Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Jitters!

I wonder if I’m the only author who feels a few butterflies in the tummy at this time of year. In one way, it’s a pleasant, exciting sensation to experience as I look ahead to what this year may hold for me in my writing and speaking. But in another way, it is also a little disquieting and uncomfortable.

You see, I’d much rather know right now whether the two books I recently submitted to different publishers will actually be accepted for publication—and if so, exactly when they will be released. I’d appreciate too knowing all the possible speaking engagements I may have in the coming year were confirmed and entered in my diary in black and white. And I’d be very relieved to have more opportunities to promote and sell my books and also to see more sales of my books through the bookstores.

Could it be that this uncertainly is felt by authors everywhere or is it more prevalent here in Australia? There are very few Christian publishers ‘Down Under’ and those that do exist are quite small, while some are also very new. And of those that have been around for a while, most of them do not publish fiction. As well, it seems to be a battle in our nation of just under twenty-three million people where only a small percentage attend church on a regular basis, for many of these publishers to make a decent profit or even to stay afloat. Then there is the added pressure of not knowing how the e-book market will affect hard copy book sales—and so the challenges roll on.

So what do I do as I face this new year of 2012? I can decide it’s all too hard and put my energies into something else. Or I can continue to persevere in my uncertain writing and speaking journey, remembering this is what I believe God has called me to do and trusting God will take care of me. This morning, I read some wonderful verses in Isaiah 26:

You will keep in perfect peace him [her] whose mind is steadfast, because he [she] trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal (v 3-4).

That is how I want to approach this year and all it may hold—grounded firmly on the Rock, with my heart perfectly at peace in God. And I know I need to wait for God’s leading and empowering in everything, determined to honour God in every aspect of my writing and speaking, as verse 8 of the same chapter reminds me to do:

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

 How amazing is God, to give me these verses just when I needed them to combat my ‘January jitters’! I know God has things in control and has my best interests at heart. And I know too that when the end of 2012 comes, just as in previous years, I will be able to look back and say, as Isaiah says in verse 12:

Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

May you all step into 2012 will full confidence in God—may those ‘January jitters’ soon be a thing of the past!

Jo-Anne Berthelsen grew up in Brisbane and holds an Arts degree from Queensland University. She has also studied Education and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher and editor, as well as in local church ministry in Sydney. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word and currently has four published novels – ‘Heléna’, ‘All the Days of My Life’, ‘Laura’, ‘Jenna’ and ‘Heléna’s Legacy’.  She is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. For more information or to contact Jo-Anne, please visit her website, www.jo-anneberthelsen.com.


  1. I'm a planner too Jo-anne and like to know what's happening but not always easy.That's the other sad reality of the publishing scene here in Australia.It's not easy to get fiction published so thanks for the reminder of those encouraging verses as we look towards 2012.

  2. Yes, we sure need those 'God encouragements', don't we, Dale. Hope 2012 is rewarding and fulfilling - and also a healthy one - for you.

  3. I agree that this uncertainty seems to be a part of the publishing situation for Christian fiction authors in Australia. In fact, at the beginning of last year I was even toying with the notion of placing it all in the 'too hard' basket, but in many unmistakable ways, God encouraged me to plod on.
    I do appreciate the way this post and mine from the day before both highlight similar issues, and quite accidentally and independently of each other.

  4. Jo-Anne, thanks for your encouraging and inspiring post :) When it seems like all the odds are against us, it's helpful to hold onto verses like the Isaiah ones you shared. May you receive many blessings in your writing journey this year.

  5. Again thanks for sharing your heartfelt desires, Jo-Anne. I believe all Christian authors can truly relate with your journey. He promises He will give us the desires of our hearts...but in His time.

  6. Thanks for your encouraging comments, Paula, Narelle and Rita! May you all have an excellent and fulfilling 2012 - and may we all know that whatever happens with our books, nothing changes with God.