I haven’t been to a writing conference in years.
Years and years.
Well, until this past Saturday when I attended the first one sponsored by the newly formed ACFW Great Lakes Chapter.
I loved meeting other Michigan writers.
And I came away encouraged and inspired.
With a little yellow pad filled with notes.
Author Gail Gaymer Martin talked to us about “Our Dreams and God’s Blessing.” She reminded us that He gives us the desires of our hearts. (In fact, if we walk with Him, He actually places those desires in our hearts.) And since our lives and our time are in His hands, then our “success” as writers is, too. And sometimes it may come later in life as He gives us time to experience “stuff.”
I know about that.
Writing, she said, is a journey–often with detours.
I know about that, too.
It’s also a sacrifice. We have to give up some things–even good things–if we are to embrace it as a ministry.
As Christian writers, we have a responsibility to shine the light on our Author, and so we have to stay steeped in His Word and make sure we are faithful to it.
Gail also shared ideas on how to create and show real emotions to make our characters three dimensional and create tension.
And she gave examples of fresh language and even used the word “onomatopoeia.”
Now where have I heard that before?
Gail had us crying and laughing. And I had to buy her book, Writing the Christian Romance.
Tiffany Colter, Writing Career Coach, spoke on “How to Make it at this Writing Thing!”
What a bright light Tiff is! She just lights up a room.
Here are some of my takeaways from her presentation.
If God’s called us to write, He has a place for us.
We can earn a living at this writing thing.
Look at changes as opportunities.
We’ll never “arrive.” There’s always another step.
There’s no one path to publication, and there is not just one kind of writing.
A writer is a business with a product.
She asks, “What’s one thing to pass on to free up time?” and “What problem can you solve for someone?
Tiffany has an amazing testimony.
Andy Meisenheimer is not only an editor, but he is also an accomplished pianist. So he spoke on “Piano Lessons for Writers.” And as you can probably guess, he encouraged us to practice, practice, practice–even the hard, dumb, boring, bad stuff.
Andy gives a daily writing prompt on his Storypraxis site (not exclusively Christian), an opportunity to write, free-flow, unedited, for ten minutes.
So, of course, he made us do that during his workshop with the prompt, “two children.” We had somewhere between five and ten minutes.
Should I be brave and share what I wrote?
Okay. No laughing.
Lake shimmered blue. Sun baked sand. I watched two children–a girl about 8 with tousled blond curls and a younger boy–playing at the edge of the water. The boy ran back and forth to lake’s edge, brought pails of water to dump into the moat that the girl shoveled around the mounded sand pile. Shovel. Pour. Shovel. Pour. And I thought how my life had been like that lately. Shovel. Pour. Shovel. Pour. A seagull waddled down the beach. And far out in the water I could see the needle of a ship silhouetted on the horizon. Going where? Exactly. Going where? How do I get past the shovel-pour, shovel-pour and go somewhere? And where would I go? The children laughed and giggled. They stomped on their castle, squishing wet sand between their toes. Caught up in the moment. This moment. Now. Not looking at what had been broken or smushed–not concerned that . . .
So if you went to the conference, would you be brave enough to share your “piano practice” in the comments?
If you didn’t, why don’t you run over to storypraxis and give it a try with today’s prompt.
Still on a high,
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests. ~Psalm 20:4-5 (NIV)