There’s something to be said for the camaraderie that comes with being part of a group of folks with similar interests.
I was recently invited to a writer’s group by a co-worker who is a published writer. Let’s just say it was not what I expected, and many of them weren’t thrilled to see me, either.
When my co-worker invited me, she knew I was a Christian/inspirational writer, and I knew her specialty was erotic romance.
Although our writing genres are vastly different, I did not expect majority of the group to be erotic romance writers. I thought to myself, “Why am I here? This is not the place for me.” When it was time to introduce ourselves, a few jaws dropped when I mentioned my area of interest. However, everyone was polite to me, perhaps even painfully so.
The mood was light for most of the meeting. Star stickers and applause were given for meeting writing goals. A gift card to a bookstore was given after a drawing.
It was particularly interesting when we began “speed mentoring.” The ones who had lots of publishing experience lined one side of the table, and novices were expected to circulate and get advice from them in 5-7 minute increments. If only you could have seen the blank looks I received when I plopped in front of a few individuals. At least two of them came right out and said, “Look, I really don’t know if I can be of any help to you.”
You see, I think they expected me to be judgmental, to act “holier than thou” and look down on them for their risqué choice of writing. And yes, while I may not have felt a sense of belonging, I determined to make the best of this situation. As a former journalist, I have been in many a situation where I was surrounded by different types of people but I couldn’t let the differences deter me from my job of getting what I came there for: content for a news story.
So I decided to turn the awkwardness around and glean something positive from this experience. I assured them we don’t have to write in the same genre for us to learn from one another. I think a mutual respect was formed. Here are three things I learned from the writers group that day:
Lastly but most importantly, I am so glad that I attended because I had a serious light bulb moment. These people were producing content and had experienced some success in their publishing efforts. This prompted me to ask myself: What am I doing? I may not desire to read what they have produced, but the key is that they are producing. How am I bringing glory to God in the gift He has given me, and the messages He has for me to share, if I am keeping it all to myself?
That day was a learning experience. At first I felt bad that all of these secular writers were on the ball with their writing careers, while mine felt like a sluggish freight train barely on the tracks. But a friend shared with me that sometimes God shows you things not to condemn you, but to motivate you.
This experience also prompted me to see the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference in a new light and appreciation. I already have a fondness for the annual conference that I’ve attended about 3 times, but there’s something great about gathering with other writers and sharing special times of devotions, prayer, instruction, and fellowship. The week is packed with awesome workshops, and opportunities abound to meet with editors and other professionals in our field.
I advise writers to attend various writers groups and workshops. Find where you fit. In your search, please include the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference. Whether your interest is in publishing your church newsletter or writing your first novel, there is a place for you. I can’t offer guaranteed satisfaction, but I can say this: Each conference, I left feeling revived, affirmed as a Christian writer, rejuvenated, and ready to take the publishing world by storm.
I am confident you will, too.
Powered by Facebook Comments