Tag Archives: family

The lone writer

I’m blessed to have the support of family and friends as I travel on my writer’s journey. My wife is a source of great strength to me and my writing, even though she doesn’t read a word of it. LOL! Seriously! I write suspense and my dear wife doesn’t like to get scared to death. But she goes out of her way to cheer for me and let me know that she supports me as a writer. She, and the kids, share the ups and downs with me. They sacrifice time and money for me to be a writer.

But there are some writers who trudge through the ups and downs of writing without the strength and support from those closest to them. And that breaks my heart.

The solitude and monotony of writing can be hard enough without a writer feeling that their work is not respected and their passion is not shared by the people they love. The lows are lower alone.

This simple post is my attempt to get you to do two things:

  1. Make a list of the people who support & encourage you as a writer. And, starting today, take a few moments and send a note of thanks to one person a day until you have written them all.
  2. Be an encouragement to other writers, especially those who have confided to you that they feel alone and discouraged. Listen to what other writers say, because sooner or later a broken heart will reveal itself. Pray for them. Help them. Become their cheering section, even if it means you’re the only one sitting there at the moment.

If you are one of those who feels alone, please remember that God loves you and will never forsake you. And if I can do anything to help you, please let me know.

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Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, family, Larry W. Timm, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

Endearing Characters

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Endearing Characters

The sweet, eighty-seven-year-old woman held my children’s hands and said, “You are so beautiful and so precious. Thank you for coming to see me.”

Kneeling by her wheelchair, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to cry…I’m not going to cry…” My wife did get a tad misty-eyed. I’m getting that way as I write these words. I’ll probably always get that way when I view the photos that someone took of our experience.

Then the dear lady–a national treasure in my book–shook our hands, called us all by name and wished us many blessings. She even signed some pictures for us.

It’s a day I will never forget. My family and I traveled from our home in Kansas to a small city in North Carolina. The city is Mt. Airy, but it’s probably better known as Mayberry. And the precious lady was Betty Lynn…better known as Thelma Lou. And that day at the Andy Griffith Museum was wonderful.

My children live in Kansas but have been raised in Mayberry/Mt. Airy. We intentionally don’t have cable or satellite television, but we do have several DVDs we love to watch, and the favorite is The Andy Griffith Show. The lessons discovered on that series are timeless. As are the endearing characters–like Thelma Lou.

Writers, I’m more convinced than ever that we can change people’s lives, not just by the plots we construct, but also by the characters we create. I want my readers to care for my characters to the point that they say, “I wish that character was real. I’d love to spend time with him/her!”

Recently a lady who read one of my unpublished books sent me an email in which she said, “All the characters are true to life and worth remembering. That sentence meant so much to me.

What characters have you found worth remembering? What characters have left you wishing they were real and could sit and talk with you? Writer, do you long to create characters that will last forever?

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Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, family, Larry W. Timm, 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

Let’s Create A New Holiday

As a minister–one of those clergy type people–I’m always blessed and humbled when October rolls around and my dear congregation at Gracepoint shows an extra measure of appreciation for our ministry together. I didn’t create “Clergy Appreciation Month” and, to be honest, I’m not really sure it’s necessary, but the kind words do affirm and encourage me.

But I’m urging you to join me in calling for a new holiday: a holiday that honors those who support our journey as Christian fiction writers. And don’t say, “Well, we already have Thanksgiving.” (Insert game show buzzer here). I’m not talking about sticking this on the backside of a holiday that already exists. No siree, Bob (or whatever your name is). I think we need to give birth to a brand spankin’ new celebration–maybe even one that lasts a week or an entire month.

The point of this purposeful observance would be to honor those dear people who faithfully, optimistically, and sacrificially support us as writers. People like our spouses, children, extended family, friends, local ACFW chapter members, agents, editors, critique partners….you get the point. (Although I may not include my eleven-year-old daughter, Jayne, who just shot a nerf dart at me while I was typing this post, and scared about 36 months off of my writing career…okay, I’ll forgive her. By the way, she’s a pretty good writer herself.)

Now, as I hunker in my bunker, hoping to escape more incoming nerf projectiles, let me return to the proposal.

I propose that all members of the family known as Christian Writers begin the discussion of creating a special observance during which we honor those who support us in the stewardship of story that God has entrusted to us.

I’m serious about this. I especially call on my fellow members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) to begin considering this proposal. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Share this post everywhere you can.
  2. Make this an agenda item at your next ACFW chapter meeting.
  3. Mention the idea–in your own words–on every social media site you have a presence on.
  4. Discuss it on the ACFW loop.
  5. Begin a contest to see what we could call this time of special observance (Thanksgiving Day is already taken).
  6. Offer suggestions on when to have this special time. Should it be a “universal time” that we all observe in the same month, or can we go State by State?

And let’s not forget to pray. I really believe that God can use this to encourage our encouragers.

I can’t wait to hear your comments! Will YOU help spread the word?

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

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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Filed under family, Uncategorized, Writing