Lessons in Showing, Not Telling

Janalyn Voigt shares her conference reflection.

Robert Cornuke, the keynote speaker, had me laughing at the NCWA Writers Renewal Conference when he explained how, as a new cop with a shiny motorcycle, he was so busy admiring himself in a Target window that he ran into a car.  But really, I wondered, what did his experiences as a cop or as a Bible archeologist have to do with writing?

As the conference progressed, I shelved the question.

Earlier, when I’d paused to talk with Judy Bodmer, someone asked her if she planned to organize the conference again next year. She responded with a laugh, “Ask me next week!” It struck me then how tired she looked. We should help her more, I thought, and then realized I should help her more.

I also ran into a friend who was exhausted from hours spent critiquing manuscripts for the conference on a volunteer basis. We chatted as she hunted up a cup of coffee. How many people, like her, were running this conference behind the scenes? Probably not nearly enough.

This year I had the privilege of meeting in person some of my Facebook and Twitter friends. I went to dinner with a Twitter friend and another writer, who autographed her young adult novel with a personalization for my daughter. We had a great time forging friendships.

The second day, with my pitch appointments behind me, I could relax. It was time to visit with friends, talk shop and attend sessions. I appreciated NCWA’s introduction of a speaker’s track this year. The resource table was tempting, and did I mention the yummy food? I don’t know how I missed it, but I’d never tasted crème brulee, our dessert at dinner.  I see lots of crème brulees in my future.

During the open mic period, an attendee told how, when her brother had to miss the conference due to illness, Robert Cornuke had visited him in the hospital.

We were back to Bible archeology with the closing speech. I found the search for Mount Sinai fascinating, and it was fun to hear how, after Robert Cornuke appeared on national TV, his wife handed him the pooper scooper and sent him outside to pick up pet “gifts.” But really, what did it have to do with writing?

And then it struck me.

Judy’s tired face, my friend’s weary dedication, Robert Cornuke’s leaving the conference where he was celebrated to visit a sick man in the hospital, even crashing motorcycles and pooper scoopers: they all showed, rather than told about, humility.

Bible archeology was just the icing on the cake.

©2011 Janalyn Voigt


Janalyn Voigt writes  novel books.

“Flower of Life” by Janalyn Voigt, in THE BOOK OF SYLVARI, Summer 2011.

DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press in Autumn 2011.

Other publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008.  Visit her website.

3 thoughts on “Lessons in Showing, Not Telling

  1. Pingback: Lessons in Showing, Not Telling « Feeds « Theology of Ministry

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