Monday, June 1, 2020

Life is Heavy, Let’s Lift Each Other Up by Annette M. Irby

I scroll through Facebook, faster or more slowly, depending on the images and stories. A beachy scene—refreshing. Stop. Study the light, the seascape, imagine walking the sand, inhaling a salty breeze. Consider sharing the post. Keep scrolling. Another political post. Eeks. My stomach gets tight along with my lungs.
So much frustration in the words. Pray. Consider hiding the post so it doesn’t sneak in next time. Keep scrolling. Ahh, a garden scene. Some fresh flowers. Take a deep breath and reconsider even checking social media.

We writers don’t have a choice sometimes when it comes to a social media presence. It’s necessary for our platforms. We do promotions on social media, connect with readers, check in with our own favorite writers. All of that happens online. But social media is a field of landmines. So, I started re-sharing uplifting posts. Visual vacations where my friends/family might stumble across a mountain view, or breaching whales. Something uplifting.

This season is heavy. Raise your hand, if before this year, you’ve lived through a pandemic. Right. So, we’re in unprecedented territory, harassed by excessive fear. Our words can encourage others. Let’s explore different ways we can uplift others in our writing:

Humor: I enjoy reading rom coms (romantic comedies). They bring a laugh (so needed!) as well as an escape. I’ve heard that laughter boosts the immune system. The last thing we want to do when we’re anxious is laugh, but laughter is a victory. I love this line from a verse in Proverbs: “she laughs without fear of the future.” Resting in God’s sovereignty and hoping in Him gives us room to laugh. Let’s offer a humorous moment (or entire story) in our writing as a way of uplifting others.

Hope: The ultimate lift. I’ve long believed that hope is what separates Christian fiction from many other genres. Reading a tragedy brings us down. But reading where a hero/heroine overcame and found victory by God’s help, followed by a hopeful future—that lifts hearts and minds. I’m not advocating inauthenticity or melodrama. Life is heavy. It’s okay to face those things head-on in fiction. But for the sake of heavy hearts, let’s add a bountiful supply of hope.

Light: Jesus is the Light of the world. As His people, we have access to His light. What a dark, hopeless, violent, fearful world needs is light. Sharing His light looks different for each of our books. What’s one way you can include light? There’s victory in light as it drives out darkness. How can you show that victory in your story? Via contrast? Via breakthrough as your MC (main character) overcomes?

Love: Jesus said the core commandment is to love one another. Our words do that when we keep readers first (after God, of course) in our minds while we write. We’re serving readers and spreading the message of God’s love.

Let’s intentionally lift the heavy-hearted through our writing.

What are some ways you’ve used words to uplift others? What uplifting techniques have other authors used in books you enjoyed? How can we present God’s love through our words in our newsletters, blogs, posts, tweets, comments, etc.?

"Our words can encourage others. Let’s explore different ways we can uplift others in our writing." #amwriting #amreading @annettemirby


Finding Love on Whidbey Island
Finalist in the Cascade Award contest 2020!

Could what drove them apart be what draws them back together?

Liberty Winfield lives with loss every day. She’d rather leave her history behind her, but when faced with moving back to her hometown, the past becomes unavoidable. She takes a job at the florist shop owned by her ex-boyfriend’s family from a decade ago. Now he’s unavoidable.

Clay Garrison knows the pain of ruing his mistakes. Most of his regrets center around Liberty. If he could undo his poor choices, he would. Liberty is back. He has one more chance to make things right. She doesn’t believe anyone could love her unconditionally, so he sets out to prove her wrong. He must also try to right the biggest wrong of their past, knowing that in doing so, he could lose her forever.

Will addressing the past together help them find love?


Annette M. Irby has enjoyed writing since her teen years. If she’s not writing, she’s reading for review, editing for clients, or perhaps out gardening. Her book, Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington, won the Selah Award in 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Married twenty-eight years, she lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more here on her Seriously Write Page.