Thursday, April 20, 2017

Back to Training Wheels

Photo courtesy of
The Lord placed on my heart the state of men in the church a couple of years ago. Increasingly as I went about my life I struggled to find lay-men (ie, those not employed by churches or similar) who inspired me in their Jesus journey.
Very slowly it began to dawn on me that there might be a writing project involved. Then I had a lighning bolt moment at ACFW last year when my current publisher asked me if I had any interest in writing non-fiction. As I got back up of the floor (this is a fiction writing event isn’t it?) I pitched him an idea. It was terrible, hey, I had only begun to start bouncing a few ideas around on my journey over the Pacific. So I suggested I’d get back to him with a proposal at a later date.
As I chatted with some dear and wise friends over the course of the Conference my confidence grew that indeed I had something to work on.
On getting home I started to draft a proposal plus the first chapter and soon realised I really didn’t have much except for an overall premise. But I received some tremendous counsel from someone whom I greatly respect that gave me another lightning bolt moment.
It should be my story. Not in a memoir or autobiographical sort of way but my search for the attributes of men who have developed an intimate walk with the Lord. Certainly, we’re all aware of the great men in the Bible and others of yesteryear whom we admire but I want to meet the everyday regular guy who is living a surrendered life to Jesus.
I’ve received enthusiastic responses from everyone I’ve shared my vision for the project with: men and women, Christians and non-Christians. As an aside, it’s been fascinating the response I’ve had from non-Christians. It’s been a wonderful way of sharing about Jesus.
I’m presently in interview mode, really to both validate my premise (hey, I might just live a sheltered life and these types of blokes are all around) and to discover men’s opinions on intimacy with God.
Even though a lot of my life’s writing has been non-fiction of sorts (business, blogging, etc) I’ve struggled with the transition from fiction to non-fiction. I also read far more non-fiction than I do fiction including books similar to what I’m writing. Yes, it’s still story telling but I can’t just make up stuff; I don’t have these crazy characters running around in my head telling me what they’re going to do or not do.
A boss shared some wisdom with me when I was in my 20’s: you can’t always tell people what you think they need to do or know; rather you have to allow them to self-discover it. I’m thinking writing non-fiction is a bit like that. 
Enjoy the process
Jim Rubart only reminded me of the importance of this in his excellent Novel Rocket post this week: “the journey and who you’re becoming on the journey is the prize.”
Often when I start out on a new adventure I head off on my own. I step out knowing God is in it but start without actively engaging Him in the process. Silly me. Again, Ian?
Maybe this is why He has me doing this project: so I wouldn’t just find men who have the answer (or some of it) but rather that I’d self-discover what intimacy with Him is!
I can’t do this project without having Him front and centre.
And that’s my greatest desire!
What’s something you’ve self-discovered through your writing journey?

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. I discovered Jesus Himself :) Thanks for this post, Ian. It's so tempting to revert to doing things the world's way--even when we know better. This message needs to be out there often to keep us from losing territory. Keep reminding us. The journey is the prize. It's all about with.

    1. How wonderful - discovering Jesus through your writing, Patricia. Your story is such a good one. And with your debut novel releasing soon you'll get even more of an opportunity to share it. Our testimony of finding Jesus is the most powerful story with have to tell.


  2. Love your heart and your discovery. I often find in writing that God seems to be showing me things I've missed along the way more than anything else. May we always keep an open heart and listening ears!!

    1. Lisa, thank you for your encouragement. I've been greatly encouraged through the various fresh perspectives you've gained in living in Africa, it's many challenges and its beauty.

  3. I love the sound of this book you are working on Ian. May it travel far and wide and sow eternity into many lives.

    1. Thanks Dianne. I love how you describe the desire of my heart!