Well today concluded the Southeastern Christian Writers Conference . It was another good day. The workshops I attended today were Beginning Basics, Part I by Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress, Writing for Children by Alexandria LaFaye and How to Submit a Manuscript by Rick Steele. It was also encouraging to her another keynote address by Cecil "Cec" Murphey.
The first session was very informative by Lettie. She talked about needing persistence in your journey to have an article or book published. She gave extremely practical advice on how to get started. I have had the privilege to meet Lettie through our work on the Cleveland Christian Discovery Museum . She always inspires me. Her life story always touches me. As I sat and listened to her share how she began writing for publication, tears came to my eyes. Her 19 year old handicapped daughter, on her way to what would become her last drive to the hospital, asked her if she would remember her when she was gone. Lettie wrote her a letter to her daughter, which later was published, about all the ways she had changed her life. Lettie is an amazing writer.
As the tears welled up in my eyes, I began to really think about how some life experiences have forever changed me. I so wish I had keep a journal during those times. Several published authors talked about keeping journals this weekend.
I just told my husband that the Lord has placed Lettie in my life and although I don't see her often, I wish I did. She has really impacted my heart in ways I can't even put into words.
The next session I attended was on Writing for Children. This class was taught by an award winning author and Lee professor. She has also been attending First Baptist Church. It was neat to see her "at work". It is not often I have the privilege to see parents from my ministry in action. She did a wonderful job. It wasn't actually what I was looking for because I want to write to a much younger age group and she writes for older elementary children. However, I learned so much. As a part of her teaching us about dialect, writing narratives, setting, etc. she read portions of her books.............. one in particular I can't wait to read myself. It is Stella Stands Alone by A. LaFaye.
The last session I attended was by Rick Steele with AMG Publishers. Not only was his session extremely helpful but also very practical. Even as a newbie I followed his workshop. I will say I have always realized writing is a big job BUT never realized all there is on the business side of writing. I walked away a little overwhelmed.
I also met some new friends - I already told you about Hannah. I had the opportunity to talk with her over lunch today. Her outlook on life is inspiring and her smile is contagious. I also had the opportunity to meet Shelly who is a PhD student at UGA. I so enjoyed connecting with her over lunch and hearing about her dissertation and her mission work. I also loved hearing about her sister who serves overseas in missions.
I also met a couple who I hope to be able to get to know more in the future - The Vanderpools. I have read about them in the Cleveland Daily Banner. Pete and Joyce Vanderpool are active in several organizations here in Cleveland- not to mention Pete is Santa Claus. I was able to talk to Joyce about getting involved in the Cleveland Storytelling Guild. Currently I have a conflict with their monthly meetings but hopefully can attend soon.
Well, for a first experience I had a great time. I learned a whole lot. I have decided I need to spend some time praying about how to proceed with what God has laid on my heart to write. You see what He has impressed upon me to write for children is not your traditional book. It will take God paving the way for me to even have the opportunity to do the research for writing this book. It's out of my comfort zone and unconventional but I know one day several years ago He told me to write it. I really put it away because it is "out there" and to me really funny (God has a wonderful sense of humor you know!). However, yesterday in the shower of all places- God whispered to my heart again that He really meant for me to do this and He would provide a way in His time.
I learned last night that when you write a blog- you are a published writer. You see your written words are out there. I also realize that for the 3 or 4 of you who read this I have put myself out there and it is no longer something I can ignore. Please pray for God's timing and direction.