Tag Archives: Larry Timm

Those Special Moments of Ministry

Dear God,

Thank you for allowing me to be your child.

Thank you that there is now no condemnation for me, because I am in Christ.

Thank you that you for allowing me to gather with others and teach your Word, for entrusting me with the soul-stirring honor of preaching the liberating truth that can lead others to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And, thank you, for the power of story, and for the privilege of being a writer.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Friends, it is impossible for me to adequately describe the awe I feel when I stand to preach the Word of God. It is one of those “moments” that stands out as unique in my human existence. It embraces my mind, strength, and soul…leaving me exhausted but fulfilled.

Sometimes, during those moments right before I’m going to stand up and begin preaching, I’m so focused on how I intend to start the message that I simply don’t know much else. One time, a lady had called all the children to the front of the sanctuary for a little children’s lesson. That usually happened at some point in the order of service before the sermon. Well, while she was talking to the kids, my mind wandered to the opening few sentences I wanted to use to start my message when she was done. In other words, I zoned out of what she was saying and zoned in on the introduction to the message I’d prepared and would momentarily be preaching.

Then I heard her say, “And now, kids, we’ll have Pastor Larry lead us in the Lord’s Prayer.”

Folks, my mind went completely blank. Trust me, I reallydo know the Lord’s Prayer. I can usually say it in a couple different versions. But not at that moment. I couldn’t remember how it started to save my life! I mean, for Pete’s sake, that wasn’t what I was going to be preaching!

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was rummaging through my mind in a panicked rush and all I was coming up with were things like, “Eeny, Meni, Miny, Mo” or “Who built the Ark? Noah, Noah,” or “Would you like fries with that?” And, until that moment, I hadn’t noticed how incredibly warm it was in the church! I mean, come on people, let’s crack open a few windows!”

I mean the words to the Lord’s Prayer may be printed in red in most people’s Bibles, but they were written with invisible ink in my mind that day.

Finally some dear merciful saint started the Lord’s Prayer and I was able to join in.

Yep, I can get zoned in and lose track of other things going on around me. I can do it when I’m teaching, preaching, and even when I’m writing. The moment of communication (spoken or written) grabs my attention and I’m captivated by the power of words…the stewardship of story.

And more than anything, I desperately want it to matter. I want people to hear what I have to say and read what I have to write because it can help them on the path to or with God. I believe that with all my heart.

Fellow communicators, what you are doing matters. So do it with all your might. Give of your best to the Master!

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Top 10 Unfortunate Responses to a Book Proposal

I just submitted my first book proposal. Now I’m worried how it’s going to be received. And that led me to today’s Top 10 list. Here’s what my weary and worried mind came up with:

Top 10 Unfortunate Responses to a Book Proposal:

# 10:  “ROFLOL! By the way, when will you sending the real proposal?”

#  9:  “Thanks for letting me read your book proposal. I haven’t slept this good in a long time!”

#  8:  “Were you drunk when you wrote this?”

#  7:  “Dear Mr. Timm, you can’t list Jim Rubart as an endorser of your book just because he said ‘Hello’ to you at a conference. And Nancy Mehl said the restraining order is not just a joke. Additionally, you can’t say that Chevy Chase is co-author simply because you sort of look like him.”

#  6:  “Your proposal was greatly appreciated. Our parrot, Mr. Snarky, has diarrhea, and we are out of newspaper.

#  5:  “Having read your book proposal, I’ve believe the best way to fix the problems within the pages is to hold the entire proposal by the upper left hand corner, and then set the bottom right hand corner on fire.

#  4:  “After reading your proposal, the editors of four publishing houses have met and unanimously agreed that you’re insane. Have a nice day.”

#  3:  “Please be informed that our legal department has carefully studied the marketing plan you submitted with your proposal–along with the photographs and drawings you unfortunately  provided–and we have determined that all of your ideas are either illegal, physically impossible, or would require surgery to undo.”

#  2:  “Dear Larry, while it’s true that Dr. Seuss wrote some really suspenseful stories, and although we agree that some might think of The Grinch that Stole Christmas as a real spine-tingler, you need to send us more recent comparable titles right away.”

#  1:  “I’m sorry to report that a swarm of dung beetles has rolled your book proposal away. Better luck next time.”

 

Okay, friends…if I get any of these responses I’ll let you know. Have a nice day.

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Top 10 Save-the-ACFW-Journal fundraiser Ideas

Several months ago I shared this list on the ACFW email loop, but never put it on my blog. Sooooo, in light of the announcement from ACFW’s Executive Board about discontinuing the Journal due to cost concerns, I’ve decided to post the list here. Many ACFW members have enjoyed reading the Journal, and I still consider having an article in the premier issue a highpoint in my writing life. But the only way to save the Journal is for money to be raised to keep it in publication. Therefore I humbly submit:

The Top 10 Save-the-ACFW-Journal fundraiser ideas:

# 10:  Request a grant from the Federal Government…they seem to have unlimited amounts of “free” money to give away.

#  9:  Create a “Mug-of-the-Month” Club where ACFW members sell their unwashed coffee mugs to each other, with the proceeds going to the Journal.

# 8:  Sell a CD of the ACFW Executive Board singing their favorite show tunes.

# 7:  A telethon featuring ACFW authors acting out scenes from one of their books, while viewers call in and pay them to stop it.

# 6:  An online auction of the “dancing elephant” from the conference in St. Louis a few years ago.

# 5:  Open a museum of “floating body parts” and charge admission. (However, it shouldn’t cost an arm and an leg….bwahahaha…uh hmmm…I digress)

# 4:  Instead of the traditional pitching sessions that happen at every conference, make each writer pay an entry fee to stand on stage and read their manuscript out loud in front of a panel of agents, editors, and cranky reviewers. Panel members get to scream, “Rejection!” and shoot red paint balls at the writer when they spot a problem in the manuscript. The writer that survives the longest gets a contract and also wins one of the mugs mentioned in #9.

# 3:  Have me, Michael Ehret, and Peter Leavell do a benefit opera. We’ll call ourselves the Track-Change Tenors and dress in red tuxedos, complete with red cowboy hats and red cowboy boots. Undoubtedly Michael will demand that red bow ties be optional.

# 2:  A pay-per-view Mixed Martial Arts octagon challenge between writers and the agents or editors who have rejected them in the past (complete with tights and stage names)

# 1:  As much as this one gives me the dry heaves, I recognize that it may work since the majority of ACFW’s membership is female…How about selling a Men of ACFW Kilt Calendar?

I hope this helps. And I pray that #1 will never be necessary.

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Multiple Choice Test: Are YOU ready for conference?

Are you going to conference in a few weeks? Are you nervous, wondering if you’re really ready to face what awaits you? Well, fear not, my fellow writer…I’m here to help 🙂 . Below is a multiple choice test to see if you really are ready to sit down in front of an agent or editor and–with a straight face–say, “Yes. I’m a writer.” They just may ask to see your score from this test…or maybe not. But take it any way.

1.  ACFW stands for:

A. Always Crafty Fickle Wordsmiths

B.  Antsy Creative Friendly Weirdos

C. American Christian Fiction Writers

 

2.   If facing a sagging middle, a writer should:

A.  Slip into a girdle.

B.  Think about someone fatter.

C.  Revise, Cut, Polish

 

3.  What’s the best way to view a prospective agent?

A.  With binoculars

B.  From under the partition in the bathroom stall.

C.  As a respected professional.

 

4.  When told you have a POV problem, be sure to:

A. Cover your entire body in antibiotic cream and ask someone to scratch the places you can’t reach.

B.  Cover your face and yell, “Unclean! Unclean!” whenever someone approaches.

C.  Seek help from a critique partner or an editor.

 

5.  What is Writer’s Block?

A.  A neighborhood where only Authors live.

B.  The place writers go to get their taxes done.

C.  A frustrating time of little or no progress.

 

6.  What is genre?

A. A brother to Barbra. (Sound it out and think about it)

B.  A snooty Frenchman.

C.  A category of literature characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.

 

7.  What is a metaphor?

A.  For cows to graze in.

B.  Half of a meta-eight.

C.  A figure of speech containing an implied comparison.

 

8.  When addressing an editor, you should begin by saying:

A.  “What’s shakin’, Oh mighty Gatekeeper?”

B.  “I hope you brought your stretchy pants, ’cause you’re gonna feast on my manuscript tonight!”

C.  “Thank you for your time.”

 

9.  Self-publishing is:

A.  The photocopies you made of your hand, face, and whatever else before you were thrown out of Kinkos.

B.  The short story your wrote on your belly with a permanent marker.

C.  A growing trend in Fiction.

 

10. The most exciting thing about this year’s conference is:

A. That creepy Larry W. Timm won’t be there.

B.  The opportunity to see if you can break your indoor dessert eating record at the banquet.

C.  Seeing old friends and making new ones.

 

If you answered all the questions with “C”, you are ready. If, however, you chose anything else, you are sick and should wait a year before going to conference. Okay, that’s harsh, but don’t come crying to me if someone asks you one of these important questions and you get it wrong. I tried to prepare you. 🙂

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When Jesus prayed for me & my readers

It happened one evening in an upper room in the city of Jerusalem…more than 2000 years ago. The disciples gathered with Jesus, and what transpired is known by theologians as “the upper room discourse.” The Apostle John used five chapters to cover a few hours of time. In chapter 17, we are allowed the soul-stirring honor of listening as Jesus prayed. He prayed for Himself, for the men gathered with Him, and then–in one of the most amazing moments in all the scriptures–Jesus prayed for us!

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone [the disciples in the room with Him], but for those also who believe in Me through their word;” (John 17:20)

Jesus prayed for believers who would become part of “the Church” that didn’t even yet exist! He prayed for those who would accept the word of the apostles. That word would be both spoken–via preaching and teaching–and written–by being recorded and thus preserved in the New Testament.

That’s you and me, folks! Jesus prayed for us. He prayed for those of us who would choose to believe in Him because of the timeless message of the apostles. They spoke the word about the Word. And centuries later, you and I–if we are in Christ–are beneficiaries of that message.

We have believed because of their word.

As a writer of Christian fiction, I certainly don’t live under the illusion that my words are inspired scripture. That would be heresy. But I do try to find creative ways to deliver the message that was handed down in the scripture: that Jesus Christ came into the world to seek and save sinners. And I pray for those who will read the words I write, and hope that they will find hope in Jesus Christ.

Because Jesus has already prayed for them too.

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Poem of a really bad pitch

Somewhere a writer is preparing to pitch to an editor. They want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t sure how to make themselves different. The following poem is an example of how NOT to pitch. It is part poem, part song, and all one big mistake. 🙂

I stared back at the editor

and flashed a nervous grin,

and thought about her question

and how I should begin.

“What’s the book about? you ask?”

She nodded so polite.

“It’s about 400 pages,” I said,

“I counted them just last night.”

“There’s lots of words and pictures

and so the story you will know…”

I opened up my leather case

and pulled out my banjo.

“I wanted to be different,” I said.

“And, my pitch, it won’t take long.

You’ll find all of your answers

in the words to this here song….

[I played the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies and sang…]

Come and listen to the story of my bestseller

about a lady teacher and a wine-maker,

who met one day while walking on the vineyard path;

and this is a story I call The Grapes Of Math.

Love it was, purple love, bubbly love.

The next thing ya know the trouble did begin,

her kinfolk said, “Ellie, why did you pick him?”

Angrily she answered, “I don’t care what you say.

I derned proud to be Ellie Chardonnay!”

A grape that is, smushed by feet, for the juice.

Well now it’s time to say good-by to Ellie and Merlot

(that’s the winemaker’s name, I guess you ought to know);

they had a son, as the story will tell…..

and after a toast, the named him Zinfendel.

A boy he was, with big feet, for stompin’ grapes.

Just Book One in a series…ya hear?

[I put my banjo down, then winked at the editor]

She shook her head, her forehead creased;

she swallowed hard, then blinked.

“You might be sick or just insane.

I don’t know what to think!”

I handed her my one sheet,

grabbed my banjo and my straw hat

and said, “You will be sorry

that you rejected The Grapes Of Math!”

I came to a conclusion

as I stood and walked away:

Literature just isn’t ready

for Merlot Chardonnay!

 

I hope your pitching goes better. Could it get any worse?

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Please observe the rules…guidelines…suggestions

Sometime ago, during my years as a funeral director, I was at a church preparing for a funeral. I was passing through their fellowship hall and a sign on the wall caught my attention. It read, “Please observe Parish Hall rules: NO tape on walls!”

I’ll give you one guess how the sign was attached to the wall. Yep…tape.

I have a great respect for the craft of writing, and especially for those who have earned the right to make observations about what works and what doesn’t. I am learning–weekly it seems–that there is so much I don’t know and need to learn. Since I’m an expert at nothing, I am trying to be open-minded and devoted to doing what is necessary to improve my writing skills and my story-telling ability. So I seek advice, search out critiques of my work, and try to get to know those who are recognized as accomplished writers. I work hard and long to see what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong.

And I try to follow the rules…if I can figure them out. But isn’t okay to just admit that there aren’t really that many hard-and-fast rules in traditional-style publishing anymore? Sometimes, what is a rule for one writer just doesn’t apply to another. These custom-fit guidelines are important, to be sure, but sometimes new writers are confused because they are told not to do something that others are doing. They’re told, “it won’t work” or “so-and-so won’t publish it like this.” Then you find out, however, that another publisher will.

What’s a new writer to do?

First, understand that there’s a difference between a rule and a commandment. A rule is a solid guideline that describes the way something is expected to be done at the current time. A commandment is forever (God has never amended or revised His Ten Commandments.) Rules are sometimes proactive and sometimes reactive. They are useful for structure. Rules change when it’s demonstrated that “it can be done another way.”

Humility and respect are the keys, in my opinion. The simple fact is, as an unpublished and unknown writer, I haven’t earned the right to toss the “rules” aside. I don’t have the same unspoken permission the bend/break the rules because I haven’t sold any books yet…I don’t have a track record of making anyone any money. I can pout, whine, complain, and get all snarky, but what good does that do? Or I could just say, “Well, if I can’t do it the way I want to, I’ll just quit writing.” Yeah, that’ll show them. NOT!

So I try to learn what is expected, while also attempting to develop my own unique writer’s voice.

How do YOU handle this wrestling match with your own unique personality & style and the rules that are parts of the writing craft?

NOTE:  I invite you to “Like” my Author Page at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm  If you already have, please know that I appreciate it very much.

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It’s God

It’s God who does the choosing of how He sees fit using and blessing us with riches of His grace.

And it’s God who sets in motion every dream, and thought, and notion, and answers us when we kneel to pray.

And it’s God who makes a winner from a helpless, hopeless sinner, and shows us how to better run the race.

And it’s God who knows the hour when He’ll show His mighty power, and all mankind will look upon His face.

 

Friend, you are not alone on the journey of following Christ. And, if you’re a steward of story, you are not alone I that special calling. You may be a published writer, or someone–like me–who dreams of that experience. But if you know God, you’ve already had the greatest blessing possible:  you are a child of the King! And, don’t forget, our God is a writer…He wrote your name in the Lamb’s Book Of Life.

Write on, my friend. You’ll never write alone when God is your Heavenly Father. Have a great weekend.

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Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention

The writing journey is hard on writers. Can I get an “AMEN!”? Pressure…hard work…did I mention pressure?

But being married to a writer can also be stressful. With that in mind, I present to you the Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention:

 

#10:  They’re making prank phone calls just so they can have someone real to talk to. And if the person is normal, that’s a bonus.

# 9:  They come to a book signing just so they can have some face-to-face time with their writer spouse. And they keep getting in line because they’ve “got a lot on their mind.”

# 8:  They walk around the house naked just to see if their spouse will notice.

# 7:  They get in trouble with the IRS because they tried to claim the characters of their spouse’s current writing project as dependents since “they’re sooooooooo important!”

# 6:  They picket their spouse’s writers group meeting and chant, “Watch more TV! Watch more TV!”

# 5:  They call the county courthouse and offer to “Track Change” their marriage license.

# 4:  They have a shirt made that says, I got your inciting incident right here!

# 3:  They refer to their children as “precious consequences of writer’s block.”

# 2:  After planning the family vacation, they dance around the house and giggle profusely because they managed to find a spot in the desert that is hundreds of miles from a Barnes & Noble or a Starbucks.

# 1:  They call 9-1-1 and claim that an unfinished manuscript is holding their spouse hostage, and add, “the office is in the apartment above the garage…bring tear gas and those things that flash and go BOOM!

How about we just be sure to take care of the wonderful spouses that support us, so we avoid any of the above?

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Kickin’ some “Buts”

Excuses abound. Every writer has them. They’re the “but” that finds its way into our day and brings a writing project to a halt…or stops it from ever taking its first step.

“I want to write a novel, BUT ________________________________.”

“I would finish this project, BUT _________________________________.”

“I know I should learn the craft better, BUT ___________________________.”

“I know what my critique partner said, BUT __________________________.”

“Maybe I should be more disciplined, BUT _____________________________.”

“It would be nice to attend a conference or writers group, BUT ____________________.”

“I’d enter my writing in a contest, or ask someone to read it, BUT __________________.”

BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…………………

All together now, let’s get jiggy with it and scream, “I HATE THESE BUTS AND I CAN NOT LIE….” (that concludes the rap reference part of this post)

There are many other examples of when a “but” intrudes on our writing life. And there countless ways to fill in the blanks. I’m willing to bet that you are like me (no insult intended) and could fill in the blanks above with more than one reason/excuse/cop-out. Before you slap a knot on my head, let me hasten to add that undoubtedly there are legitimate reasons that we are unable to start or continue a project, or enter a contest, or go to conference or whatever the case may be. However, honesty and maturity will force us to face the fact that often–quite often–we are simply making excuses.

I urge you to sit down and have an honest chat with yourself and your muse and say, “It’s time to do some “BUT” kicking!

Are YOU up to the challenge?

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