Saturday, October 11, 2008

Giggles & Bows

A couple of weeks ago I attended my first American Christian Fiction Writer conference. I've been to the writer's conference at Mt. Hermon and the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College. All three of these events are wonderful. They offer opportunities to meet other writers and to connect with editors and agents. And if you are a writer like me trying to get your work 'out there', that meeting editors and agents thing is important.

But you know what the most important thing is at these least for me? It is that giddiness that comes when I finally feel like I'm with my 'own kind'. By that I mean, these are the people who understand why I'm still writing after being rejected by publishers more times than I care to tell you. These folks understand what its like to sit in front of a computer and wrestle with which word is best to describe the smell of a wet dog. My kind get that. Regular people don't. When I tell non-writer people that my first book was rejected 29 times before it was finally picked up by Howard Publishing, they look at me like they would a sad little duck who has been tarred and choice. But folks at those conferences get it and nod their heads with that little gleam in their eye and say, "Well, there you go!"

Another gift was that I got to room with a dear friend and sister-writer, Phyllis Nichols. We had met last year at Mt. Hermon. We became fast friends in California almost the minute she entered our little cabin pulling and tugging her suitcase and said, "Hey!" We both have southern roots and connected with the first "ya'll." (I've posted a picture of us taken at the awards banquet...I'm the stunning silver-haired one.)

I went to this conference with a list in my head of people I felt I needed to connect with in order for this conference to be a success for me. I had favorite writer's I wanted to meet and thank them for their books. I had writer's who I had only met online and wanted to hug them in the flesh. I had a couple of agents and editors I wanted to introduce myself to, etc., I prayed over this list and asked God to calm my spirit and to help me listen and let Him lead. And wouldn't you know, every single person on my list either came and sat beside me at a meal, or all of sudden were standing in line in front of me, or we'd meet face-to-face in the hall as we were running to our next class, or whatever. Every single one of them! Isn't that something?

I came home refreshed and inspired to keep at it. I had an agent ask for my full proposal as did an I was encouraged by writer's more published than I who sat and prayed with me about priorities, patience and listening to God's prodding.
Sometimes God speaks in a loud voice and sometimes He simply whispers. A couple of weeks ago at the conference, I experienced both. He spoke so loud I could do nothing but giggle, and at other times His whisper brought me to my knees. Blessings, friends. My hope for you this week is that you prepare yourselves to giggle and bow.

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