ONCE IN A GREAT WHILE I get an email from someone with a message that I know I’ll remember for a long time.
I got a kind email a few days ago from a lady named Jennifer Gall, who gave me permission to let you read what she said.
It’s going to sound like a puff piece: Me letting someone say something nice about me.
Rest assured, I get enough of the other kind of emails to balance out my ego.
I’ve published some of those, too—including a three-star review in which the writer wondered how I would escape hell. I can only guess that with a one-star review, he would have sent me there.
Most full-time Christian writers I know of are solitary souls. They work alone. They need to. It’s the nature of the job.
Isolated like that, it’s energizing to occasionally get an encouraging note from a reader.
You’ve probably got a favorite writer or two or 22. When you get a chance, consider sending a note of encouragement to one of them.
Don’t send any to me at the moment. I’d be embarrassed to think that you figured I’m soliciting for myself. As I read Jennifer’s email, I thought about other writers I know who could use a word of kindness. For some I know, it’s too late. They’ve quit full-time writing and have gone back to The Grind.
I have a file called “Kindness.” When I get encouraging notes like the one Jennifer sent me, I drop them into the file. Every few years, I flip through them. It’s like a burst of sunshine in my Steelcase file cabinet.
Here’s how to write a writer.
I received a copy of your book The Complete Guide to the Bible this past Christmas. I’ve been a Christian for almost 20 years. I finally rallied enough courage and signed up for seminary this fall.
Anyway, I’ve been using your book to help me with papers I need to write—on both the Old Testament and the New Testament. I just had to write to tell you how much I am enjoying your delightful book. I love the accuracy of the Bible with your humorous antidotes.
Oh my, I just turned to Titus and laughed out loud. My husband, from the other room, asked what I was laughing over. I told him, “The Bible.” He said, “I never heard anyone laugh over it.” Me either! Until today!
And by the way, Steve, not only was I laughing, I found myself crying over Paul’s final letter to Timothy. It wasn’t anything in particular, and I couldn’t even tell you what it was that touched my heart. I am just confident in this: it was the beautiful anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Anyway, Steve, I just totally felt compelled to look you up (Google) and send you a note of encouragement. Thank you. Thank you for the year you took to write the book. All the staring out the window has paid off. Thank you for allowing the Spirit of Grace to speak to you and then share with ordinary people, like me.
The Bible has come alive and is FUN in ways I never imagined….This is a treasure that won’t just remain on my coffee table, but will remain in my heart!
Who in his right mind wouldn’t want someone to say stuff like that to him?
If you get a chance, write a note of encouragement to someone today—if not a writer, a soul in your vicinity. Or say to their face. That’s allowed.
“Encourage each other and give each other strength,” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
For what it’s worth, Steve, I truly believe that for every negative e-mail you receive, there are a hundred positive letters that your fans have just never gotten around to writing.
It’s so much easier to write when you’re angry.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Steve. The problem with writing angry is that it’s writing crazy. As in insane. It’s always better to cool off first, and write later. Even better: cool off first, talk later…face to face.
I for one think the writer is to busy to read a note from me. You have so many others that may have something important to say other then “Thank you, that was great” So I will say it now THANK YOU for EVERYTHING you write! And as for the nasty notes, they feel convicted! and they need to blame you because you are the one who has pointed it out to them.