Monday, January 6, 2020

Stop Playing the What-if Game by Amy K. Rognlie

Amy K. Rognlie
Do anxieties get to you? As creatives, it's helpful if we can cast our cares on God and let Him carry our burdens. That frees us up to create, to write. Today's guest, Amy K. Rognlie, is a fellow Mountain Brook Ink author with some advice around faith and fear. Read on! ~ Annette

What if? What if my main character discovers a dark family secret? What if my antagonist suddenly dies? What if the detective doesn’t find what she is expecting? What if the lover turns out to be an imposter?

For fiction writers, playing the what-if game is a helpful method for setting ideas into motion, jump-starting a boring plot, exploring fresh ideas or rousing new-found enthusiasm when slogging through a long project. Asking “What if?” compels us to dig deeper. To wonder. To discover, rather than to assume.

However, many of us play the what-if game in our own nonfiction, very real lives. Suddenly, we’re not tweaking an imaginary plot. No, we’re playing for keeps, where the well-being of our own hearts and souls are at stake: What if I don’t finish writing this book on time? What if I don’t have enough money to pay my bills? What if something bad happens to my kids? What if my loved one dies of cancer? What if I get laid off? What if…

Hmm. Good idea? No... But we all play the game at times, some of us more than others. So, let’s be honest: the other name for this game is fear.


We live in a society where anxiety, stress, and fear of the future are the norm. We attempt to cope via various methods, seldom acknowledging that the only true antidote to fear is faith. Not a blind faith, but a personal, experiential faith that is grounded in knowing who God is, what He says, and what that means to me…because the promises of God cannot be claimed where the will of God is unknown.

Minister Ron Kussmaul defines what this kind of faith looks like in real life: Faith is seeing the invisible, while saying the impossible, while surrounded by doubt. 

Wow. I want that kind of faith, don’t you?

So. Let’s play the what-if game one more time: What if we committed to discovering God’s will for our life? Our families? Our relationships? Our futures? What if we learned to bring our thoughts into captivity, as instructed in scripture? What if we chose to walk by faith and not by sight? What if we dared to stand on God’s word and trust Him in the midst of the mess?

After all, He is the author of our lives. He already knows our unique and beautiful plot from beginning to end. He was in our past. He is in our present. He will be our future. And He never asks, “What if?”

Anxiety can paralyze a creative person. Stop playing the what-if game. #amwriting @AmyRognlie

To Err is Human

To Err is Human (Short Creek Mysteries #3)

Aunt Dot and Harry are finally tying the knot, and Callie Erickson is buried up to her elbows in flower arrangements and, yet again, more mysteries.

A local businesswoman is found dead, and Callie becomes the main suspect. She is determined to prove her innocence just as much as she’s determined Aunt Dot’s wedding will go on. But when Callie’s missionary parents disappear on their way back to Texas, roses keep mysteriously appearing, and her own family strife is brought to the surface, Callie may just drown in the upheaval.

Can Todd walk the line between his love for Callie and his dedication to his law enforcement career? Will Callie have a chance to make things right with her parents? And who keeps leaving roses for her to find?


Amy K. Rognlie won her first contest for her debut story, “My Pet Kangaroo” in second grade. Since then, she has authored several novels. The third book in her Short Creek Mysteries series, To Err is Human, released January 1, 2020. She also writes adult Sunday School curriculum, devotional material, and educational website content, but her first love is fiction. Amy is a middle-school language arts and Latin teacher at a classical Christian school. She and her husband have three sons—two who are grown and one almost—and one small granddaughter. And while Amy does not currently have a pet kangaroo, she does have two dogs. Amy is active in jail ministry as well as in her local church. She loves reading, writing, gardening, leading Bible studies and speaking to women’s groups.