As you read the title of this blog you maybe asking why would I decide to write about a Writer's Conference. Glad you asked! Tonight I attended the 1st Annual Southeastern Christian Writers Conference. It is being held tonight and tomorrow at a church in Cleveland. The focus of the conference is called - "Beyond Barriers: Writing for Maximum Kingdom Impact".
Now, back to why I am attending this conference. Over a year ago I shared with a new found friend- Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress that I wanted to write a book for children. She recommended I attend a writer's workshop. Several of those were in the summer and I was unable to attend. Actually, summers are pretty busy in my line of work and so I thought I'd never get to venture down this path. Until Lettie sent me info on this conference. Despite still being really busy from our church's move AND Fall Festival 9 days away- I took the plunge and decided to attend.
I am glad I attended. Not to mention it was very informative tonight but I ran into several people I know AND I met some new people. I had dinner with a lady from my church who is writing a book and I was encouraged and impressed with hearing her journey. I also was very encouraged and challenged by talking with a new friend Hannah. Much to my surprise I also ran into Jennifer Mathewson Speer. It was great to see her smiling face and hug her neck. I have attended several Women's Ministry events including a retreat where she was the speaker.
Tonight we heard incredible songs glorifying God from the Voices of Lee. The keynote speaker was Cecil Murphey. Mr. Murphey or "Cec" is best known for bestsellers 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). He spoke about "writing well means you must live well." He shared about being real and authentic in your writing. He says that although you must go in depth and share from your heart that also means we will learn things about ourselves that we don't necessarily like about ourselves. Murphey shares that "a good writer touches your emotion on some level" and you should "open your self up so your writing truly comes from within." He also quoted Danish theologian and philosopher Soren Aabye Kierkegaaard- "Life can only be understood backward, but must be lived forward." As I pondered that statement, I realized how true that really is. Often it is only after a trial, tribulation, challenge and the blessings of life that I truly see the "BIG" picture of what God is teaching me. The ability of looking backward is an incredible gift but oh the living it forward is where the "rubber meets the road". That is where it is hard stuff. Hard but good.
My favorite thing Mr. Murphey said all night is how "the more he tells someone about who he is, the more that person responds." Think about it. Isn't that so true. I think of those in my path who openly share with me. They share their life, their kids, their joys, their hurts, etc. I am naturally closer to these families. This is what doing life together is all about. It is one of the beautiful things about being a part of God's family.
Breakout sessions followed the main session. I attended Internet Writing and Publishing a book. The evening was emceed by State Representative Kevin Brooks. The Bradley High School - Bears Bistro provided an incredible dinner. It is an amazing program at a local high school that teaches students all about running a restaurant. They learn every aspect - cooking, cleaning, business, etc.
I look forward to what tomorrow brings and eventually I will share that the children's book I want to write is actually what I feel God told me to write several years ago. Pray I will be obedient to Him. Obedience often requires us to step out of comfort zone and this is most definitely the case with this venture for me. We had to identify barriers for us in writing. My top three are - fear, lack of time and poor grammar (which you have most likely already noticed)! Will you pray for me as I follow this path?