I attended my first Write2Ignite conference in March 2012. I remember that my enthusiasm for the adventure barely overrode my terror. At the time, I didn’t have writer friends who wrote for children. Feeling quite inadequate, I went alone.
Taking that one brave step opened the floodgates in my writing journey. Here is a sampling of the blessings:
- I forged friendships with writers I still hold dear today.
- I connected with an editor from Clubhouse Jr. In a fifteen-minute session, I showed her the first picture book manuscript I had written. She offered kind and helpful advice. That particular manuscript still sits in my filing cabinet. However, I later wrote two articles published by Clubhouse Jr. It took roughly a year of edits for each of them before reaching publication. It was a long learning process, which grew me as a writer.
- After that first conference, I decided to write an article on a high school student making her first Christian film. I had a question I couldn’t find an answer for, so I contacted W2I workshop presenter Bill Reeves (founder of Working Title Agency). I had not taken his workshop, but I had mustered the courage to introduce myself to as many people as possible, including him. Not only did Bill answer my question, but he also opened a door of opportunity I had not expected. He offered an interview. After much prayer to overcome my fear of inadequacy, I conducted the interview. Taking that one step, I found I relish interviewing people and sharing their stories. It was the first of many interviews to come. It also grew my confidence to approach other people and initiate conversations, some of which have been catalysts of further writing projects.
- Although my article on the young filmmaker was rejected, and although it sat in my files for several months, I tweaked it and submitted it to AppleSeeds, which published it.
- After that first W2I conference, I sent a thank-you note to the W2I director. Further conversations followed, as well as an invitation to serve on the W2I Leadership Team.
- Serving on the W2I Leadership Team educated me in the many aspects of writing, including publishing and marketing. I learned a great deal from the excellent leadership team as well as from those who presented workshops. Using my newfound love for interviewing, I conversed with writers, editors, writing instructors, and publishers. Wow! Talk about a blessing! I learned a lot, and friendships blossomed from many interviews.
- One of the people God brought into my path during that first conference was Kim Peterson. Through her practical, hands-on writing instruction, I felt as though I had been given several shiny new tools to add to my writing toolbox. Years later, I’m still learning from her expertise and mentorship. We’ve become great writing friends.
Two main things made my first W2I conference meaningful to me: an even blend of the Christian atmosphere and the quality of instruction. If there were only the Christian atmosphere, I’d have been at a wonderful revival but would have left without furthering my writing skills. If there were only quality instruction, I would have left not fully understanding the call God had placed on my life. I would have missed the wonderful encouragement of and growing friendships with fellow believers. Write2Ignite is a huge blessing that has been instrumental in the training and focus of my writing journey.
I highly recommend the Write2Ignite Conference. Take that one brave step—even if you must come without a friend. Because if you do, not only will you leave with a bundle of fantastic instruction and inspiration, but you’ll also come away with a batch of rich friendships as well.
A freelance writer and blogger, Sally Matheny has published in numerous online and print publications, including AppleSeeds, Clubhouse Jr., Homeschooling Today, Practical Homeschooling, and The Old Schoolhouse. Speaking at events for women, children, and married couples, Sally enjoys encouraging them to be strong and courageous as they grow in their faith. A former public-school teacher, Sally has homeschooled for over fifteen years. In addition, she teaches history and creative writing classes to homeschool groups. She leads a NC junior historian club in association with the NC Museum of History. She and her bi-vocational pastor-husband have three children and one grandchild. They live in the foothills of North Carolina.