We’ve talked about electronics that help writers. We’ve talked about books on writing craft. CASTLE shirtThere are all those cute t-shirts and tote bags and aprons and mugs and . . . you get my drift . . . mousepadwith writing quotes and inspirations. If you just want a good laugh, go to and search “writing.” You won’t be sorry.

So what is left?

greatwritersfingerpuppetsI tried to come up with some more products, and I did come up with one idea that might help with dialogue and character movement– Great Writers Finger Puppets. Hey, at least people won’t think you’re talking to yourself. You can just say, “What? It was the finger puppets!”

Another thought was a subscription to People or US Weekly magazines. Other than the web, it would be a great place to find those characters that you need to describe. If you compile a hard copy of clipped pictures in your character file, you can’t beat those kinds of publications.

lifewayadSomething else I love is very simple, and very predicable. Books. Books in my genre. Books by author-friends. Books by new authors that sound really intriguing. Or gift cards to favorite book STORES . . . 🙂

But while all these things are great, there is really only one gift I would like for Christmas.


And that’s something that no one can give me except myself.

The really neat thing is that God gives us a special bit of time, just this time of year. It’s called “Christmastime.” In the hustle and bustle of preparing for all those things that are “expected,” there are little bits of TIME that make us stop and smile.

Like Charlie Brown, just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean we always FEEL like it’s Christmas. Christmastime is sometimes described as a state of mind that comes and goes.

But it’s so much more. It’s TIME with our families and loved ones. It’s TIME to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It’s TIME to thank God for sending that little baby that in a span of 33 short years lived, taught, died, and rose again for us.

As Linus said, so aptly, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Linus Explains the True Meaning of Christmas:

From the Front Seat of a Roller Coaster

I love roller coasters.

Ones quick as cheetahs and tall as Minneapolis’ sky scrapers. I love coasters with hairpin turns and rolling corkscrews. Ones that fling you upside down and plunge you through shadowy tunnels.

Can you think of anything more suited to an aspiring writer?

My roller coaster ride as a writer began simply enough.

ANDERSON, BRENDA_20I grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota—the best possible place to grow a family—as the third of seven children. I was raised to appreciate the physical work of tossing bales and chasing cows, and then relax in hushed moments under skies lit with dancing northern lights.

My daughter says I was spoiled. Perhaps I was. We had a sledding hill, all to ourselves, right across the county road. We had a private skating rink—a pond surrounded by rolling fields of corn, wheat, and hay. Hay lofts were fertile ground for imagination. We built hay forts, swung like Tarzan from one pile of hay to another. We even pretended we were rock stars, singing and dancing among the bales to Grease.

Amidst all that, I always wanted to write. Whether working, walking with my German shepherd, or biking over sloping hills, stories continuously meandered through my head. Some even stayed.

But, I always knew, writing would never pay the bills. I believed writing was only a dream, and I needed to live in reality.

So, I enrolled in college and eventually received my degree in Literature/Communications. I found a job, married a beautiful man (we recently celebrated our 22nd Anniversary), had three children (who’ve since blossomed into teenagers) and accepted the full-time job of mothering. A position with no salary, but plenty of hugs and “I love you” benefits.

Then the children all went to school. I had a choice: get a job at the new bookstore in town, and actually get paid for working with books … or listen to that unending voice in my head telling me to record this story that lived in my thoughts.

I listened.

Four months later I had fulfilled a dream by completing a novel. Right then, I could have jumped off the writing roller coaster, and I would have been happy.

But, again, God had other ideas. He nudged me to attend conferences, read writing books, and join groups. I edited, revised, and within two years, completed two additional manuscripts.

At conferences, agents/editors/published authors consistently tell me I write well. Some say my stories won’t sell, while others say “someone will birth this story.” (Actual quote) I’ve been told my characters are too messed up, that they all need counseling, they should never get together, and that I should rewrite my story and take out all the problems. (ouch) The next person says, I will be published someday.  Help!

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably ridden this same coaster.

S4010049 - CopyThe neat thing about roller coasters is that, though they never travel a straight path, they do eventually arrive at the station. It may not seem like you’ll reach your destination when you’re plunging down into a lightless tunnel of rejection and hurtful criticism, but if you’re on the track God chose for you, I guarantee you’ll climb out of that hole. The ride always leads back to the light, and that’s exactly where I’m heading.

As I said, I love roller coasters, and I choose not to get off this roller coaster of writing.

Since I’m staying on, I may as well take the front seat.