Written by Ginger Kauffman, NCWA member and Conference volunteer
My first meeting of NCWA last September was a little overwhelming. The location had changed since the one meeting I’d attended before so I got lost — really lost. I missed some of the preliminaries at the meeting and was unsure of protocol. But when I left I was sure of two things: I would keep coming back, and I would attend the technology conference that was announced.
On January 25, 2014, I joined 60 other people for the first ever Christian Writer’s Coach Technology Conference. People came from all over the state of Washington to glean from those who are using technology creatively and effectively and to network with others on the journey.
“Technology isn’t your gold,” he said. “It’s what takes down the walls around your gold. Content is your gold. What has God put on your heart, and who needs it most?”
Caleb encouraged us to invest in our writing. Read good writers, keep writing, go to classes and conferences.Build up your gold account by becoming a better writer
Give away your gold, he told us. “People notice free gold!” When Caleb wanted to reach out to teen writers he created an online community where he could mentor them. Through his website he strove to refine teen writers into “rock stars who were humble enough to listen and fearless enough to speak.” It was one way he was able to give away his gold.
As for those walls around your gold, those problems that stand in the way of getting published, use technology to bring them down. He encouraged writers to have a presence on social media. Not every avenue of social media will be a good fit for a writer. Find what works for you. Look into blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, other venues. Study them, and try them out. Decide for yourself if it’s something you want to incorporate into your writing life. “Stay at it long enough to fail, long enough to understand how it works. You have to fail to succeed.”
You know those rejection letters that can rip at your heart? Caleb’s suggestion is to consider them gold. They give you experience and insight into what you can do differently next time. How’s that for a positive outlook?
As a dedicated writer who can spend up to 16 hours a day at his craft, it was clear that Caleb practices what he preaches. He takes online classes every week — free classes he comes across as well as paid classes that will help hone his writing and his online presence. He currently has over 50,000 likes on his Facebook page, and he’s figured out the algorithms on Google so that his writing doesn’t get lost on the last pages of a search.
But it’s not just the things we do that make us writers. It’s that plus the God Things that happen — Him putting us in the right place at the right time, for example. Caleb shared a couple of personal stories how he “happened” to be in just the right place to meet people who took an interest in him and his writing and have played a significant role in his career. As Christian writers, we, too, can expect God Things.
Thanks to Caleb Breakey for his upbeat keynote address and for each one who led a workshop session. The day offered us great ideas to incorporate into our writing life. Let’s do this again next year!
Ginger Kauffman has spent most of her life talking to people in her head. Now she’s letting her voice be heard on her blog, Three Minutes to Nine. She has written over 1,000 blog posts about everyday life — telling family stories, encouraging through devotionals and hymns of the church, sharing good books and recipes, and introducing people who amaze her. She and her family live in Stanwood.