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Jenkins hands out writing wisdom to Taylor students

Well-known author speaks at Thursday workshop

Erin Fuhr | Echo


Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the popular Left Behind series, visits Taylor to share insights with professional writing students. (Photo provided by Jerry B. Jenkins)

“I’ve written so many books, my kids tease me . . . they’ve now decided that I’ve written more books than I’ve ever read.”

Jerry Jenkins, author of more than 180 books, shared writing-related advice and stories with Taylor students and faculty in the recital hall of the Smith-Hermanson Music building Thursday.

Jenkins, best known for the “Left Behind” book series he wrote with Tim LaHaye, hosted a workshop geared toward professional writing majors and other interested writer. His talk covered topics from baseball to procrastination. Whatever he was sharing, his words helped his audience relate to his big dreams, the way he started small and his tendencies towards procrastination.

Jenkins explained how he got into writing through a different passion from his childhood.

“When I was in high school, I was a baseball player . . . my dream was to be a big league baseball player. I got hurt playing football — I should have stayed away from football — and to stay close to the sports scene I started writing sports stories for the high school paper. I wasn’t good, but I realized I had a knack for it because I’d been reading the sports pages all my life,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins then explained that he worked as a stringer for a local newspaper, and that his mom had to drive him to all the games because he didn’t know how to drive.

Procrastination was another topic Jenkins embraced in his talk. “It might encourage you to know that I am a procrastinator. It’s almost a prerequisite for writers.”

He said that his procrastination used to stress him out, because he had so much to write between his deadlines. Then he shared his solution: “Your subconscious is working on the material when you don’t think you are. You need to just embrace it and let it happen. And then when you’re writing, all that stuff will come out. So I don’t stress about it now.”

Jenkins’ connection to Taylor goes beyond sharing a love of writing. He has been a guest speaker on campus three times before and has donated money for scholarships.

“Christian or secular, this is the best writing program in the country. I believe in how Doc (professional writing professor Dennis Hensley) runs this, that he’s got kids writing and selling their stuff from day one. I just really believe that.”

Jenkins said the goal of the workshop was that he really wanted young writers “to see what the possibilities are if you really want to be a writer.”

“I’ve written nonfiction and fiction, I’ve written for kids and adults,” he said. “You’re really not limited if you want to give yourself to the task and I think my biggest message is that you never stop being a student and that you’ve never arrived.”

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