I wonder how you discovered International Christian Fiction Writers and how those of you who blog here came to do so. In March 2010, I wrote a guest blog for ICFW, at the invitation of Mary Hawkins, another Australian Christian author. A few months later, I was invited to take a regular turn at blogging here—and have now contributed around forty posts in all. In that time too, I have enjoyed reading ICFW blogs from so many of you, scattered far and wide across the globe, and have been encouraged, enlightened and challenged by the thoughts you have shared.
During these years, I have also kept up my own weekly blog, which I began in mid-2009, and have now written well over three hundred of these. As well, I blog for two writers’ groups here in Australia—Australasian Christian Writers and Christian Writers Downunder.
I have often asked myself if all this blogging is a good use of my time. If I added together the number of words contained in those many blogs I have written since 2009, I would end up with well over two hundred thousand—about the equivalent of two of my full-length novels! Would my time have been better spent writing another novel or memoir?
I made the decision to stick to my blogging commitments for various reasons. As far as my own personal blog is concerned, I believe it is a good discipline for a wordy writer like me to have to express myself more succinctly in around five hundred words each week. This regular blogging has also helped me process the things God continues to show me through reading Scripture and in other ways, including life’s daily events. And, judging by comments I have received, what I have shared each week has at times helped others along the way—which leaves me feeling both humble and grateful. As well, my regular blog is a great place to share the joy of exciting life events, such as a book release or the birth of a new grandchild, especially when we can link these blogs to Facebook so easily.
As far as the three group blogs I am part of are concerned, I love encouraging other authors and sharing the ups and downs of our writing journeys, as well as giving readers an insight into how an author goes about creating his or her work. We enrich one another’s lives in this way—and this is especially true with our ICFW blog, where we can catch a glimpse of those different cultures we are part of and cheer one another on from the other side of the world.
Yet, despite feeling so positive about blogging and about ICFW in particular, I feel now is the right time for me cut back a little and withdraw from being a regular contributor here at least. I am grateful for the lovely overseas ‘cyber friends’ I have made through ICFW—thank you for being part of my writing journey for so long. I encourage you all to keep writing, in whatever way God calls and has gifted you, as I intend to do. And may you experience much joy and peace in the process for many years to come.
Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney, Australia. 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 one non-fiction work, Soul Friend: the story of a shared spiritual journey. 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.