Friday, June 20, 2014

Ian Acheson: Should We Make The Writing Happen?

Everyone's Story takes great pleasure in welcoming back author Ian Acheson, who is now an award-winning author. To say that I always learn valuable lessons and am uplifted in encouragement by my guests is an understatement, and that is one of the reasons I'm glad Ian has accepted my invitation to visit with us once again. Please say a hello to Ian, check out his BookGiveaway, the blurb on his novel ANGLEGUARD, and his special message. We're both looking forward to hearing from you.

Book Giveaway:
Ian is offering one copy of his novel ANGELGUARD to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, June 27th, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!

And to entice you more, here's a blurb to ANGELGUARD that was recently awarded a 2014 Selah Award in the Speculative Fiction category:

Within a period of weeks, three horrific bomb blasts devastate areas of London, Los Angeles and Sydney. No explanation is offered, no victory claimed for these acts of terror. Yet behind the scenes a Machiavellian European businessman is planning to bring the G8 nations to their knees for his own larcenous purposes, aided by the dark forces to whom he has sold his soul. Jack Haines, an Australian academic, is grieving the loss of wife and children in the Sydney blast. Against his will he finds himself thrown into a war that transcends the physical world, a conflict in which angelic guards have a special mission for him. This is a gripping novel of the unseen forces that throng our world.

Read an excerpt of ANGELGUARD on Amazon

Isn't Independence A Good Thing? 
by Ian Acheson

Learning to Surrender

I learnt independence at an early age. I got myself around by walking and catching public transport (as early as 10 years old), and entertained myself in my own worlds of sports and stories.

“Many people view dependence as a despicable condition, so they strive to be as self-sufficient as possible.”1

Yep, that’s me. I’ve prided myself on my self-sufficiency.

It reminded me of some other words Sarah Young wrote in “Jesus Calling”:

“In the world, dependence is seen as immaturity. But in My kingdom, dependence on Me is a prime measure of maturity”2

As is so common with matters of God, He turns upside down what the world accepts as reasonable.

Self-sufficiency has become habitual for me. And that’s a problem. I’ve been grappling writing the follow-up to Angelguard. When I wrote Angelguard the fundamental story just fell out of me. My major struggle was with the “craft” which often kept me at the editing table. Even the re-writes prompted by my editor came relatively smoothly without too much teeth grinding.

But Wrestling with Shadows has been a different story. I’ve worked through many different outlines, raced down many tracks expectant that the story would gel, only to find I’d found myself at a dead end once again. 

Photo courtesy of
“Do you want to be a writer or just somebody who wrote a book once?” (Tim Grahl)

The discouragement continued to grow and I found myself troubled by thoughts similar to Tim’s above.

The Easy Yoke

So what did I do? I went seeking answers, to solve the problem myself. Do more research, study new writing methods, you name it.

But none of that worked.

A common belief amongst we authors is that God has called us to this vocation, irrespective of whether it becomes a career.

Dallas Willard in reflecting on one’s calling in respect to Jesus statement, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30 NIV) says the following:

“ … the great temptation is to try to make it happen, whatever it is. We don’t make it happen. We turn it loose. Whatever we are doing for the Lord, we let Him carry through with it. We do our best, but we don’t trust our best. When you start trusting your best you think the solution is to work harder, and that is never the solution.”3

My independence has always been a way I’ve stayed in control. Letting go has been difficult for me in many aspects of my life. But that’s not living the “easy yoke” lifestyle. Jesus wants us to live a lifestyle based on surrender. He demonstrated this for us when He lived as a human all those years ago.

“This is not My way for you! I designed you to need Me continually – and to delight in that neediness.”4

So what did I do with the manuscript?

I put it down for a little while as I cleared my mind. But it wasn’t long before the Lord nudged me to pick it back up and start involving Him more in the process.

I soon identified some fundamental flaws in the story’s structure (“Of course that’s why that ended in a dead end. Why didn’t I see it before?”)

Have I got my groove back? Not fully but I’m now trying not to stress about it and give it over continually to the Lord. I believe God loves the collaborative process. If we’re writing for Him, then He’s joined us in the process. If we’re depending on our own abilities, we might achieve our goal, but the outcome within our hearts isn’t going to be nearly as significant.

What do you do when you get stuck with something you’re writing? How do you keep yourself in a dependent state?

Notes: 1. “Jesus Today” Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson 2012, p 212. 2. “Jesus Calling” Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson 2004, p183. 3.“Living in Christ’s Presence”, Dallas Willard, Formatio, 2013, pp39-40. 4. “Jesus Today” p212

Ian's previous guest appearances on Everyone's Story:

An Author Prompted By God-Moments

An Author's and Character's Take On Spiritual Warfare

Ian's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Speculative fiction author Ian Acheson: is self-sufficiency good for the writer? (Tweet This)

Ian Acheson on Everyone’s Story: whose ability are we relying on with our stories? (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of award-winning #SpeculativeFiction author Ian Acheson’s ANGELGUARD. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. AnonymousJune 20, 2014

    Another wonderful interview and intriguing sound book. Thanks for the give-away.

    Ann Ellison

    1. Ann, reading Ian's novel opened my mind to a lot of possibilities that I'd never thought about but should have! As always, I'm glad you visited today.

    2. Ann, Elaine does a fantastic job with her guest authors. It's always such a treat for us to be her guest. Thanks for your encouragement.

    3. Thanks for your kind words, Ian. I always try to interact with my guests and viewers as if they are guests in my own home.

  2. Setting my manuscripts down for a while is the only way I can complete a story, although I never thought of it as surrender. I like that. Thanks for sharing!

    1. And I'm looking forward to reading your novel(s), Sara!

    2. Sara, it's great what happens to our work when we walk away from it for a time to gain a fresh perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  3. For those who have always taken care of themselves and everyone around them, depending on God doesn't come naturally. It's something we have to work at on a minute by minute basis. At least that's the way it is with me. Great post! So glad to see Ian back.

    1. When you think about it, Pat, perhaps God has created certain situations in such a way that we must perpetually and willingly beseech Him so that we do not take a "gift" for granted. I believe us writers--and readers--are independent by nature (who else would devote so many hours into either composing a story or reading one for the sheer pleasure?) and it's doubly more difficult for us to, well, as they say, let go and let God do His thing.

      I'm truly discovering this daily!

    2. Patricia, minute by minute - yes, absolutely. I'm definitely a work in progress when it comes to relying on Him so constantly. Thanks for your support & all the very best with your writing.

  4. ANGELGUARD does sound exciting. An interesting post thank you.


    1. Mary, so nice to see you again. I'm glad you enjoyed Ian's segment.

    2. Thanks Mary for popping by.

  5. Hi Ian and Elaine,
    That is a timely message indeed, which I'm sure we'll all need sometimes. That sort of independence is ingrained in us by society, so remembering to let go of it, to let Jesus help, is definitely not easy. I'm at a similar stage at the moment. No new ideas, a bit burned out on writing. Resting and waiting isn't a bad place to be.

    1. Paula, I always smile when you visit.

      I agree with you. I'm in the editing stage of my WIP and with this particular story I'm learning that there's a reason why I cannot and should not rush through my edits--He is teaching me major lessons daily that I am trusting will help strengthen the story… let alone, me :)

    2. Hi Paula, lovely to have a fellow Aussie pop by. Hang in there with your WIP and marinate on the Lord's guidance. He'll let you know when it's time to switch back on.

  6. Ian,

    Your book sounds exciting. "If we're writing for Him, then He's joined us in the process." Love that line.
    Keep writing,
    God bless,

    1. Good morning, Wanda. Yes! Isn't exciting: He's right beside us while we're writing… while we're living. Well, that just kick-jumped my adrenaline says me who is about to start another round of edits. Thanks for your visit.

    2. Hi Wanda, thanks for the encouragement. "Keep writing," - I will.

  7. Fabulous post, Ian. This is soooo where I've been with my current WIP. The listening to Ted Dekker at a conference last weekend, he shared how he had to sit down every morning and let go of the fear etc. similar to your "let it go" comment. Every time I hear that, the song from the new Disney movie parades through my mind, but wow, collaborating with God is so much more...everything, than going it alone.

    No need to enter me in the giveaway, Elaine. I have Ian's book. :D Have a great weekend, all!

    1. Sandra, thanks for visiting and for sharing your thoughts. Definitely, why go it alone when we have Him?

    2. Hi Sandra, I'm still envious of you chatting with Mr Dekker. But also so happy for you. I'd love to understand how he manages to be so prolific. I love that Frozen song, maybe I should add it to my daily routine for a few days.

      It's great for us to know that God is faithful. Your collaboration with Him has produced great work already and will continue to. Be patient, it's in the waiting that the miracles are conceived. Something special will come out of this brief holdup in your WIP.

      Thanks for your support.

  8. Ian, your insight and "admonishment" were inspirational! I have a new determination to "leave things with the Lord." Thank you!

    And thank you, Elaine, for the feature. God bless you both.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Kathy. One thing is most clear: we writers/readers are blessed in supporting each other.

    2. Thanks so much, Kathy, for your encouragement. Wishing you all the best with your own writing.

      Warmest regards

  9. Thank you Ian and Elaine for sharing your struggles so transparently. The very thought of trusting myself, of living independently, sends shivers down my spine.Even this morning in prayer I cried as I realized i could not have even said yes to Jesus had it not been for His grace. "In Him we live and move and have our being." And this is why I love to write...He is here with me, talking to me, sharing His insight and His heart...with me! What glory!
    Thank you again for this wonderful post!

    1. Margie, your words brought a smile to my face. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. Although my fiction isn't published yet in book-length format, I know that I could not have completed my stories without His influence--I alone could not string all those words together! Writing aside, I cannot do a thing without Him. Yet, in my weakness, need this daily reminder of His glory. I'm so thankful my guest and viewers, like you, bless me in this way.

      Hope to see you again.

      Do check back for Ian's reply.

    2. Oh Margie, what a wonderful response. I'm learning (slowly) to be where you are, walking hand-in-hand with Jesus. Thank you for sharing, I so appreciate it. And all the very best with your writing.

  10. From what I'm gathering in this week's comments to author Ian Acheson, Ian's words found its way to many hearts. That is exactly what I enjoy seeing on this blog! Ian, thanks much for appearing once again. Statistics don't lie: your segment was well received from the international community. I pray this brings you many blessings.

    Thanks too for your generous Book Giveaway. The winner of ANGELGUARD is…

    Margie. Happy reading, Margie! I will be contacting you via your website.


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