Part 3 of my writing journey continues with this wanna-be-obedient-to-God writer enthralled by the speakers at Montrose Christian Writer's Conference.
Two dozen devotions in hand with no idea how or if they will become a book, I listened intently to each presenter.
"Write what you are passionate about." the author/teacher at Montrose said.
Ha! I'm passionate about a lot of things. Let's see. I'm passionate about my bath, I chuckled out loud at my own silliness. More seriously, I realized, I'm passionate about being a mom! And so I wrote, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms
Oh, if only it was that easy. The book came four years later, but that first writing seminar is where the direction came for my first book.
My advice to you: Write what you are passionate about. It worked for me and, I hope, it will keep you from hitting your own head hoping words and illustrations and titles fall into your brain. If you are passionate about a subject, that's what God has for you to write.
Most writers don't leave their first writer's conference with a book contract in hand. Publishers want to see your writing in print other places before they'll risk printing the book of an unknown writer. You need to start building a resume.
At Montrose Christian Writer's Conference, and most other writing conferences, attendees are granted 15 minute appointments with authors, editors, agents, and publishers of their choosing. These people will read your work and give you their professional opinion. A word of encouragement: Not all publishers will like what you write. So, if one publisher isn't positive about your writing, don't give up because of one opinion.
That first conference, I was too intimidated to meet with a publisher, but I did want someone to read my devotions and tell me honestly whether I could write or not. In the gazebo, I met with Gloria Clover who published a compilation of devotionals in her books, Penned From the Heart.
So nervous, I handed my work to Gloria. Quietly, she read a few, looked up and said, "How many of these can I have? I want to put them in my book." My heart stopped--at least it felt like it.
I was now a published writer. For the next two years my devotionals appeared in Penned From the Heart. My resume building had begun.
What did I learn that can help you?
~~Write what you are passionate about.
~~Begin building a resume by being published in a smaller market.
~~Learn how to write a book proposal and a query letter.
~~Attend a writer's conference where you will learn the business and meet people who will help you on your writing way.
I left Montrose resolved to return the following year with a book proposal and a manuscript of bathtime devotions for mothers. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.
Meanwhile, I suggest a hot bath so you can soak all this in. It worked for me!