Day 15 :: To write. [+ a giveaway!]

on October 15, 2011 in 31 Days of Courage, Giveaways with 56 comments by

This morning, about ten of us will gather at the Starbucks just down the street. I will get my soy chai and I will nervously massage the handle of the mug.

Because I’m nervous.

We are gathering, this little crew of 10ish folks, to talk about writing. It so happened that as I got to know the crowd at Crossroads Edinburgh, it ends up that many of the folks like to write. Or read. Or talk about writing. Or talk about reading.

So we scheduled today to get together and do just that- talk about writing and faith and where they meet and how they can intersect.

And, if time allows, I may read the first chapter of my next book.


It’s ridiculous for me to be nervous- and if I had any brains at all, I would take my copy of From Head To Foot and just read from that. It is already in enough hands on this earth to make it impossible for me to feel embarrassed about any of it. [Except the story on pages 61-62. I actually am still a little embarrassed about that.]

But reading from a book that is already published to people who already love me? That takes zero guts.

Exposing my writing to the world for the first time takes a lot of guts [for me, at least]. It could be really crappy. I’m not sure. And until another human reads it, I won’t know.

I bet a lot of authors feel this way. I know some that do. There’s a little circle of us at (in)courageΒ who write books. And we’ll send timid emails with tiny word documents attached saying things like, “be nice- you are the first eyes to see this.” Because it is scary to write and then let other people see it.

It is a piece of you, an inside look at the heart of the author; and the first time that heart spot is exposed, it makes the author recoil a bit. Each time gets a little easier, until books are on shelves and people email about that story on pages 61-62 and I can laugh it off.

Even last night, Donald Miller tweeted this:

“Every time I write a book, I have to remind myself that all I have to worry about now is the next paragraph.”

So even totes profesh authors have worries in the writing process. Huh. Makes me feel a bit better, I’ll have to say.

But I’m not the only one nervous at Starbucks today. First time writers will bring their poems, fiction pieces, and who-knows-what, and with fear at their backs, they will read to us.

I’ll probably tear up over the beautiful words and the brave hearts that wrote them. Because those writers will put their work, and their courage, on display.

To write is to quietly cultivate a garden to perfection and then give the world unlimited access, with their gentle petal-loving hands or their heavy flower smashing boots.

Even though this career requires that risk, I plan to work in the garden every day for the rest of my life.

And you are welcome. [Just don’t wear boots. Okay? Okay. πŸ™‚ ]

. . . . .

We have a super fun giveaway today – involving WORDS and COURAGE – and it is open until MONDAY MORNING!

Kathleen from Printable Scripture is offering today’s winner a $31 voucher to her store. I personally would go for this one. Obviously.

But if you win the $31 voucher, you can have whatever you want!!

And for the rest of us, you get 31% off your order until October 31! [See what she did there?] Wowsers, right? Just use the code ANNIEBLOGS2011 when you check out at Printable Scripture.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us your favorite author!

[You cannot say Annie Downs… seriously. Don’t. I’ll punch you right in the email address.]

You have until I wake up Monday morning [around 8am Scotland time, 3am EDT, 2am CDT, midnight PDT] to enter.

Happy Saturday… now, who is your favorite author? πŸ™‚


  1. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 5:29 AM  |  reply

    Right now, this very minute, it’s LM Montgomery. Tomorrow? Who knows!

  2. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 5:39 AM  |  reply

    Hmm…I have so many authors I like! Gerald Durrell is a long time favourite of mine as are JRR Tolkien and Lewis Carroll, LOL.

  3. ~VA~
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 6:37 AM  |  reply

    Is it cheating if I say God is my favorite author? Because I would not be who I am today without his book, the Bible…

  4. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 6:40 AM  |  reply

    my favorite author depends on the season of life i’m currently going through. so, through the seasons it has been shel silverstein, richard adams, jane austen, francine rivers, gary thomas, c.s. lewis

  5. Amy
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 6:43 AM  |  reply

    Currently, my favorite author is Ann Voskamp. I have gained so much from her book, and continue to be encouraged by her blog posts. Praying for you!!

  6. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 6:48 AM  |  reply

    Ooh. How about C.S. Lewis, Francine Rivers, and Jane Austen? (I went with three because you don’t want my big list.) I could read their books over and over again and do!

  7. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 7:05 AM  |  reply

    What?! I really have to pick one? I’m going to break the rules and pick more than one. Okay? Okay. Disqualify me if you must… Jenny B Jones, Jody Hedlund, CJ Darlington, Shannon Primicerio…. πŸ™‚ I really could go on and on. πŸ™‚

  8. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 7:33 AM  |  reply

    Oh, I love this. Sometimes I’ll sit staring at a finished blog post debating whether I should hit publish or not. Writing is definitely baring pieces of your soul to the world. And it’s scary, but it’s kind of refreshing too. I have LOTS of authors I love – Janette Oke, Robin Jones Gunn, Beverly Lewis, Francine Rivers…and I could go on and on and on too. πŸ™‚

  9. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 8:04 AM  |  reply

    Ann Voskamp. God has used the book and blog posts that she has been courageous to write to help me take steps of courage, healing and thankfulness also!

  10. merideth
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 8:17 AM  |  reply

    John Eldridge- I have read almost all of his books over the last 8-10 years. He deals with a lot of heart stuff, and that is what I’ve needed much of for a while.

  11. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 8:43 AM  |  reply

    CS Lewis- oh how i love some CS Lewis!

  12. Lauren M
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 8:47 AM  |  reply

    It’s a tie between Francine Rivers and Robin Jones Gunn. Both write straight to my heart.

  13. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 9:31 AM  |  reply

    Andy Stanley – love his books.

  14. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 9:37 AM  |  reply

    I REALLY hope I”m not the only person who gives this answer, but my favorite FAVORITE FAVORITE is…

    Madeleine L’Engle.


  15. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 9:38 AM  |  reply

    Ha! You are so funny, even if you weren’t trying to be. You still brought a smile to my face.

    My favorite author is…well, I have two I think. It’s a tie between Erynn Mangum and Robin Jones Gunn. I love both of their books!

  16. caren
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 9:45 AM  |  reply

    go ahead and punch me then! because you ARE! and the only one I know personally! πŸ™‚ but to somewhat follow the rules- Brennan Manning! πŸ™‚

  17. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM  |  reply

    My all time favorites are Lori Wick (Pretense) and Barbara Corcoran (Seven Daughters & Seven Sons). Deeelightful!

  18. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM  |  reply

    oh i am so bad at picking just one favorite author…though i will say that timothy clinton has thoroughly impressed me with his books lately on counseling. otherwise i do love francine rivers’ redeeming love. and hannah hurnard’s hinds feet in high places. =)

  19. Laura
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM  |  reply

    I really like you, Annie. And I also like Robin Jones Gunn.

  20. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 12:12 PM  |  reply

    “To write is to quietly cultivate a garden to perfection and then give the world unlimited access, with their gentle petal-loving hands or their heavy flower smashing boots.” Seriously, Annie, you are amazing. That quote took my breath away this morning.

    It’s like picking your favorite child, but today I would say Oswald Chambers for my favorite author.

    Love and hugs!

  21. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 12:18 PM  |  reply

    oh just one? Anne Voskamp lately, but I also love Donald Miller, and Beth Moore and Phillip Keller’s “A SHepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm”

  22. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM  |  reply

    My favorites is one I give to women who need a touch from the Lord…Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. This says everything the new books say.
    Another one I give away is Strong Women, Soft Hearts…this one spoke to the desire to be just what the title says…

    • Annie
      posted on Oct 17, 2011 at 4:04 AM  |  reply

      Congrats, Betty! You are the winner! πŸ™‚ Random Number Generator said #22 and that’s YOU!

      Check your email for instructions on how to use your $31 voucher!

      Also. I have never heard of those books but I totally want to read them! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the suggestion.

      • posted on Oct 19, 2011 at 12:52 AM  |  reply

        Wow, I am overwhemed…excited, this was worth staying up late to see..

        Both books are worth the read..both make good bible studies. Paula Rinehart wrote Stong Women, Soft Hearta and I just remember another one that had such an impact on my life ane has helped me help others…Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp(its the sub title encouraged me to read it….People in Need of Change helping People in Need of Change) thats us girl..
        Thank you for the gift…wonderful

  23. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 2:24 PM  |  reply

    I have lots of writers I love, but I think my favorite this week is Kevin DeYoung!

  24. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 3:12 PM  |  reply

    Fantastic giveaway!! I lots of favorite authors, but for today I will go with John Steinbeck. You just can’t get much better than East of Eden. But also…since you mentioned him…Donald Miller. You also cannot get much better than Searching for God Knows What.

  25. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 4:05 PM  |  reply

    My favorite author is Jane Austen, but I also love love Robin Jones Gunn books. She changed my perspective of what a relationship with God looks like. I also a big fan of C.S. Lewis, he was a thinker, like me.

    P.S. I admire your guts! I thought of you and your 31 days of courage as I ran a 1/2 marathon this morning! Thanks for inspiring me.

  26. Deb
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 6:20 PM  |  reply

    Only one is hard. Very hard. I’m reading Priscilla Shirer’s Resolution for Women right now. Love her writing.

  27. Sarah
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 7:10 PM  |  reply

    Susan May Warren!!!! And Patty Metzer… And Ted Dekker… And Susan May Warren…
    I love books.
    And i totally know what you mean, sharing your writing with someone. It’s like this is a little bit of your heart, and if they reject that, are they rejecting you? Yeah, it’s SCARY.

  28. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 7:45 PM  |  reply

    What a hard question! My favorite fiction author right now is probably Karen Kingsbury. But there are so many more that I could list . . .

  29. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 7:51 PM  |  reply

    My favorite author is Colleen Coble!

  30. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 8:05 PM  |  reply

    I so relate to your nerves. It is so scary to share my writing with others. Not so much blog posts but anything from my WIP. I’m rather neurotic until I hear back from the person, though it’s definitely gotten easier as the writing has progressed. I hope that you enjoyed your time and that you freely shared your first chapter.

    As far as a favorite author…I have so many! But I’d say Anne Lamott and Madeline L’Engle are consistently at the top of the list.

  31. Emily Carlson
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM  |  reply

    C.S. Lewis

  32. posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 8:50 PM  |  reply

    Jane Austen!! Hands down.

  33. Megan
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:06 PM  |  reply

    Huldah Buntain. She’s a missionary to Calcutta and wrote Treasures in Heaven. I read like a crazy woman, so I love too many authors to name, but this woman inspired me in my youth and will always hold a special place in my heart. I met her once, but one day.. maybe I’ll get to meet her again on her turf in India.

  34. mattox miller
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:15 PM  |  reply

    jk rowling

  35. Melly
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:28 PM  |  reply

    To be totally honest (which means not the spiritually correct answer), I love Michael Crichton books and always have. Do you remember how cool the movie Jurassic Park was when it came out? The book was so much more amazing! Timeline, Sphere, the Lost World… he began my interest in all things that just cross over into the sci-fi world.

  36. Travis
    posted on Oct 15, 2011 at 10:41 PM  |  reply

    I wasn’t going to comment, but after reading this I sat for a good 5 minutes trying to decide my favorite author. I’m not sure that I actually have a favorite, but I’m going with Donald Miller for the sake of getting on with my life.

  37. posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 12:20 AM  |  reply

    Mostly David Baldacci. Ever since God convicted me of the smutty romance I was reading I had to shift to another genre. Spy Thrillers it is!

  38. Kara
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 8:38 AM  |  reply

    I’m a hardcore English nerd, so I have many. A tried and true favorite is Jane Austen. She captures the heart and spirit of her female characters in a way that resonates so well with me. Her stories are timeless.

  39. Angelica Docherty
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM  |  reply

    My favourite author currently is Kris Vallotton. I love Moral Revolution!

  40. Kristi
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 3:57 PM  |  reply

    I don’t read much that’s not fluff anymore, so I’d have to say I love both Karen Kingsbury and Janet Evanovich. Completely different, but both their books are like crack to me.

  41. Deanna Cozart
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 6:36 PM  |  reply

    For intellectual reading, I love Ernest Hemingway, but for fun reading, I go back to Lucy Maud Montgomery, Margaret Mitchell, and JK Rowling the most. I’ve also read almost every John Grisham book, but he’s not my favorite.

  42. Melinda
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 6:56 PM  |  reply

    Mine is Adriana Trigiani. Love her mixture of southern and italian cultures!

  43. posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 7:12 PM  |  reply

    My all time favorite author is Madeleine L’Engle. She’s written so many stories that have touched my heart and I couldn’t imagine life without her words in it! =)

  44. Devyn
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 7:13 PM  |  reply

    Well other than you :p my favorite author is Lurlene McDaniel πŸ™‚

  45. Molly
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 7:22 PM  |  reply

    Such a tough decision! I have so many, but I’ll just go with the one I read last that I couldn’t put down. T.R Ragaen.

  46. posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 7:51 PM  |  reply

    My favorite author of all time is Lucy Maud Montgomery.

  47. posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 8:55 PM  |  reply

    I have to say Madeleine L’Engle…she’s written so many books, and alllll of them are brilliant gems! (My favorite blog author I have to admit is Ann Voskamp…I never read a blog daily until hers).

  48. posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 9:06 PM  |  reply

    Too many choices but I do really like Kristen Billerbeck and Susan May Warren!

  49. posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 9:15 PM  |  reply

    Lauren Winner. I just, there are no words. I am always bringing her and some book she’s written in up in conversation.

    Love the posts this month!

  50. Jessica B
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 9:34 PM  |  reply

    Elisabeth Elliot–She was the first writer that I read that challenged me to live a life worthy of the calling I’d received as a woman in Christ.

  51. Bekah
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 9:58 PM  |  reply

    I have to many favs to list, but I love C.S. Lewis!

  52. Melissa
    posted on Oct 16, 2011 at 11:51 PM  |  reply

    Children’s author: Stan & Jan Berenstain. Guilty-pleasure: Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham. In the mood to sink my teeth into a book that tells a great story: whomever my librarian sister recommends.

    I’m loving your 31 Days of Courage posts!! I totally need to be reminded of these great Truths. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  53. posted on Oct 17, 2011 at 1:59 AM  |  reply

    These three are tied for number 1 in my book: Elizabeth Enright, Ann Rinaldi, and of course Don Miller. They all have a way of making the reader think about those valuable life lessons that are so artfully intertwined into their writing.

  54. posted on Oct 17, 2011 at 1:59 AM  |  reply

    I love this post, Annie (just recently found your blog through the 31 day challenge, and I’m so glad I did!!). Your words remind me of Audrey Assad/Matt Maher’s song, “Garden,” and these lines, “You walk with me. You never leave. You’re making my heart a garden.” So comforting to think of God always working in our hearts with His gentle petal-loving hands, despite those in heavy flower smashing boots that might try to stomp on our courage!

    And my favorite author is currently Robert McCloskey-I’ve been reading a lot of his books to my baby boy, and his words, especially in “Time of Wonder,” are lovely!

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