Tag Archives: Writer

“Am I Really An Author?”

I had a pretty cool experience a few weeks ago. I still smile when I think about it. I was talking with a new friend when his wife walked up. He said, “Honey, do you know Larry Timm?”

She looked at me and smiled. “Oh, you’re an author, aren’t you?”

I was floored, and momentarily speechless (which is surprising to some people). An Author! A split second later, grinning like a gassy infant, I managed to say, “Well…um…I…I…that is…yeah, I’m a writer. I haven’t been published yet, though.” Then I giggled.

What a dork.

I’ll bet she walked away absolutely impressed with my command of the English language. But I still think about that moment with fondness (except for the grin and giggle). I’d never been called an author before. In public even! She seemed very positive about the entire idea. Like it was a compliment or something.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole thing is pretty cool. I liked hearing someone say the word. But can I claim to be an author before I’m actually published? I’m a writer, and I’m working hard to become a published author, but I haven’t experienced that honor yet.

What would have happened if I’d said, “Yes. I. Am. An. Author.”? Out loud. In public.

Many scenarios run through my over-active imagination: Like the police pulling me over later and saying, “Mr. Timm, you’re under arrest for impersonating an author.” And then they taser me just for the fun of it. Then I imagine being shaken awake and looking up into the eyes of my perturbed mother. She kicks dirty laundry into the only uncluttered corner of my boyhood room and says, “Wake up, son. You must have been having a wild dream. You were giggling like a nut, and mumbling author…author…author…shhhhh, they’ll hear you.” Then she hands me a paper towel. “Wipe that drool off your cheek, for Pete’s sake. By the way, I put the zit cream on your dresser. Get up and get dressed for school. And what’s that smell?” Or I see myself stretched out on a couch. Next to the couch, a stuffy looking lady with glasses is sitting in a padded office chair and looking down her upturned nose at me. There’s a diploma on her wall that says, “Dr. Ugotta B. Kiddinme, Doctor of Mental Stuff.” She slides her glasses off and taps her pen on the thick file perched on her lap. “Now, Laurence, we’ve been through this before–many sessions ago–you’re not really an author. Do we need to increase your meds?” Or I picture sitting rigid at a table, wires taped to my hand, chest, and head. A guy leans over a machine and stares at the lines being drawn on a paper. “Yes or No…are you an author?” I’m sweating under the overly large light bulb dangling above my head. “Yes or No, Mr. Timm? And, by the way, we’ll know if you’re lying…and man are you going to be sorry if you are.”

Soooooo, I’m needing some guidance here. I’d appreciate your comments.

Is there a difference between a WRITER and an AUTHOR?

What do you think about that question? I know that all authors are writers, but are all writers authors? And how did it feel the first time YOU were called an author?

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Filed under Christian Fiction, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

“Top 10 Worst ways to start an Elevator Pitch.”

The moment has finally arrived. You and the agent or editor of your dreams are alone in an elevator. Here are the top 10 worst ways to start the dreaded elevator pitch:

10:  By blinking uncontrollably and proclaiming, “I’ve only got a few seconds before my medication wears off. Listen carefully!”

9:  By snickering and saying, “Bad hair day, huh?”

8:  By yawning, then saying, “Eight hours…that’s how long I’ve waited on this elevator just to get the privilege of talking to yoooou.”

7:  By running up the elevator as the door is closing, sticking your face in and with wild-eyed enthusiasm yelling, “heeeeeer’s Johnny!”

6:  By foaming at the mouth.

5:  By removing your shirt and saying, “I’ll prove I was born to be a writer…look at my birthmark. Doesn’t it look like Edgar Allan Poe?”

4:  After throwing up on their shoes, you say, “I feel like we’re bonding. Let’s talk about my story.”

3:  After failing miserably at your first attempt, and just as they are preparing to step out of the elevator, you jump in front of them, punch the button that closes the doors and tearfully wail, “Do over!”

2:  By grabbing their hand and praying, “Dear God–Who called me to be a writer and has promised to pour out scorching wrath upon any person who stands in my way of publication–please help this person to be open to Your gracious will.”

1:  By staring at them and mentioning that an agent tried to test you once, and then adding, “I ate their liver…with some Fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

Happy pitching!

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If A Fly Lost Its Wings…

If a fly lost its wings, would it be called a walk?

And if a writer isn’t busy writing, is he/she still a writer? Is being a writer based only on what a writer does? Or is there more to it?

The fact is a writer has to be able to wear many hats: author, editor, student, entrepreneur, marketer, salesperson, advertiser, ambassador, servant, Christian, and maybe spouse and/or parent. On top of that, many writers have day jobs!

So what makes a writer a writer?

In my humble opinion, I believe that if I’m engaged in any activity that furthers my competency or creativity as a writer, I am working as a writer. I may be banging away at the keyboard, reading another writer’s novel, studying a book on craft, attending a writers group, helping another writer, cleaning my desk, making the tough decision between milk or flavored coffee creamer, or doing an edit of my last chapter–just to name a few possibilities. Some of these activities may be more enjoyable than others, but they’re all part of the journey.

What do you think? What do you think determines if someone is a writer? What makes you feel like a writer?

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A Chapter of Blessing

Call it a fellowship gathering, a support group, or a monthly injection of writing adrenaline, and you’d be right on the mark. The American Christian Fiction Writers Chapter that I am blessed to be a part of is all those things and more. Quite frankly, now that I’ve been a part of the South Central Kansas ACFW Chapter that meets in Wichita, Kansas, I can’t imagine my life as a writer without this group.

Last Thursday we went around the table and each writer spoke about the writing project that they were working on. I was blown away by the passion that was expressed by my fellow writers. They spoke openly about the joys and struggles that they faced. And I understood what they meant.

And on my hour-long drive home, I praised God for the group, and for the fact that He has entrusted us with the stewardship of story. We encourage each other along the journey.

If you are part of a writers group, I’d love to hear from you. I’d be thrilled to hear what you like the most…and about how important being a part of a group is to you.

And if you are a writer of Christian Fiction, and are interested in belonging to a group, ACFW has chapters all across the country. I promise you will not regret the time you spend with other writers. It may just take your writing to a higher level. And just as importantly, it could make you–the writer–a more fulfilled person too.

Fellowship has a way of doing that.

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A One Volume Library

I keep a library on my desk. Sometimes I carry it with me. I’ve even been known to take the entire collection with me when visiting someone in the hospital. I have the same library at home too.

It’s handy and affordable.

The reason that I love this portable library is because it’s a gift from a dear friend. This collection of sixty-six books is more relevant than today’s newspaper. And I find out more about my friend, my world, and myself when I access this wonderful assortment of literal history, prophecy, poetry, and some of the greatest stories ever written.

My friend is a best-selling author. He knows a thing or two about communicating effectively…you know, the whole handwriting on the wall thing, just to name one. He understands the power and permanence of the written word.

My friend is God. The “library” of which I speak is the Bible.

Writer friend, understand that there is a unique influence that has been entrusted to us. No, I’m not suggesting that our words are on par to inspired scripture, but I am saying that God has entrusted us with a powerful tool. We have the honor of learning from God’s Word, and then teaching the great lessons in story form. Lets just make sure we’re staying in His Word while we’re trying to carry out this incredible task.

What are you reading in the Bible this week?

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A Preacher and A Funeral Director…

Okay, so the title to this post sounds like the beginning to a bad joke, but that’s not what I have in mind. For several years, however, I was both a preacher and a licensed funeral director in Kansas. It reminds me of the joke about the frustrated preacher who left his ministry to work for the local funeral parlor. Someone asked him why he quit preaching to become an undertaker. “When I straighten people out now, they stay straight,” he replied.

I’ll wait for the booing to simmer down before going on with the post…..there, let’s proceed.

You may not be tempted to leave your work as a writer to become a mortician, but perhaps frustration is boiling under the surface. Maybe you are being tempted to quit…to give up on the responsibility of being a steward of story.

Before you do, please do me this favor: take a minute to finish this sentence…”I love writing for God because______________________________________________________________________________________________________.

How has your answer changed since you felt the first spark of passion as a writer? What do you think caused the change? Is it too late to get the original spark back?

 

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Hello, I’m a Christian Writer.

I wonder…when I tell someone I’m a Christian Writer, is either of those descriptions hard for them to believe.

While being a writer may not be as obvious as being a Christian, both should be believable. The person I’m talking with shouldn’t have to stand there with a “no, seriously” grin. My relationship with Christ is what makes me a Christian, and my responsibility to Christ is what makes me a writer. I can prove I’m a writer by showing people my writing. I can show I’m a Christian by letting people see my life. But neither being a Christian, nor being a writer can only be something I talk about…I must “walk the walk.” There are lots of people who claim to be Christians and writers, but who aren’t willing to pay the price to live the life required by such claims. And there are plenty of people willing and able to critique both claims.

To be a Christian I must believe in and submissively follow Jesus Christ. To be a writer, I must write. There are no shortcuts or substitutions. And, in a sense, both following Christ and writing for Christ are daily. Am I that devoted to the cause? Are you?

 

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“Dear God, help me remember…”

     Holidays. Memorials. Observances. Anniversaries.

     All of these things exist to help us recall something. These important remembrances rekindle our allegiance, renew our awareness, and refresh our relationships. Old Testament believers built their lives around yearly activities that would remind them of God’s dealings in their lives. In the New Testament, Jesus gave us what we call “the Lord’s Supper” and told us to observe it in remembrance of Him. Even baptism causes us to recall the death, burial, and resurrection of our precious Lord. And Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter…please!!! Wow!

     The Writer’s Prayer that we are looking at is a way to keep a writer focused; to give our memories four windows through which we can view our incredible calling to write for God. We ask God to remind us of the Who, What, Where, and Why of the writer’s journey.

     The work of a writer can be hard, lonely, and often exhausting. We sometimes question our calling, and our value. But then God lets a drop of refreshment fall into our lives; gracious reminders of the things that cause us to love the task. And passion pumps through us again.

     And often times it’s not that we’re learning a new truth or experiencing an original eureka moment. Rather it’s that God is reminding us of a precious truth that has blessed our souls many times before, and, undoubtedly, will bless us many more times in the future. After all, God’s truths are timeless. It’s why we can read the Bible over and over and still find living blessings in familiar passages. It’s why ten writers can tell ten different sotires about the same topic.

     Writers want to tell exciting stories. We want to capture our reader’s attention, and hold it carefully. But are we doing that by revealing a new truth? Are we unveiling an idea that has never been seen before in the history of fiction? Probably not. And that’s okay. Our great task is to illustrate grand old truths in fresh ways. What an awesome calling and responsiblity it is to be a steward of story.

     Never forget how much God loves you. Never forget that He has entrusted you with something incredible. Never forget the reasons you wrote your first story, and the lessons you’ve learned since then. Never forget that someday we will see the One for Whom we write! Never forget that what we write REALLY does matter. And never forget that God will not call a person to write without also equipping them to do so.

   So as we move forward, and uncover the important truths in this Writer’s Prayer, let’s ask God to “help us remember.” I can’t wait until Monday!

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