Tuesday, August 25, 2015
I've been putting it off.
Mostly due to my lack of believing I'm a writer.
And the fact that I haven't finished my novel.
Turns out, that doesn't matter.
I turned in the first 10 pages of my unfinished novel to be reviewed by a couple of agents.
I brought two of my children's books.
I brought several of my devotionals.
And I put my big girl panties on and decided to be brave.
We arrived and I immediately checked in for the boot camp.
A crash course in social media and establishing your platform...
I've never considered a platform something to have...I mean...wow, okay, gotta work on that.
I realized that I have a lot of work to do in addition to actually writing my novel!
Then we dove into the classes and workshops and lunches and dinners and meetings and panels...
It was 3 1/2 days of constant, unending inspiration and information.
I was overwhelmed.
But I learned so very much...
I learned something that will stay with me and shape my writing from this point on.
Some set up...
My underlying premise for writing is to share my faith.
I want to entertain.
I want to inspire.
I want to provide fun in word form.
Ultimately, though, I want to offer hope...I want to offer the possibility of salvation from hopelessness.
At least I thought I did.
The first day was a little discouraging.
Between a non-review of my novel manuscript - "Keep going."
I felt discouraged. I wanted something more...even a negative bit of advice...tear it apart...I've never done this, give me something to grasp and learn from...
Nope, I doubt the first agent had even read it.
And, really, I've heard agents don't want to be bothered with unfinished manuscripts, what if it's never finished?
But this was a conference, where people come to learn, so I learned that it's true...it's not worth their time.
Then I approached an editor to see if I could pitch a couple of devotionals (a huge risk for me...I don't just approach people...I don't just jump out of proverbial airplanes without a parachute!)
She told me that I had written for the parent and she was looking for parenting advise in dealing with children...not encouragement for parents.
Good to know...no harm, no foul. She was very nice. I didn't lose any blood.
Then we had dinner with an editor.
Editors and agents host tables at these conferences and you sit and eat with them as if they're normal people. (Turns out they are!)
We were going around the table sharing what we like to write and one of the things I shared is that I love to write encouragement for moms...among a host of other subjects.
"Moms don't read" was the editor's reply.
"I did" interjected one woman.
"You're the exception." he replied.
He's right, you know. They're busy wiping bottoms and noses!
So the discouragement settled right into my heart.
Maybe this writing gig isn't for me, I thought.
Maybe I'm not meant to be an author.
Maybe I'm not good enough.
And then we settled in for our keynote address from a pastor in California.
Write as worship.
My heart soaked those three words into its core.
And God spoke to my spirit.
You are not writing for you, you're writing for Me.
My heart shifted and discouragement packed its bags and left the building.
Material success and accolades weren't important, joy was what I sought.
The joy comes in writing the words for the glory of my Savior.
So the conference continued into the second day and the third.
I had meetings with editors and sold some devotionals.
I received another review of my novel that offered critique and encouragement.
"Interesting character and the writing is good"
I pitched my children's books and the agent liked them.
My heart was encouraged.
So, the take-away for me is that when my heart is wholly focussed on the One who gave me every ability that I possess, I will find success.
Success is defined by the amount of joy in my heart, not the dollars in my pocket or my name on the cover of a book.
*The inspiration I soaked up from that conference has sparked such a flood of words since my return from my vacation. I feared all of the information was dumped somewhere in Yellowstone National Park, but it's still knocking around in my noggin! I'm so thankful for the opportunity to learn from well-known authors and editors. They were so generous with their knowledge and experience. So, so grateful!
Posted by HA! Designs at 9:06 PM