Community in Writing

Our May 3rd meeting guest speaker was Clint Kelly, Author & Speaker – On the Fiction Trail with Abe Lincoln.

While writing can be introspective and a bit lonesome at times, I found a way to mix up my love of writing with my love of connecting with people. Northwest Christian Writers’ Association (NCWA) is just the place to find that community and support needed in today’s writing market.

After an exciting and eventful weekend with my son’s wedding, I was tempted to stay home and vegetate on the couch. I remembered my commitment to take advantage of the resources available and better my writing. I made the decision to attend the once a month NCWA meeting and off I drove.

As I walk in, friendly people greet me ready to talk and share our latest writing adventures while waiting for the meeting to begin. Coffee and tea border the back wall offering a welcome aroma.

The devotion lead by Dennis Brooke started in unique fashion. Hands flailing, stepping precariously, Dennis made his way up to the platform blindfolded with the guidance of Lori Reichel Howe. Is this the blind leading the blind? No wait a minute, Lori did not exhibit a blindfold tied tightly around her head as did Dennis. The illustration quickly revealed Dennis’s point. He came to the group three years ago with his own perspective and writing agenda. Through the process of participating in writing groups and other resources provided by NCWA he gained refreshing insights on God’s heart in telling stories and teaching lessons through writing. Other writers gave him guidance. What a concept! Community orchestrated by the Holy Spirit!

Our “Write Start” activity continued the community theme as Lydia Harris spurred our writing skills. She encouraged us to write a letter to friends and family requesting prayer covering our writing. What better way is there to expand our knowledge and opportunities in writing than to enlist others to pray?

The night continued as we said good-bye in community style to our President of NCWA, Lorie Reichel Howe, as she moves to California with her husband. We applaud her skillful and devoted leadership. While we will miss her, she is family, and family is forever.

Our table discussion and networking time spotlighted our upcoming Writer’s Renewal Conference. It always amazes me how asking questions of another individual can offer insight into that person’s unique slant and creativity. I guess that is what I love about networking, digging beyond the surface of people and making a connection.

Our featured speaker, Clint Kelly, communication specialist for Seattle Pacific University (SPU) and author of novels for both children and adults, begins scolding us for not attending the party he invited us to. What party? I am quite fond of parties, surely I would have attended if I would have known. Laughter erupts as he continues his saga bemoaning us party poopers for not attending his “Pity Party”.

With a failing economy, changing needs of publishers, and answers to queries taking longer than ever, the writer’s market is challenging to say the least. Clint explained his plight, even confessed his frustration with God. Wasn’t it God who called him to write, so why the decline in his successful writing career? God was not invited to any of his pity parties, though I doubt God would attend that kind of party anyway.

Clint took us on his journey from pity to productivity as God led him to study the life of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. Characterized by President Lincoln’s melancholy disposition, frowned upon for his off-the-rocker wife and unruly son Tad, and noted for his guidance through the upheaval of the Civil War, good ole Abe remains steady and uncomplaining. So what does a disgruntled writer have to complain about? Time to stop sulking in the pity parties and move into reinvention.

Reinvention, Clint explained, is reviving, renewing, remaking, and changing the way you’ve always done it. There is that scary word for me, change. But I like how I wrote that article, so why after forty rejections am I refusing to make some changes based on the current need and culture?

Here are his prompts for reinvention:
* No Pity Parties
* Review Samson (Judges 16:22) “But the hair on his head began to grow again…”
* Read more writer’s magazines, writer’s digests, and web sites for writers. One suggestion was http://www.fundsforwriters.com/
* Take the time to research new writer’s markets.

The question I am asking myself, “Am I willing to learn new things and am I willing to work hard to increase my skills and knowledge in today’s market to increase my opportunities to share Jesus through my unique calling to write?”

You can visit Clint Kelly’s web site at http://www.clintkellybooks.com/.

Once again, I can go home with inspiration and encouragement from others who share my passion. I conclude I am not meant to write in a secluded manner, but to glean from the experience of others and offer my help when needed to benefit another writer who needs just the right word.

Kim McKinney is a writer and Life coach. She writes for Kid’s Ministry Ideas Magazine and VISTA. Her children’s interactive devotionals and stories encourage child participation and relate to issues surrounding today’s children.

She works individually with women and as a group facilitator coaching women to move forward in the plans God has for them. She lives in the Northwest with her husband. She loves to hike, bike, read, write, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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