Friday, March 13, 2015

On Writers’ Conferences and Other Life-Changing Things

“Just call me Marci.”

Phil Callaway smiled. “That’s easier,” he said after confessing he was having a hard time deciding which syllable to emphasize in my name. Phil Callaway! I was standing there talking (and laughing with) Phil Callaway!

I had taken a leap of faith to get to the writers’ conference, held that year at Prairie Bible College, and I was already reaping the benefits. That was God Uses Ink, 199?  and I have attended almost every conference sponsored by The Word Guild ever since. I liked it when they changed the name to Write!Canada and moved to the beautiful campus at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre. The first few times I attended I was a bit intimidated but met some great people, other writers I could relate to and many who were to become mentors as well as friends, like Phil Callaway.

Most writers' organizations hold contests in conjunction with their conferences and Write!Canada is no exception. I always took advantage of that and benefited from the critiques and comments on my work. Now and then I even won a prize or two. It was a thrill and blessing to win the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for my novel, One Smooth Stone, at Write!Canada in 2007.

Receiving the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award, 2007
Being asked to teach at the conference was another special blessing in later years as I discovered the joy of watching students “get it,” take the skills I passed on and move forward to publish. Their endorsements encouraged me to pursue more opportunities to speak and teach and led to an added venue for my career.

And Phil Callaway wasn’t the only successful author I’ve been able to chat with. There have been many others, as well as agents and acquisitions editors.  They have inspired me and spurred me on in my calling. Last year’s keynote speaker had a particularly profound affect on me. I’m sure Ted Dekker’s words will resonate in my life for many years to come and being able to thank him in person as we chatted for a few moments just added the cherry to the top of the dessert.

I am often approached by people who want to write but aren’t sure how to get started. I always tell them about Write!Canada and other conferences like InScribe Christian Writers’ Annual Fall Conference. Attending might be the catalyst that breaks the inertia, the inspiration that lights a fire, the spark that turns a wannabe into a full fledged writer.

Are you in that place? Write!Canada is open for registrations now and InScribe’s conference will be soon. 

Take the leap of faith. You’ll be glad you did.