewed in order to serve Him better in in 2021?


Have you, in 2020 …

1.     Read books?

2.     Edited stories?

3.     Written book reviews?

4.     Encouraged other writers?

5.     Walked with the hurting and helped others?

6.     Cared for family and friends who needed you?

7.     Simply obeyed God in all He asked of you each day?

8.     Drew closer to Jesus, the One who holds all things together?

9.     Chalked up life experiences that you can now use in your writing?

10.  Took a break from writing because of other more important callings?

11.  Lived life the best you could each day in spite of tough circumstances?

12.  Battled difficulties and tough times to become a better version of yourself?


If you have done any of the above, you can hold your head up high. And even if you simply  kept on living, that is something to be proud of. Sometimes life is so hard that just to keep on going is an achievement in itself. 2020 was a year that challenged me and helped me grow and stretch. And that is what I call a really good year even if it doesn’t always feel that way.


As I’ve sought my Muse-giver, in Him I’ve found my muse. 

For in Jesus is life and hope and truth. His light pierces the 

darkness of Covid-19 and the bleakness of our world. 

This Christmas, may you find in Jesus, all that you desire.

And from the the challenging year of 2020 may you birth 

a rich and fulfilling 2021!

Keep writing!

Anusha’s been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab technician, a computer programmer, a full time Mum, a full time volunteer, a charity director, a full time job chaser, until one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for Him. She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She loves to see others enjoying life with Jesus and does her mite to hurry the process in her world through her writing and through her life. The goodness of God is her theme song through each season, as she dances in the rain with Jesus.


Her first book Enjoying the Journey contains 75 little God stories that will bring you closer to your Creator. Her 2nd book ‘Dancing in the Rain’ brings you hope and comfort for life’s soggy seasons. Her 3rd book, ‘Sharing the Journey’ is a sequel to 'Enjoying the Journey' and was released in March 2020.


Do stop by at her website Dancing in the Rain to say G’day!

Her latest Blogs are found at Light in the Darkness - where she continues her writings on the Truth who lights up this dark world  - JESUS!

Anusha's Books

A collection of 75 little God stories to bring you closer to our Saviour.

Words that will bring comfort and hope during life's tough seasons.

A sequal to Enjoying the Journey. 75 more stories that will bless and inspire.

Anusha's Facebook Author Page

Anusha on Good Reads

Thursday, 26 November 2020

What Keeps Us Writing - Part 2

Whether we've just started out or are multi-prize-winning published authors - the writing journey can have ups and downs, twists and turns and often what seem insurmountable obstacles. So, what keeps us writing?

Over a two-part series, each of the CWD admin team will share their insights.

Kirsten Hart

I’m going to be honest with you. I had plans to write a blogpost every week for my website, finish some major edits on my manuscript, complete the first draft of my second novel and a few other non-writing related things this year.

This was all before the global pandemic. To use this as an excuse as to why I haven’t written any blogs on my website since April or why none my major edits have made it into my manuscript yet or why that second novel is still only at 8000 words is pretty sad. I mean, hello! Lockdown! Though, my workplace never closed (yes, it’s a good thing, but opportunity lost on all that reading time) and life just seems way more hectic than usual.

So, not much writing has happened this year for me. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been active in the writing community. I entered the CALEB Award this year, I meet up with the Quirky Quills and we encourage each other in our writing and life’s speed bumps and I have six new story ideas bouncing through my head.

Even though I haven’t actively been writing, I’ve still connected with that passion on some level. While this maybe a year for me to reset and refocus, the writers I surround myself with keep me present. They encourage, they inspire, they teach and they listen. Words are scarce through my fingers this year. Maybe that’s true for some of you too, but the community of writers we have here, is the power God is using to keep us going, keep us on the writing journey.

Stay present.

Jeanette O'Hagan

Since enrolling in post-grad studies in writing in 2011 and my first published short story at the end of 2014, writing has been a major focus. Last year, I wrote at least 50 words, usually more, each and every day. The more I wrote, the easier it was to write --- until this year. This year has been a big black hole of writing for a few reasons.

Up until March, the Omega Writers Book Fair took up much of my writing time, then, Covid. While many writers found the forced isolation a boon, I found the opposite. I think I was still processing emotionally and found it hard to pick up a pen or bash the keyboard for much of April. Then in May, an long-awaited opening for Aged Care placement opened up for my Mum - moving her in the middle of lockdowns, taking over more responsibilities, and then seven months of decluttering and putting her property on the market while still caring for my children and husband took up most of my time and all of my energy. But the inertia went deeper. I've ten unpublished novels in various stages of drafting. I need to edit. But editing, rather than new virgin writing isn't quite as thrilling. Besides, not having new releases - apart from a two part boxed set of my already published five novella series - and not having time to write newsletters, blog posts, social media (because I didn't have the time) meant a dip in sales. Not writing, looking at a long stretch of editing, and only sporadic sales and little positive feedback discouraged me. I doubted my calling to write.

One Sunday morning after church at the end of October, two friends I hadn't seen for a while, asked how my writing going, had I published anything lately. Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face. It was a wake-up call, a time to focus on why I write. Yes, it would be fantastic to have more people reading and loving my books. Yes, it would be wonderful to be able have more (or any) time to focus on writing. Yes, it would be great to get more of my books published. But at the core of why I write is because of the stories inside and of God's call to write. I might have my plans of how to get there, but God often has different plans than me even when He has the same goals (goals he lodged in my heart).

That Sunday, I decided to trust God's paths and timing. And part of that, was - after a fallow season - to make time to write (well, actually to edit) even when life is insane.

Thanks Kirsten. (In Part 1 Mazzy and Sue shared their inspiration to 'keep on writing). We'd love to hear your stories too - in the comments here or on CWD facebook page.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Daring to Write Inclusively in an Exclusive World


I want you to imagine a scene, as if it were a part of a novel you were working on:

A single mum of three tunes into her local news broadcast for the latest update on the sudden 6-day lockdown her state has been thrust into at a moment’s notice, due to  Covid-19 rearing its ugly head after seven months of no cases. The authorities immediately sprung into action to lock the city down, for the greater good. She bites the inside of her cheek, awaiting the dire news of the day: additional cases? the need for extreme testing? greater quarantines? The announcement that came was a complete shock:

“The man at the centre of the pizza shop outbreak lied. The threat is not as great as first anticipated; some restrictions will cease immediately, and full lockdown will end at 11.59pm Saturday evening.”

End scene.

If this were your novel, how would you proceed to write the character’s reactions? Generally, most would have her and her children burst into excited and thankful whoops of joy and rapture! Phew! The lock-down is finished! Our lives can return to normal! 

That’s the overall expectation, right?

Well, this was my morning last Friday. I am that single mum of three boys, and I can tell you, that was not my reaction.

I burst into tears. Not joyful, “hooray, lock-down is over!” tears. These were tears of overwhelm, of exhaustion and frustration, and thoughts of “here we go again.” More changes. More planning. More fixing of plans and routines that I’d just managed to fix when they were so suddenly broken just a few days earlier. 

It’s okay, I’m not sharing this to throw a pity party, (that is done with, the chocolate has been put away and I am once again adulting as well as I usually am). I did, however, want to use this situation to raise an interesting discussion around the characters we write, or read of, in modern fiction. 

Most are written from what I would call a neuro-typical mindset, that is they think and act in ways that are the social norm; happy events bring on happy reactions and emotions, sad events see them sad, exciting see them excited. It’s just what is expected.  Right?

What if they didn’t? What if one of your main characters reacted to good news the way I did? What if they didn’t rejoice at being set free from a terrible situation? What if they laughed at tragic news, or didn't cry or acknowledge the situation at all? What if they displayed character traits that were not what we expect in society? How would that go down with a person reading a novel? And why is this even important?

I believe it’s important because we read to connect with characters, and there is a significant proportion of society who don’t always get that chance, because they are neuro-diverse.  Think of the quirky work mate, or cousin, or maybe even yourself! These people often see the world differently, through glasses perhaps tinted with OCD, Autism, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, or depression, or even manic episodes; some have brains that think too fast for their mouths to form the words so they stutter, or remain silent, or babble incessantly; some appear to not do well at school, or at work, yet they have IQs of 140; many suffer greatly from social anxiety, and cope in ways that most don't even see. 

There really aren’t that many examples of neuro-diverse people in mainstream media, or in literature; perhaps the most identifiable is Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, and that is such a cliché, narrow, and not always positive, representation of neuro-diverse people.

We have the opportunity, as writers, to be inclusive in our writing, by depicting characters with these wonderful neuro-diverse traits. Beautiful, funny, sad, clever, hilarious, angst-ridden characters where their differences are celebrated, rather than being swept under the carpet of neuro-typical normality.

You may feel a little in the dark about this, and that's understandable. May I suggest an excellent way to learn about neuro-diversity is to chat with those who live with ND traits, such as Autism, ADD/ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, and so on. If that isn’t possible, or feels a little intrusive, then perhaps google articles written by people who share their everyday lives and experiences as an neuro-diverse person living in a neuro-typical world. There are some incredible stories of strength and resilience around.

I am very new to creative writing. I have so much to learn about crafting a good story, and all the ins and outs of character development and story creation, and so forth. So, I cannot possibly speak on what makes a good novel, or how to write with proper technique, though I hope to learn these things. But above all, I hope when I do write, that I would include wonderfully real, neuro-diverse as well as neuro-typical characters who are beautifully themselves, quirky and dramatic, or quiet and reserved, in the most extraordinary ways. That I can show the love of God for all people, and that faith is a real struggle for many who find it difficult to find their place in the church because of they perhaps don't fit the typical Christian ideal. And that people reading my words could identify as the awesome, strong, beautiful leading lady, or the suave, debonair hero.

And you better believe that at least one of the characters will be, in part at least, autobiographical.

Psst: She’ll be the character drinking loads of coffee, looking for her keys, and purse, and phone, and running ten minutes late...or quite possibly a week early!

God, investigate my life;

get all the facts firsthand.

I'm an open book to you;

even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.

Psalm 139:1-2 The Message

Image credit: Tim Mossholder - Unsplash

Thursday, 19 November 2020

I think I have trust issues ...


Do you ever get anxious and stressed about your current work in progress? Do you become so discouraged you are scared to take the next step? If I'm honest, it's a battle I face with every book I write.

I went to a workshop on Friday night where I learned that our actions are a result of our thoughts which come from our beliefs. And if our beliefs are wrong deep down, we will have issues. The challenge was to acknowledge the old, dispute it, then, with God's help, put on the new.

So, I’ve been searching my heart and I've come to the conclusion my writing issue are actually trust issues.

I don’t trust myself. As I write a book, I find myself questioning my ability. I question my plotline and whether I’m really qualified to write about issues I’m dealing with. I’m worried I’m not going to pick up any grammatical errors as I never learned grammar at school and really, I’m just winging it. Which isn’t enough if you’re writing a book that a grammar expert may read. And then I question the way I represent God. Is it theologically correct? Would God really do that in this situation? What if I lead someone astray because of my own ignorance?

So I get others to read the manuscript. And I take on board a lot of their suggestions, but I also wonder if they have really picked up the issues that need fixing. Is it enough?

So then I send my book off to a professional editor and I look at the number of suggestions and red marks and my heart sinks. Whatever made me think I could write? But then I also find myself filtering every suggestion the editor makes. What if they haven’t really understood the heart of the story? What if the changes they are suggesting won’t work with the purpose of my story, or what if it’s just their own personal preference that I change some of the issues?

Then I make the changes, but I’m scared. What if the changes aren’t what the editor meant? What if I’ve actually made the book worse when I tried to fix the issue? What if the changes mean I left something important out and there’s now a plot hole that wasn’t there before?

So I get some of my beta readers and family to re-read the book, but what if they’re like me and they don’t pick up on new issues because they still have knowledge from the original version of the story in their head?

I send it off to the publisher, and then I think, ‘What if the publisher is just being kind, publishing this for me? What if it doesn’t sell and I end up being a liability for the publisher?’

So, if I don’t trust myself or others, what is my real issue?

If I dig deep down, I realise that my action of being stressed and anxious is because whether or not I realise it, I am telling myself that what I write has to be perfect. It has to please everybody.

My belief is that if it doesn’t please everybody, then it’s not good enough. That if I'm not perfect I'm not good enough. I’m believing that my writing is only of value if it will have a positive impact on everybody who reads it and that it is my responsibility to make this positive impact.

I am not trusting God to use my gifts in His way, for His purpose.

So then I look at Scripture and what I know of God. Does He need me to be perfect for Him to be glorified?

No. He knows I’m not and that’s why He died for me and for every other person. It is His Holy Spirit who convicts and changes people and provides all they need. I’m not supposed to be meeting the needs of all people alive. He does.

And does my value depend upon what other people think of me and my writing?

No. My value lies in the fact that God made me. That He loves me. That I am His child. That I am surrendering to Him and accepting His invitation to walk with Him day by day.

If I make a mistake, have I blown it? Is that the end?

No. A mistake is merely another invitation from Him to look up, to reach for His hand, to be forgiven and walk with Him as best I can. I can trust Him with the other people in my life and those who read my books.

So do I have to trust myself? Or others?

No. I'm not trustworthy. None of us are trustworthy. But God is. I need to trust that He will bring about His purpose. To surrender to the process of being transformed into His image. 

So now I know all this in my head, how do I live it? How do I allow the truths I've discovered to change the anxiety and discouragement I keep falling into?

Every time I feel discouragement or anxiety creeping in, I need to remember Him. To hear His invitation to engage with Him, to seek Him through every issue, through every doubt, through every moment of discouragement. I need to pour it all out to Him and ask for His wisdom and guidance.

And when I do this it’s amazing how peace comes and how the joy of writing returns. Because I’m writing with Him, hearing His whisper in my heart, seeing His hand in what I write. I am depending on the only One I can trust.

What I write will never be perfect. I’m not God. But I trust that He’s got me, that He delights in me using the creative gift He's given me ... and that is enough.

He is trustworthy.

What about you? Do you go through any of these issues as you write? I’d love to hear your thoughts. It's an issue I am still working through with God and I'm certainly not there yet!      


Jenny Glazebrook writes inspirational YA Christian fiction. She lives in the country of Gundagai with her husband Rob, four children and many pets. 

Jenny is the author of the Aussie Sky series and the Bateman Family novels (currently being published by Daughters of Love and Light, an imprint of Elephant House Press).

More details about Jenny's books can be found on her website:


Monday, 16 November 2020

Introducing Penny Reeve | President of Omega Writers

Hello! My name is Penny and I write.

Penny Reeve, Australian Children's author 
At least that’s how I like to introduce myself. I write children’s books, mainly, but I also like to write for young adults. I write fiction and non-fiction, picture books and novels. I write for the Christian book market and for the general market under three pen names: my real name Penny Reeve, and Penny Jaye and Ella Shine. I love writing – it’s one of my favourite things.  

I also frequently find myself hunched over my keyboard in despair, wondering whether I know anything about this writing game at all. And that’s because writing for publication, writing for a specific audience other than yourself, is hard work. The market is extremely competitive. Authors are expected to be marketers, promotional experts and snazzy personalities that inspire sales. And I don’t know about you, but most of the time, I don’t feel very snazzy. I wonder whether many of us do.

I think that’s why I value the influence and input of Omega Writers in my writing life so much.

Omega Writers is a membership organisation that is committed to encouraging, supporting and equipping Australasian writers who are followers of Christ to be the best writers they can be.

   Penny Reeve on a school visit 

 In my writing journey, Omega Writers was one of the key encouragements that kept me writing – even when it felt like my stories were reaching no one. Omega Writers celebrates the pursuit of excellence in categories of writing nowhere else recognised in Australian world of literature. It has helped me build my skills as a writer. I’ve had conversations and prayerful support from fellow Christian writers through difficult paths to publication. I’ve been encouraged to write for God and that in order to do that, I need to write my best. I’ve found a family of writers wholeheartedly committed to both faith and craft. It’s been invaluable. 

 And that is why, when the outgoing and Omega Writer’s president, Meredith Resce, approached me to consider taking on the role of president, I said I’d prayerfully consider it. I was completely daunted by the task. It felt beyond what little old me could do. But… I also believed in the role. I looked closely at the team of volunteers that has built up over the years: all people of faith, dedication and a generous commitment to building other writers. And I knew I wanted to be part of that.

So I said yes.

The Omega President shoes are big ones to fill. I can feel the gap between who I am and the legacy left by those who stood in this role before me. But I am confident of God’s leading and provision. I believe in Australasian Christian writers. I believe we have a vital role in these times to speak and write with integrity, compassion and hope. 

I am excited to work with the Omega Writers team over the next few years and as I begin, I’d love to hear how Omega Writers had encouraged or helped you in your writing journey.

Please leave a comment below to share your experiences!

Thursday, 12 November 2020

What Keeps Us Writing - Part 1


Whether we've just started out or are multi-prize-winning published authors - the writing journey can have ups and downs, twists and turns and often what seem insurmountable obstacles. So what keeps us writing?

Over a two-part series, each of the CWD admin team will share their insights.

Mazzy Adams


This photo shows my planning notes for last Thursday’s CWD blog post. Tentatively titled, ‘Are we there yet?’, I pondered the twists and turns of the writing journey and questioned why we persevere. However, the topic overwhelmed me and, fearing I’d descend into a ‘woe is me’ sob story, I opted to write ‘A Good Yarn’ instead. Then, when Jeanette O’Hagan asked me for a couple of paragraphs on what keeps us going as writers, it confirmed just how desperately we all need encouragement to persevere.

Over the last three years I’ve encountered interruptions and setbacks ad infinitum. I’ve left new stories simmering on the back burner while stirring the Indie Publishing upskill pot, and doused raging spot fires of personal ill health, family crises, and the COVID-19 invasion. Nevertheless, I bless and thank God for a pleasant detour beyond the fetid swamp of frustration as we celebrated our daughter’s ‘pandemic safe’ wedding in July. When life throws a tantrum, it’s tough finding the head and heart space to pursue this passion and calling to which we’re committed. 

But therein lies a significant clue—we keep going because, as Christian believers, our call to write exceeds ourselves and our circumstances. Like all skilled artisans appointed by God (Exodus 31:1-6) our writing comes from and belongs to God just as we belong to him. It is our responsive act of love, devotion, honour, and service to our precious Lord and Saviour, a pleasing sacrifice, a pleasant aroma rising to him because, whether our writing is overtly or covertly Christian, God is the centre of our earthly existence, the central word in our personal story, the heart and soul of every phrase we write, and the Spirit that draws each and every reader to him.


That’s why we stop glaring at the obstacles, stop trembling at the giants that threaten and oppose us, and keep our eyes on the One who said, ‘Is anything too difficult or too wonderful for me?’ (Gen 18:14 AMP). Believe me, once we see his eyes smiling at us and his face nodding approval and encouragement, our strength to carry on is renewed and renewed and renewed again. Today, will you look to him, see him and write on? Will you seek out his personal word to you? Maybe he’ll expand upon my scribbled notes. If so, I’d love you to share what the Lord reveals to you in the comments.

Susan Bruce (aka Sue Jeffrey)

What keeps me going as an author? It’s obviously the money, right? Lol, if only. There are many reasons I keep writing but during a recent ghostwriting project (non fiction) I realised afresh that I had a deep inner drive to express the voice God had given me.

It was the first time I’d ghostwritten and I found it much harder than expected. The book was complex with lots of research and there was a great deal of too-and-fro with the author. Overall the project took more than four times the hours allocated and I felt pretty burned out at the end. During that time I had little energy to write my own work. However from about halfway through the project I could feel this nagging voice inside me, like a small child tugging on her mother’s skirt. ‘What about me?’ I realised my own inner voice yearned to be heard. This was why I’d taken on this writing gig. God had given me things to say, and words to uplift and entertain, that needed to be expressed. It was one thing to write someone else’s words but I wouldn’t be happy unless I could express my own voice. 

I’m still pretty exhausted and my back is in a bad way from long hours sitting, but I’m thankful for this gift of fresh focus. When I pray, I feel a deep peace surrounding my desire to write fiction and I believe that’s where I’m to focus my energy for the next few months. I have to write my own book. After that? Who knows. But I press on in the light that I have, pushing the doubts aside and whacking my steroid-enhanced inner critic on the head several times each day. I know if I do this, and persevere, whatever happens success wise I’ll have been true to myself and to God.

That’s what keeps me going as an author.

Thanks Mazzy and Sue.  In Part 2 Kirsten and Jeanette will share their inspiration to 'keep on writing.'

Monday, 9 November 2020

The Art of Acknowledgements

Do you read the acknowledgements page/s in books? It’s easy to skip over these sections, but they can contain interesting information. How else would you know that the author received free accommodation at an Hawaiian hotel while researching her book? I actually came across that snippet and made a mental note to set a novel in a location I’d like to visit! The acknowledgements can also give you insights into the author’s world and even provide you with some tips you could pursue for your writing (e.g. names of publishers, editors, agents in your preferred genre).

However, there is an art to writing good acknowledgements. It’s not something to be dashed off in five minutes before your book goes to print. Here are some suggestions that will help you to craft an acknowledgements section that people will want to read.

Who Do You Thank?

The list is endless, but here are some people you would typically thank:

  • Those who helped you brainstorm ideas.
  • People who helped with any research you did for the book (e.g. experts you interviewed).
  • Readers who gave you feedback at various stages of manuscript development, such as editors, your critique group, or beta readers (i.e. readers who gave your book a ‘test run’).
  • People who helped with the production of the book (e.g. publishers, in-house editors, cover designers).
  • People who supported and encouraged you through the process, such as family and friends, writing groups, and readers who have embraced your writing and spurred you on.


Keep Track

Every time you start a new book, also start an acknowledgements file and update it regularly. You may think you’ll remember everyone, but it’s easy to forget that Guinevere gave you the idea for the fabulous twist and Renaldo checked all of your fascinating info about the migration of sea turtles. There’s nothing worse than remembering a key person after the book’s in print. Jot down points now and avoid those awkward moments later.

Do You Need Someone’s Permission to Acknowledge Them?

You don’t usually need permission, but you might want to check in some cases. For example, if you’ve consulted experts working in sensitive areas (e.g. police officers, child protection officers, medical personnel, psychiatrists), you might want to check whether they’re happy for their names to be used. If you’re using people’s personal stories in a non-fiction book, you might also want to check whether they are happy for their names to be used or whether they would prefer a pseudonym.

If you paid someone to work on your book (e.g. an editor), you’re not obligated to thank them, though it is a nice gesture. However, ask how they would like to be acknowledged. As an editor myself, I appreciate it when people thank me for my help. Rather than being acknowledged as the editor, however, I usually prefer a more generic reference such as thanks for my feedback on an earlier draft of the book. The reason for this is that I rarely see the author’s final version, and don’t know what they’ve actually done with any of my suggestions. If in doubt, it’s a good idea to check with the person.


How Much Detail?

This is a bit like, ‘How long is a piece of string?’ It will differ depending on how many people you’ve consulted, how much research you had to do, how complicated your manuscript was and so on. However, avoid doing the catch-all list of everyone who’s ever helped you with anything to do with your writing. Do you really need to thank the Grade 3 teacher who gave you a good mark for your first story? Probably not, unless that person really encouraged you to pursue your dream when everyone else made you feel worthless.

I had to think about this issue when writing the acknowledgements for my debut novel Scattered. It took me more than seven years to write and there are so many people who’ve helped me hone my craft. If I’d thanked every workshop instructor, writing teacher, blogger, colleague and fellow writer who’d inspired me or taught me something, it would have been a very long list. So I opted for something more generic:

I’m grateful for the many creative people in my life who have provided friendship, instruction, support and inspiration over the years, especially my friends in Omega Writers, Christian Writers Downunder, Australasian Christian Writers; the Creative Writing staff at Tabor College, Adelaide; and the facilitators and fellow students in QWC’s Novelist’s Boot Camp and Year of the Edit. You’ve all helped more than you know.


Be Specific

I’ve read some acknowledgements sections where the author says something like, ‘I would like to thank the following people for their help’, and then rattles off a list of 50 people. I don’t know what any of these people did and I tend to skip over that whole paragraph.

I know space can sometimes be an issue, but it’s often better to say something specific about the key people who’ve helped you where possible. For example, I named four people who’d helped me ‘hone the synopsis and/or some sections of the novel’; and I mentioned a Canadian friend who’d given me advice regarding ‘horses and all things Nova Scotian’.


Take Care with Your Writing

Although readers wouldn’t expect your acknowledgements to be written as creatively as the rest of your book, you’re still showcasing your writing. Can you add things that reflect your personality, such as humour or heartfelt insights? Can you mix up the writing so that it’s not boring? Instead of repeating ‘I would like to thank’ a dozen times, intersperse your prose with gratitude, appreciation, indebtedness and so on. If you’re not sure what to write, check out some books in your genre and read their acknowledgements sections to get a feel for how different authors handle this task. The acknowledgements say more about you than you think, so it’s worth the effort to get it right.


The God Factor

If you’ve written a book that is overtly Christian or has a Christian worldview, you may also like to thank God. Afterall, He’s the one who has given us our creative gifts. Whether you do that in your dedication or acknowledgements section is up to you. For some ideas on that, you might like to see my recent post about book dedications.

There is also an obvious connection between our relationship with God and the overflow of thankfulness in our lives. As we acknowledge all He has done for us, we will want to pour out that gratitude to others who have helped us along the way:

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:3-6, NIV).

Let's show our appreciation to all those who have helped make our books the best they can be, and so bring glory to God.

Do you read acknowledgements sections? What makes you read all the way to the end and what makes you skip?

Author Bio

Nola Lorraine (aka Nola Passmore) wrote her first mystery story in primary school. She used the word ‘suddenly’ five times and Mr Cuskelly circled every one of them. She’s come a long way since then, with more than 150 short publications, including fiction, poetry, devotions, true stories, magazine articles and academic papers. Her debut novel Scattered was released in October 2020. She is also the co-editor of the Christian charity anthology Glimpses of Light, with Jeanette O’Hagan.

When she’s not tinkering with her own writing, she’s assessing and editing other people’s manuscripts through The Write Flourish, a freelance business she and her husband Tim run from their home in southeast Queensland, Australia. She has a passion for faith and social justice issues, and loves weaving words that inspire others with courage and hope.







Scattered can be purchased through Amazon and Book Depository. Within Australia, you can also purchase it from Koorong and Breath of Fresh Air Press.

Photo Credits

Featured photo by Gerhard G. on Pixabay.

Checklist by Deedster on Pixabay.

Author photo by Wayne Logan from WRL Photo.