Monday, August 6, 2012

Writing For the Love.... of Communtiy

Pepper, Mary, Casey, Angie, Sarah, Wendy
 I have been inspired lately--just by witnessing the fruit of other writers. It's easy to get caught up in this writing life and only be in it for "me", but when I open up and give a little encouragement, prayer, time, to those around me, the blessings overflow in a whole new way. Hope this post that I wrote last year inspires you, and also gets you geared up for the upcoming ACFW conference!

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Yes, folks. We're sometimes considered to be hermits, scribbling away in our writing caves, sipping on the upteenth cup of coffee, hunched over desks, frantically pouring out words as we listen to the voices in our heads...just typing that makes me want to go find a cozy spot and begin to create! BUT, God has taught me so much this past year, and by placing people in my life as I delved into the writer's community, I know that this craft is not a lonely one. It offers some of the most wonderful friendships I have come across, and I want to share with you all how the conference shed light on my variation of the old African proverb...“It takes a village, to raise a writer.”

It morphed based on three experiences I had at the conference: AUTHENTIC FRIENDSHIPS, FACE TO FACE HONESTY, WORSHIP AS ONE BODY

AUTHENTIC FRIENDSHIPS
Pepper and Ashley Clark
You can tell when someone is authentic. When they are showing you their true self and what their mouth speaks is genuine. Yes, we are all professionals trying to “sell” our books, but if you lose that authenticity, you lose what makes you YOU. I was surrounded by women ( Alley Cats, crit partners, new author friends, blog friends...) who were authentic, who didn't put on airs, who allowed their hearts to be worn smack dab on top of their neatly pressed blouses.
And I walked away knowing that I have a giant support system of which I wouldn't have realized if I chose to continue my hermitage (is that a word?)...I have friends out there who understand the passion I am driven by, and accept the humanness that causes me to stumble. When I was REAL, and others around me were REAL, God's light and providence was all the more evident.

FACE TO FACE HONESTY
I had the opportunity to sit with three editors and three agents this year. Yes, I was one of those who checked the board and snatched up appointments when someone I hoped to talk to was available. I have a harder time just striking up a conversation with an editor or agent in the hallway, so the designated appointments were gold to me.
I had some nibbles, but believe it or not, the ones that blessed me most were the “rejections”... particularly when an editor gave me a concrete example of how my story could improve... can I tell you I sat behind my computer and applied her criticism, and came up with a whole new layer of character development, a strong foundation for my novel's theme. Had I not been willing to crawl out of my writer's cave and expose myself to “the village” I would never be in the know of what people (the BIG people, the I-want-to-impress-you people) want to know!

WORSHIP AS ONE BODY
Angie and Melanie Brasher
There is a humility to know that every person in the room can cast off the cares of the same dream at the same time and fully submit to their Savior. And, to find hope when a successful author (Jenny B. Jones) blesses us with words from scripture, to share her experiences as a new writer, and know how much God has blessed her in this journey, was worth the trip to ST. Louis. To hear the testimonies of so many who are on this same path, fills a writer's heart and encourages us continue. Gather your pots, friends, God is willing and able to fill them with precious oils overflowing.

So, have you had any experiences with workshops, conferences, writing groups that help encourage and mature you as a writer?

16 comments:

Sarah Forgrave said...

Great post, Angie, and great reminder too. Getting that support in person makes all the difference sometimes, doesn't it?

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I've often felt carried by fellow writers on this journey.

I love this post and I'm glad you wrote it.
~ Wendy

Jeanne T said...

Great post, Angie. I love how you shared the three things that most encouraged you. Similar to what Wendy said, fellow writers have encouraged me when I needed it, helping me to go one day further on this journey. :) I definitely couldn't do this alone!

Casey said...

Wonderful post, Angie and so very true. I loved what you said at the beginning of the post about being authentic. LOVE that!

And yes, I agree with you. I had a wonderful suggestion from Rachelle Gardner that I just need to put into practice now. :-)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

The ACFW conference is just one giant, blessing, isn't it? And the only thing that makes it better are the people there--the support you receive from people you know and don't, friends you had before you went and friends you leave with. Nice post!

Mary Vee said...

Crawling out of a writer's cave can require great incentives. It's so cozy, safe, and snug.
Like most caves in the real world, they are are dark, echo our own thoughts, and bar us from those who'd like to get to know us.
The risk is great.
The adventure--mysterious-out of our comfort zone.
Maybe people will stare.
Ahhh, that is when God speaks "Come--come and see the lovely people I want you to meet. They will help, guide, and support you."
I cringe--should I go?
Sometimes I say yes....sometimes I am a fool and say no.

Laura Frantz said...

Angie, It meant a lot to me to meet you in St. Lou. Thanks so much for bumping into me and creating an authentic moment! Praying your writing and all else is going well for you - and that our conference memories warm us till next time round!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Angie,

I love this post and the heartfelt sentiments behind it. Can't wait to meet all of you! I've been so blessed by the online writer community and by the local one.

Krista Phillips said...

My 2 conferences had a HUGE impact on me. I SO SO SO SO SO want to go to Dallas! Fingers crossed!

sherrindaketch said...

Oh Angie, this post rings truth! It does take a village, because we would never make it all on our own.

I love you Alley Cats!

Angie said...

Hi Ladies!! So sorry it has taken me so long to respond to everyone! We closed on our new house today and are starting our venture living in a hotel for a week and a half! It has been exhausting and it's only day one! So glad this encouraged all of you. Thanks for the sweet words!
Laura- It was so great meeting you! One of my conference highlights!! Can't wait until Dallas! (Sherrinda!!! YAY!!)

Pepper said...

Ang,
I read this yesterday and loved it -but didn't have a chance to leave a comment.
Thanks for the reminder that though sometimes this writing journey may be solitary- it doesn't have to be lonely.

God DOES provide us with a village of encouragers, His hands & feet in our lives, to raise us up for His call!
Awesome reminder!!

Sherrinda said...

I am so blessed by this awesome community of writers. It truly is a gift!

Beth K. Vogt said...

I know I would have quit the writing road without the blessing of being in relationship with other writers. Q-U-I-T.
Great post, Angie.

Angie said...

Yes, Sherrinda! I can not believe how I stumbled upon this wonderful blessing...actually, I can not believe how God steered me toward it without my even knowing about it!! HA!

Beth, I am the same way! Would have totally quit without this community. Sad to think there might be others out there who have quit.

Melissa Tagg said...

Yay, I love this post and I'm now more pumped than ever for ACFW this year. Cannot wait!!

Writing conferences, relationships, writing groups--I need them. Probably even more than I need my beloved Diet Coke with Lime. They so totally energize me, encourage me, and convince me that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. :)