As a writer, I often find myself bogged down in fear. Fear that my writing may not be good enough. Fear that I am too old. Fear that I don’t know how to write. Attending conferences gives me the insight to overcome those fears through encouragement, instruction, resources and reminding me that my writing needs to be covered in prayer. Encouragement – Scripture always give us new insight. When a speaker uses scripture to hit the nail on the head of my fears, I am encouraged to press on. Recently I was encouraged with the story of the disciples’ fear of the storm. Jesus told them they were going to the other side of the sea, yet they feared the storm. Jesus rebuked the sea and there was calm. They arrived safely on the other side, just as Jesus had said. They needed faith in what Jesus told them and they needed Christ’s assurance.
Instruction – I also fear I don’t know what I’m doing. The truth is, I often need instruction. I found instruction from Edie Melson on building my audience through social media. I also learned ways to use hashtags to increase traffic to my blog. I gained knowledge about plotting, first pages, and ending sentences from Nancy Lohr.
Resources – I like specifics. Workshop attendees are given handouts and class materials. I love taking notes in the conference manuals. It keeps me organized. At conferences, there are little extras for early birds that turn out to be big deals. At the Asheville Christian Writers Conference, Edie Melson gave us a tour of Hootsuite for help in scheduling social media posts. At conferences, there is access to editors, writers, and agents throughout the day and especially at meals and scheduled appointments. These are opportunities to pick their brains, learn to pitch books and articles, and just get a feel of the sweet spirit writers have for others who are called to write.
Prayer – May we always cover our writing journey in prayer, the greatest resource, instruction, and encouragement we can have.
This year as we prepare for the Write2Ignite Conference, I look forward to hearing several of these speakers again and being spurred on to write in a manner that ignites others to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
What are your writing fears? How might attending writing conferences help you?
Gail Wofford Cartee is a pre-K teacher in the Upstate of South Carolina. She holds a degree in Early Childhood from USC Upstate and an MEd from Southern Wesleyan University. She enjoys teaching a teen Sunday school class and writing. Her passions—creation, family, and teaching—often appear in her writing.
Gail comes from a family of storytellers—a background that sparked her interest in writing. She has contributed to Guardian Angel Kids and Country. In 2016, she self-published Tsali: Legendary Hero of the Eastern Band Cherokee, a historical-fiction picture book for ages eight and up. Gail is currently working on picture books about her beloved Appalachia, and she writes a weekly blog of family devotions at GailCartee.blogspot.com.