Tag Archives: conference

Top 10 Reasons People might be glad I’m not going to the ACFW Conference this Year.

The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference is less than a week away. People are packing bags, picking wardrobes, pressing kilts, and preparing one sheets. But not me. Sniff…sniff. This year I will not be attending. And that got me to thinking (ouch!).

Here are 10 reasons people might be glad that they won’t see Larry W. Timm in Indy.

# 10:  No one has to watch the pathetic display where I stand in a corner and try to work up the courage to walk up and talk to one of my favorite authors.

#  9:  There will be a few less dumb questions asked in the workshops.

#  8:  None of those awkward, “I’ve got one ear lower than the other…what’s deformed about you?” conversation starters.

#  7:  Michael Ehret or Peter Leavell won’t have to introduce me with the phrase, “I’m sorry for doing this, but have you met Larry Timm?”

#  6:  No one will have to witness me get on…off…on…off…on…off the elevator until I remember which floor my room is on.

#  5:  The local pizza delivery people won’t have to “stand by for emergency delivery to the crazy guy who claims the voices in his head are hungry.”

#  4:  No murmured questions about the misuse of plaid.

#  3:  There’s much less of a chance of hearing, “Hey, look what I can do with this pudding!”

#  2:  No one has to see my Salute-to-Spandex outfit at the costume dinner.

And the #1 reason people might be glad I’m not going to the ACFW Conference:

#  1: More BACON for everyone!

Hey, have fun everybody. I hope you have a great time.

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Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Top 10 List, Top Ten list, Writing

Invest & Invite

When you invest in your dream, you invite success to come your way.

This is why I’m spending money to drive 1000 miles and attend the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. It’s why I’m willing to separated from my family for a short period of time. It’s why I allowed myself and my writing to be vulnerable by entering a couple of contests. It’s why I’m going to risk making a fool out of myself and pitch my work to agents and editors. It’s why I’m going to cram my days with workshops, classes, and face-to-face time with other writers who are skilled in the craft and business of writing.

Are any of these things guarantees that I will find an agent or a publishing contract this week? No. But by investing in my dream of being a published novelist, I am giving myself opportunities to succeed. The fact is, these writers, agents, and editors aren’t going to show up on my doorstep. I have to invest in my work before I can expect them to do the same.

And as I pack my van, load up the cooler with snacks and Dr. Pepper, stuff my luggage with sample chapters and one-sheets, and plug-in the borrowed GPS, I realize how blessed I am to have a wife and children who support my dream. They cheer me on as I chase this calling–this stewardship of story–and whatever success comes my way, I know it is theirs as much as it is mine.

Writer, invest in your dream, and invite success to come your way also.

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, Writing

The Fog

Some call it “being in a funk”, but the more I’ve thought about it, I think it feels more like driving in a fog. I’m still doing things as a writer, but as I bang out the words to this post I simply can’t see very far down the road. I stare ahead, trying to stay alert so I don’t miss anything. This is how I feel right now as I’m pushing ahead on my writing journey. I’m in a fog.

I’m still brainstorming some ideas for my next book, and I’m trying to get up the emotional energy to send out proposals on my last one. In fact, my last book is one that I am very excited about…if I can just get it in the hands of readers. And while I enjoyed the many blessings of the writer’s convention I attended in September, a discouraging fog has settled in around me.

No…I’m not ready to quit. I am just being real with you: if you want to be a writer, expect to have to fight your way through the fog every so often. The way you deal with the fog may be different than how another writers tackles it. Some drink enormous amounts of coffee (I’ll leave the drink of choice as coffee since I’m talking about Christian Fiction), others go on retreats and attempt to ignite their creativity, some master solitaire, and others go shopping. And some of us blog. Whatever works.

There are many things I don’t know about this fog–like how long it will last–but there are a few things that I DO know:

  • God is bigger than the fog & that will never change.
  • I’m his child, so He never loses sight of me…not even in the thickest fog.
  • I’m blessed to have a wife and family that believes in me unconditionally.
  • I’m still moving forward…even if I can’t see very far down the road.

Have you ever been in the fog as a writer? How did you handle it? What did you learn?

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, family, Writing

What is “Success”?

As I sit here in a hotel room and type this post, there’s a realization tugging at me: I need to be clear on how I define “success”. To apply this to the writer’s conference that I’m currently attending (the American Christian Fiction Writers conference), I’m praying that I stay focused on how blessed I am to be here.

I do have several concrete goals I’d love to achieve while here, but sometimes writers can be “all or nothing” people. We come to conference with a list of goals/dreams, and the temptation is to walk away feeling discouraged because we weren’t able to check them all of our list. The tragedy in that mentality is that we’ve set ourselves up for failure since achieving all of our goals with crisp perfection is impossible. So when (not “if”) the first disappointment comes, the rest of the conference is endured and not enjoyed.

The other mistake is to have a prioritized list of goals, where the goals lower down the list are dependent on the ones at the top of the list. When this happens, we are unable or unwilling to fully embrace the lower goals with a mindset of gratitude. We don’t thank God for them because they’re not “the real” big goals–the ones that really count.

I think Christian writers have the ability–because of the Spirit that’s within us–to be able to see the whole picture. It’s simply a matter of whether or not we use that ability. Such an attitude of gratitude won’t happen accidentally. It must be intentionally nurtured every day.

The fact is:  just being here at the conference is an achievement for which to be thankful. Here are some other signs that the conference is a success:

  • You’re able to reconnect with old friends
  • New friends become a part of your life
  • You realize that we have great food and plenty of it (much of the world would love to trade places with us).
  • You were used by God to encourage another person
  • You listened when God said “no”, even though it wasn’t on your list
  • You learned something that will make you a better person, and a better writer
  • You met writers you admire

These are just a few. Notice that “getting a contract” or “getting an agent” isn’t in the above list. Do I want those things? ABSOLUTELY! But even if they don’t happen while I’m here, this conference has already been a success.

How do you define success as a writer? As a person?

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Intimidation

Intimidation:  Writers face it all the time. Whether it’s a blinking cursor on a blank computer screen, a snarky remark in a critique, red ink from an editor, rejections…lions, and tigers, and bears…oh my!

We can be shaken by these types of things. But I’m learning that it’s not the presence of the intimidation that is key, it’s the way I choose to respond to it that matters. For the most part, I can’t do anything about the presence of intimidation. But I can control how it impacts my psyche. Criticism or critiques can be a sharpening stone that turns a dull knife blade into a sharp tool, or–if used improperly–it can nick and ruin the blade. Red ink can scream, “What makes you think you’re a writer? You can’t do this!” or it can say, “Try harder…you CAN do better. I believe in you!”

I’m in the process of getting sample chapters and a pitch ready for the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. And at meetings with agents and editors, I’ll be trying to keep from letting intimidation choke me while I tell them about my book. That’s if I even make it to the hotel at DFW. (I’ve heard that traffic and road construction are a snarled mess. I may spend the entire week circling Dallas trying to find my way into the airport complex where the hotel is located….opps, there goes intimidation again).

As a writer, what things intimidate you? How do you handle them?

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Support System

     Many of the blessings that have come my way as a writer can be directly credited to other people. In fact the last year and a half have been full of growing experiences because of my association with American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the resources they provide.

    • The local chapter (South-Central Kansas chapter meeting in Wichita, KS) has provided monthly fellowship opportunities with other writers. These dear people have become friends, sharing a common bond with me.
    • The national ACFW conference which provided friendships that have blessed me over the last year. This year’s conference is only a few weeks away, and if I get any more excited I’ll be bouncing off the walls. Being with other writers who sacrifice time to teach me how to be a better wordsmith is priceless. There truly is a spirit of servanthood among the members of ACFW. They celebrate each other’s successes, and offer a listening ear when someone is struggling. The craft is highly respected, but people are too. It was at last year’s conference that I made friendships that have been so important to me. I can’t wait to see these people again this year!
    • THE JOURNAL, ACFW’s new print magazine is another great resource that offers advice and information about the craft and business of writing Christian fiction. I was honored to have written an article for the premier issue.
    • THE LOOP of emails that goes out every day of the year provides an opportunity to engage in conversations, ask questions, seek advice, or just “listen in” as others do all of those things.

          The above resources mean a great deal to me. However, as wonderful as they are, they take a back seat to the real heroes that provide my most important support system: my wife and kids. They deserve the credit for anything good I write, because they sacrifice so much so I can write. Since I’m a full-time minister (which I love–thanks Gracepoint!), that means I don’t write full-time. I have to carve out time to write in the mornings and evenings. My family sacrifices time with me, allowing me to hunker in my bunker and bang away at the keyboard…or just stare at the screen and mumble whatever yiddish words come to mind (& I’m not even Jewish!). My family takes money from our family budget so I can go to conference & chapter meetings (we live an hour away from Wichita), buy books, get a laptop, etc…, all of which means that they give up something so I can write. They believe in me when I doubt myself. They deserve better than I give them.

     Who are the people who have made your writing journey possible? Have you thanked them yet?

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