2013 Conference Reflection by Sue Hitchman on: “Strategies for Beginning the Writing Journey.”

Sue Hitchman shares her NCWA Renewal conference experience.


Susan HitchmanI’m a rookie: an abecedarian, fledgling, freshman, greenhorn, neophyte, newcomer, novice and tenderfoot.  So when I observed Diana Savage’s workshop on “Strategies for Beginning the Writing Journey,” I saw my name in brackets just before the word “Beginning.”  This was definitely the workshop for me.

Setting up her well-organized PowerPoint collection of notes, Savage discovered a minor glitch, explaining, “My computer can’t recognize the projector.” Within moments help had arrived and we newbies were blessed with a clear presentation of the writer’s journey to being published (full notes of her lecture can be retrieved by clicking here).

My mind loves analogies, and Savage’s opening comment regarding computers and their need to recognize projectors (or vice versa) went into the “bookmarks’ section” of my brain. I began to see that Savage’s strategies are the connectors new word-dabblers like myself need in order to be successfully recognized by the projecting assistance of publishers.

Savage launched her lecture by encouraging us to identify our writing fortes. She described numerous specialty markets available for writers, as well as writing-for-hire opportunities, including the variety of traditional and self-publishing options that are available. I began to see that different projectors might adapt better to different computer sources. She described clear guidelines for developing the craft and for approaching the publishing market, including preparing for the ubiquitous rejection.

Many of these essentials of the writing world were revelations. Her outline of “What Editor’s Look For” found a niche at the top of my writing brain’s bookmarks menu:

1. Sharp Focus

2. Clean Copy

3. Appropriateness

4. Pizzazz

5. Reader Involvement

I know I’ll be referring to that list numerous times in my writing journey.

“You cannot get a ‘yes’ until you submit it,” was Savage’s call to action to apprentices of the craft of writing. Yes, we’ve been honing our skill, gleaning what we can from the authors we admire, developing our own style and niche. Yet without submitting our work, without taking that huge step to connect computer to projector, our content may never reach the audience we long to affect.

Sometimes we need a little help, no matter where on the continuum of writing we find ourselves. Diana Savage’s workshop was that for me and many other writing novitiates.  Click here to view Diana’s website.


Sue Hitchman is a new member of NCWA (2013). She seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, and women’s Bible study and prayer group co-leader. Sue writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God. 

Click here to visit her blog. 


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