15 from 15: Writing Highlights
15 from 15: Writing Highlights
So, one of my writing highlights from 2015 was not writing a New York Times Best-Seller. Honestly, that’s not even on my radar as a goal for my writing (though I’m certainly not opposed to selling more books and keeping that part of my career moving) . My vision is to write good stories that will add value to people’s lives, to give readers maybe a slightly different perspective from which to view life. From which to view family. Or sports. You get the picture.
Come on over and follow me on Instagram. I post photos from different places where I write.
Here’s a look back at some of my writing (and speaking) highlights, another 15 from 15.
#1: I began a writers’ mastermind group, something I had wanted to do for some time. The group started large and, as expected, moved naturally toward a more manageable size. I feel confident in saying that my fellow authors and I have accomplished more encouraging and challenging each other than we ever would have independently. My favorite mastermind moments are when one author gets a great new idea and responds with, “I never would have thought of that!” That’s why we exist.
#2: In February, I spoke briefly about the value of stories and signed books at a very unique event. Now, I’ve been to wild game dinners before, but Longview Heights Baptist Church’s Beast Feast was one for the ages. And nobody does stories better than outdoorsmen (and outdoorswomen)!
#3: I published Coach Dave: Season One. After spending so many hours reading and re-reading Matt Christopher books as a kid, I was grateful to be able to give back not only to the world of sports that I have loved my whole life but to the world of books about sports. Especially those that understand the values taught through sports when it is done right.
#4: I had a blast recording a promo video for Coach Dave with Michael Plumlee, my broadcast partner of the last three years. Our time of calling the Lewisburg High School baseball games had come to a close, but this gave us the chance to put the headsets on one more time together.
#5: I wrote a blog post that went as viral as any I have ever written…at least for a few days. The post honored my friend Mike Abel, my former high school teammate who passed away suddenly after having a heart attack on our high school baseball field on April 2, 1985. I posted the final chapter from Lines in the Gravel, entitled “Remembering Mike,” 30 years after Mike’s death. I heard back from many like me who still remember what a vibrant personality was taken from us on that day so long ago.
#6: Family Day at Holly Baptist Church in Corinth was another of my writing highlights from 2015. I brought a message from Psalm 78:1-4 that day about the value of passing down our stories to the next generation. In between the two services, I led all the Sunday School classes to engage in storytelling. The sound of multi-generational groups engaging with each others’ stories was music to this storyteller’s ears!
#7: I honed my skills by participating in two of the Pinch Journal’s writing workshops through the University of Memphis. I spent the better part of two days studying and engaging in creative non-fiction and fiction workshops.
#8: On the day that I returned to Northpoint Christian School as a teacher, I had the opportunity to do my first podcast interview. Craig Haworth’s Winning Youth Coaching podcast is one that I listen to on a regular basis, and he does a great job engaging all areas of youth coaching to make a positive impact on the next generation. I was honored to be a part of his Youth Coaching Nation.
#9: The first annual Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson was quite a showcase of Mississippi’s literary talent. I was honored to meet many other fellow independent authors, and I was able to meet several authors who I knew only by reputation. I was able to share the day with my mom, who gave me my love for reading. Read more about that day in this blog post.
#10: The first session I tried to attend at the Mississippi Book Festival was packed and turning away people fifteen minutes before it was set to begin. Undaunted, I made my way back to the Capitol rotunda and met Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who now has a copy of Coach Dave: Season One with my compliments.
#11: It was time a a new cover and some slight aesthetic improvements for Lines in the Gravel, my first book. With the help of my readers, I made the choice for a new cover.
#12: Between classes one day last December, I opened a text from my wife. She asked if I knew that I had been nominated for the DeSoto Times-Tribune‘s annual DeSoto’s Best awards. Nope, no idea. But there was my name, right above John Grisham’s. I’m working on the “it was nice just to be nominated with such notable authors as the others on this list” speech. Seriously, there are times when most independent authors I know wonder if it’s worth it to keep righting. Me, too. I don’t even know who to thank for noticing me as a writer, but…thanks. You not only made my day but my 2015 writing highlights list!
#13: I have chosen covers for the next two installments of the Coach Dave series, due out in 2016 (tentatively around MLB Opening Day and the beginning of the World Series). I’ll reveal these covers in the next week or so to my email subscribers. (Haven’t joined the list yet? Click here–it’s easy!)
#14: I was honored to write some meaningful and helpful blog posts. My web traffic told me what posts connected with people. Conversations with others let me know which ones had an impact. (Click here to take a look at 2015’s top blog posts.)
#15: I wrote from some interesting places, many of which I shared on my “From a Writers Perspective” Instagram account. Here, have a look at some:
A photo posted by Al Ainsworth (@alainsworth) on
Oh, and another of my writing highlights: I sold and signed a few books along the way! That’s always fun for a writer.
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About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.