I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, August 1, 2011

4 Key Truths for Writers from Encourager Liz Curtis Higgs (& a book giveaway)



I admire New York Times best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs. Or rather, I should say, I admire encourager Liz Curtis Higgs. That's how she likes to be known--that's the title under her name on her website.
I recall laughing out loud at a column she wrote in Today's Christian Woman magazine about running through an airport and having the elastic band on her leggings break. She had to keep running to catch her flight--and her leggings slipped lower and lower.
A Christian author and speaker being so real about her life. What's not to like?
Then I read her book Thorn in My Heart. Beautifully written, I sat on my bed and cried at the ending. Then I emailed Liz and told her just that--how I'd cried over the not-quite-happily-ever-after ending.
She emailed me-me!-back. With her trademark friendliness, she encouraged me to remember life doesn't always go as planned and to read the next book--the story wasn't finished yet.
I finally met Liz several years ago at a book signing in Colorado Springs. It was a snowy weeknight, but even so, I expected the store to be packed. I ended up part of a small group of fans who were each greeted as if we were dear friends--the very person Liz most wanted to hug.
I follow Liz on Facebook. This past Saturday she posted this comment:

Thinking of you as I write today. Because, really, why else would I do it? I'm long past the need to see my name in print. Now I care only about encouraging my sisters in Christ. Corny? You bet. And straight from the heart, beloved.

Her words confirmed once again what kind of heart Liz has--that of an encourager. She considers others more important than herself.
Once again, I emailed Liz through her website, asking if I could use her comment in a blog post. There was a disclaimer posted: Liz's time online is greatly limited while she is writing. Bless you for understanding!
Imagine my surprise when she responded within hours saying, yes, I could " ... quote away, dear sister!" She also took the time to congratulate me on my upcoming novel.
So what's the point of the post--besides all the reasons I love Liz Curtis Higgs? Liz taught me several key truths:

  1. Be real as a writer.
  2. Be responsive to your readers--but tell 'em the truth.
  3. Be friendly to your readers. Go ahead, be as excited to meet them as they are to meet you.
  4. Be certain you are writing from your heart.
Did you glean any truths from what you read about Liz--something I missed? Or have you learned something from another author--a truth you want to embrace in your life? I'd love to hear about it. What's your favorite Liz Curtis Higgs' book?

CONTEST: 
I'd love to give someone who comments on this blog post a copy of Rise and Shine: Encouragement to Start Your Day, based on Liz's magazine columns. For an extra chance to win, "follow" the MBT Ponderers!

17 comments:

  1. Liz sounds like a wonderful woman, the kind I want to be. I love how her reason for writing is to uplift her readers. What a wonderful goal.

    You're like Liz, Beth. You've encouraged me many a time with a tweet, a comment on my blog, or an email. I'm eager to meet you in person and give you a great big hug.

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  2. It's fun to learn a little more about Liz Curtis Higgs. Everything I've read or heard about her speaks "encouragement." How wonderful that she's comfortable with herself--way beyond the need to see her name in print, and instead focused on lifting others up and encouraging them.

    And Keli's right, Beth. You ARE an encourager. You sprinkle it around you, probably without always even knowing it. Thanks for sharing a little about Liz Curtis Higgs.

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  3. Wonderful post, Beth. Thank you. I want to be like Liz and you and Patsy Clairmont when I grow up. Patsy has been my "Liz." She knew me only from my blog and my photos when we arranged to meet at a WOF a couple of years ago. As I walked toward her, she ran (can't you just picture it?) toward me saying, "There you are!" and threw her arms around me. She never fails to encourage me still...and I'm willing to bet I'm just one of many.

    Thanks so much for this post, Beth, and for being the encourager to me that YOU are.

    XOXOX

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  4. I popped on here to check on comments--and found encouragement waiting! Thank you, Keli, Jeanne and Patricia!
    Look at what Liz has started!! A day of encouragement. May you all know how you've encouraged me too!

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  5. Oh, Beth, yes! This is definitely a post filled with encouragement. Thank you. I really needed a good dose this morning. And you are definitely an encourager!

    Praying I will be more like you and Liz. A writer who has encouraged me is Sandra Robbins. She has really lifted me up when I've been down. And that's what I love about the writing community. I've been involved in other artistic communities, but nowhere have I received encouragement like I have from other writers.

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  6. Pat, from what I've experienced, the writing world overflows with encouragers--others willing to help a newbie or a discouraged writer.
    And I remember a certain someone who came to my aid when I needed to write a replacement article for the MOPS leadership magazine on ve-ery short notice--and said article had a potter's theme. Who could that be? (You!)
    ;o)

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  7. Renelle Wilson8/1/11, 10:10 AM

    Thanks for this! I am now following her on FB and soon on Twitter. I need those encouragements, and appreciate what you have revealed about her generous personality.

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  8. Renelle, so glad you're getting connected--to Liz and to us!

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  9. Awesome, encouraging post, Beth! So easy to hoard encouragement for myself but forget to dole it out to others...thanks for the reminder!

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  10. I loved the reminder that our "work" is for God and not for us. He has gifted us with the skills we have to be used for His glory. Regardless of what our "work" is, it's for God. Whether you're cooking dinner and shopping for your family, running a Fortune 500 company, or leading a high profile ministry at your church, if you do it for the glory of God, you will be an encouragement to someone!

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  11. I'm not a writer (but an avid reader) but I try to be an encourager. I think I need to read more of Liz's writings since I often need to be encouraged. It's kind of a ripple effect: we become encouraged by others so we can encourage someone else. I would love to win a copy of Liz's book Rise and Shine so I could encourage a friend with it after I've read it!Thanks for this post.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  12. I met Liz at ACFW the year she was the keynote speaker. Her words still echo in my heart. She is the greatest encourager. I want to be more like that. Sometimes I feel I'm too whiney.

    I like to think I'm more of a heart writer than a head writer. I cry with my characters.

    Wonderful post, Beth. Thanks for sharing and lifting our hearts today. :)

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  13. Liz spoke years ago to encourage nurses at the hospital where I worked. Talk about a group that needed to smile--nurses are so cynical, but Liz just warmed and encouraged our hearts, breaking through the pain and weariness. And Beth, like so many others have commented above, you are such a blessing of an encourager, too! Every time I'm sure I just posted the worst column of my life, there you show up in the comments section saying how much you loved it. May God pour GINORMOUS blessings on you and Liz and every other encourager out there. The rest of us sure do need folks like you!

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  14. I've been away from my computer most of the day. It was so fun to come back and read these comments--and to see some new friends!
    Welcome to the Ponderers!

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  15. Liz is my favorite historical author and I have her books on my keeper shelf. Bless you for spotlighting her here. I'm taking these words of wisdom to heart! From one Kentuckian to another:)

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  16. Thanks for dropping by, Laura. I hope you visit again!

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  17. Beth, I guess I missed this while flying on several airplanes, but of course appreciate this great post (and you.) Thanks for always being the encourager you are--may God greatly encourage you this week/month/year/...

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