The Writing Connection

Writers’ Conference

This is Part II of a story about God’s dream and plan for my writing. Part I appeared two days ago here.

It began last year with the American Christian Writers Conference. I was dragging my feet about going as my writing was a ringer for the round file. Then I heard that another blogger Janis Cox had arrived in Phoenix to spend her winter months away from the depths of snow in Canada. We began chatting online, and I mentioned the writers conference. Enthusiastically, she said she would pray about going as she would love to go and bring her book,Tadeo Turtle.” I knew that cinched it. I would be going to the conference.

Graciously, Janis invited me to stay at their home to save me a three-hour round trip trek to home and back. I’d never met her and we’d only connected a few times through our blogs. It seemed out of the ordinary and quite generous. I accepted.

Each day’s workshop presented practical tips and techniques on how to write salable article, stories, books, devotionals. Best of all were the one-on-one meetings with one of the conference speakers. It was here that God shed some light on His plans for my writing dreams.

Different-Kind-of-Yes by Holley Gerth

Different-Kind-of-Yes by Holley Gerth

I had the privilege of speaking to life coach and author Joan C. Webb. We discussed my writing style and the conditions most conducive for me to create. I recalled my days as a public relations specialist and mulled over what I liked best about that setting. Brainstorming ideas with other writers hit the top of my list followed closely by the structure provided working on a monthly publication. I knew what stories I would be covering, when the article was due, and I had an editor I could count on to suggest areas that needed reworking.

Based on the information I had provided Joan and the fact that I had somehow managed to score in the extrovert range on her quiz, she urged me to go find a team that I could work with. The revelations and suggestion were startling. First of all, I expected the secret to getting published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” or some other outstanding publications. Second, I never expected to work with a team again! I thought I was now writing solo–you, know, Freelance.

I was delighted that extroverts still had a place in the writing world. I have no idea how I qualified as an extrovert. I never reach out first to talk to someone I don’t know. I don’t entertain much because it ties me up in perfectionistic knots. And I’m always the last one to arrive at anyone’s party. I make a nice observer.

On the hour and a half ride back home that day, I mulled over Joan’s advice. But where was I going to pull a team out of a hat? I had no intention of going back to work (especially at my age) for a major corporation. They would probably laugh me out the door.

4Tucson Magazine, 1st Issue

4Tucson Magazine, 1st Issue

That was the beginning of November and nothing had illuminated my cerebral cortex as to how I would continue writing. Within the week a woman called our home inquiring about my interest in joining the Media Arts Domain for a Christian organization called 4Tucson. Hubby and I had signed up at their table one Sunday to volunteer with the organization in different areas. My heart beats for helping in the schools or working in social service areas. Out of the blue, Hubby checked Media Arts. I looked at him as if he had lost his engineering brain, and said, “What do you think we are? Hollywood types?”

When the director of this domain called, I told her emphatically that my husband had made a mistake and we really had no experience in that area. Then she asked the million-dollar question. “What is your background?” A smile sneaked across my face and I screwed up my lips as I squeaked out, “Writing.” “Well we have a writers’ group, and I’m sure you would be of great help,” she said.

I laughed. God had maneuvered my path to just where He wanted me. To a place where I would thrive. To a place where He could use whatever little talents He had given me for His glory.

There was the team of writers with whom I could brainstorm, just like Joan had suggested. There were the stories with deadlines. And soon there would be an editor to validate my writing.

Would you believe I met the editor at our local Christian writers’ group? At the first meeting I had ever attended? In a place where my shy extrovert side shot my hand into the air and I volunteered as the group’s publicist? Had I lost my mind? I couldn’t believe I was volunteering amongst a group of people I didn’t know.

By January of 2014, we had our first 4Tucson writers meeting and the team eagerly volunteered for assignments listed on the white board. By February, I was clutching my notebook, white knuckling Hubby’s iPod recorder that I had never used, and walking into an auditorium papered with life-sized photos of children. I was covering my first story in decades.

When God creates the dream, you just go along for the ride. He’s in the driver’s seat, and He knows the way. He knows exactly what your heart needs and how to give your life a great purpose.

I can’t believe I’m living a God-sized dream.

Thank you, Lord, for this ride. It’s awesome.

For I know the plans I have for you,โ€ declares the Lord, โ€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

You can read more inspiring stories of how God works in others lives at “Women to Women.” Stop in and discover who else may be experiencing just what you are going through.

 

Linking with: Sunday Stillness, Spiritual Sundays,ย  Winsome Wednesday

From My Heart To Yours,

 

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16 thoughts on “The Writing Connection

  1. Janis, this is so exciting. I love this. I love how God is in every detail and how He brings dreams to life. This is way cool!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Janis, I am actually in awe at the way God orchestrated all these things in your life! Though I shouldn’t really be surprised! He loves to work this way! What an adventure you are on – and I couldn’t be happier. Your writing talents shine, and I’m so glad they have a bigger audience now.

    Keep me posted. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning!

    GOD BLESS!

    • Hi Sharon~He is a pretty Awesome God!!! I am on a wonderful adventure. I just need to keep listening to where He wants me and not get caught up in other things as well. It’s interesting that you thought my writing talents were visible here because I did not feel creative or look for just the right words, picture, or mood to create my scenes in this post. And I like to do that. I felt that was missing as I tried to get this story out. Much more like reporting with a feature flair.
      Love you and blessings, Janis

  3. God dream for you and his leading continually amaze me. How He brings people together and urges us on as His dream continues to unfold. You are with a group that can influence your entire city for God. Thank you for sharing your interesting post with us here at โ€œTell Me a Story.”

    • Hi Hazel,
      God’s way of leading is amazing. It’s far beyond my comprehension but it makes me so grateful when He finds a path to lead me down that is surprising and fulfilling at the same time.
      It was a blessing to share at “Tell Me a Story.”
      Blessings,
      Janis

  4. Pingback: Reporting Comes to Life - Heart-Filled MomentsHeart-Filled Moments

  5. What an amazing writers journey. I can remember your beginnings and now see how far you have gone with it. God is so good to us if we sit back and let Him be.

    • Bobbie, it has been an amazing journey because it was all His leading, and I never expected anything like this. Taking our hands off of our dreams, plans, expectations is the hard part. Letting Him work His plan is always the best when we can let go. I know you understand.
      I see the Lord taking you on a special journey as well. And it is beautiful as He uses your artistic gifts. I wonder what His plans are for you.
      Love you,
      Janis

  6. Janis,
    You had me in goosebumps reading this post. I knew some of what you were doing but seeing it written is such a testimony to God’s work in your life. I got excited too as I read.
    My life changed as well last year. Now however I am back into the cocooning, listening and waiting period.
    We will have to connect again soon. We arrived a week ago Thursday and I think I am starting to adjust. ๐Ÿ™‚ very hot though – not complaining – just hard to work outside.
    Blessings as you listen to God.
    Janis (the other one)

    • Janis, you were such an integral part of God’s writing plan for my life. Isn’t it amazing how He uses us even when we don’t know He’s doing that?
      Let’s definitely plan some time together while you’re here in AZ. I look forward to that.
      Blessings and Love,
      Janis

  7. Janis, this is truly inspiring to read how God just connected the dots. I agree with Joanne your words create a sense of renewed hope for me. Wishing you many blessings as you continue walk out your writing journey.

    • Hi Wanda~it blesses me to know that the story of how God has led gives you renewed hope! You already shine for the Lord in all that you do on your blog–what you write and how you find others with wisdom to share.
      Great to be part of your adventure.
      Blessings,
      Janis

  8. Janis, I so loved reading all that God has been unfolding in your life! You have been on such an exciting journey. You have infused me with such hope & expectation that the best is yet to come ๐Ÿ™‚ May He continue to bless your writing and open doors for you which will delight you!

  9. Great article!! Happy you are using your God given gift to the Gloryof Him!!

    • Hi Ceal,
      This story has been percolating inside of me since the beginning of August. I’m so grateful for this 31-day writing challenge even though I haven’t been able to participate in all of it. The challenge lit a fire under me to write my story.
      Remember, we each have a story and a purpose even when the vision is clouded for awhile. Just look at my life to see that!
      Love you my dear friend,
      Janis

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