Patti Lee is convinced that the minute we’re born, begin to write our own story. Soon creative thinking kicks in, and imaginations take flight. “When we can comprehend, we beg for trips to the library and discover the magical joy of reading stories for ourselves,” she says in a voice graced with a soft Texan accent. “We think then about our own story, the one that started with our first breath, and we wonder what the middle, climax, and ending will bring.”
Inspired to help students learn the craft of writing, for several years Patti has led a successful TeenTrack program—for 13-to-18-year-olds—at Spokane’s Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference. This year, she’s bringing TeenTrack to the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal. The program offers a pizza meet-n-greet on Friday evening, May 13, followed by an all-day conference on Saturday, May 14, with classes, activities, visiting industry professionals, contest winners, snack breaks, and lunch.
Participants are enthusiastic about what Patti offers. “I had the privilege to be in the TeenTrack last year,” says one 13-year-old, “and it was a great experience. Not only was the atmosphere fun and teen-centered, but I had the chance to be with other kids my age who shared the love of writing. We played some great games, shared our stories, and heard from several amazing authors.”
- Learning/improving skills in the craft of writing
- Current trends in the Christian publishing industry
- Information about future career choices for those who feel called to write
- Open-forum discussions with published authors and editorial reps
- Fellowship with other teen writers
- Writing games/challenges
- A writing contest
From the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest, Patti has worked in education and the arts and continues to encourage and mentor teens and adults in writing and the fine-arts and performing-arts fields. She specializes in cultivating creative gifts and in working with underserved populations and with those who have differing abilities.
“If you are a teen with the artistic soul that Christ has penned in you, follow the path,” Patti urges, “but do it well, so that those who read your words find the truth to be real, palatable, and beautiful. Learn the craft. Read, study, practice, and seek the teachings of those who have grown before you and earned the right to pass the mantle on.”
Patti refers to TeenTrack participants as “The Next Generation of Writer Warriors” and encourages parents to embrace their sons’ and daughters’ giftings.
“Education and experience is what will ease their angst of getting all those words from brain to paper,” she says, stating that even if young people eventually choose a seemingly unrelated career, writing and imagining will never leave them. “Gift them the opportunity to acquire the skills to do it well.”
Diana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and the coauthor—with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym.