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Joyce
Guest Blogger
Joyce Magnin

In my humble opinion there is no better place for writers to converge than at a conference. It is good for the body, mind and soul. Nay, I say it is imperative for writers to gather, all of one mind, kindred spirits, a singularity as it were of folks all looking in the same direction.

Well, I got to thinking about the words Writer’s Conference—I often think about words—and I came up with a few things that might help you decide to come to the conference or if you are already on board to feel pretty good about it. I know I do.

The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference changed my life, people. I mean it. Changed. My. Life. If it had not been for the conference, I would never have met the people who were instrumental in launching my career. I was shy at first but BAM! Success happens. Attending a conference is the best way to network, to begin to land on the radar of editors and other authors who can make a difference. Facebook is great but there ain’t nothing better than face-to-face.

So let’s look at the words Writer’s Conference and see what we can find.

WRITERS. Well stating the obvious is of course the word writer. And you know who you are. You know how many times you think, wow, that’s a great idea or I should really write a story or a book and then sadly the moment is quickly replaced by say, a screaming child or a flat tire. Well, here’s the thing, attending a writer’s conference is the one place a writer can be a writer. When that instant of inspiration or a light bulb turns on, you can simply reach out and touch another writer who would just love to talk about it with you. Even help you get it on paper. Not to mention the amazing opportunities for a WRITER to bring his or her stuff to a place and have it read by some really talented people.

Embedded in WRITERS is the word in TER, as in deter. How many times have you been deterred from writing? From starting that novel, finishing that story or submitting? Life is full of detriments to a creative life, but here’s the thing, coming to a conference will be the one place you go this year where you will not find things to deter you but things to TER you on and find your words inTEResting and help you determine where and when to submit.

Now let’s look at the word CONFERENCE. Hoki smoke Bullwinkle, lots of good stuff here. CONFER, yes! It means to grant or bestow. Here’s the thing, I hereby bestow and grant unto you the title of WRITER EXTRAORDINAIRE. And where do writers go? Conferences. That’s right.

Ah, but what if we shorten it and wind up with the word CON? Oh boy, how many times have you felt like con artist, a fraud, a person without talent, a person your family kind of humors until you walk away. Here’s the thing—we all feel that way. Even authors who have published dozens of books feel like a con sometimes. But, attending a conference will do so much to help you feel, well, bestowed upon, granted the title of writer—even if you still have a hard time wearing yourWRITER badge at home. We’ll let you take it out, polish it to a fine patina and proudly wear it.

And that brings us to the back end of the word—ENCE. As in: CONFIDENCE. Yeah we can get you some of that. But you have to come and please, whatever you do, don’t leave your words at home. Bring them. We’d love to see what you’re working on.

Some more words to consider:

AUDIENCE—Ain’t nothing wrong with having an audience or sitting in the audience and listening to some really amazing speakers. It’s good for you.

BIOLUMINESCENCE—Okay, maybe a stretch but think about it. The word simply means to make your own light and let it shine in dark places. Umm, isn’t that kind of the point?

EXCELLENCE—Personally one of my favorite words. I believe all artists, writers need to strive for excellence. And let me tell you, a conference is the best place to make some headway there.

Now I could go on but maybe you should find some of your own words. In fact why not write them down and bring them. Maybe we can find a place to display them. What’s your ENCE or TER?

Seriously, the July 29 – August 1  Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference is the place to be this summer.

___________________
Joyce Magnin is the author of nine books including two middle grade novels. Her most recent middle grade was awarded a Kirkus Starred review. She says, “I never wanted to do anything else but write and every day I wake up astonished that I get to do what I always dreamed about.” Joyce will be teaching three workshops at the 2015 conference: “Let’s Focus on Your Fiction,”  “The Sound of Your Story,” and “The Truth about Sow Don’t Tell.” She is also one of the instructors for Teens Write on Thursday, July 30. Visit Joyce’s blogs at www.joycemagnin.blogspot.com  and www.joycewritesforyoungpeople.blogspot.com.

Possible And Impossible Keys Show Optimism And Positivity
We are pressed on every side by troubles,
but not crushed and broken.
We are perplexed because we don’t know why
things happen as they do,
but we don’t give up and quit. 
2 Corinthians 4:8 TLB

But maybe you are really, really close to quitting – to giving up on what you felt God is calling you to do or to write. Honestly, haven’t you wondered why, when you’re trying to serve Him, He doesn’t make it easier? How does He expect you to keep pushing through all the obstacles? It just doesn’t make sense. And you’re so exhausted.

Yep, I’m writing from personal experience. This week has been a nightmare of trying so hard to get everything ready for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference but encountering problems every step of the way.On Monday Cindy and I lost Internet access off and on for several hours. Then Tuesday the printers wouldn’t go online. Exasperated and stressed, I purchased a new modem Wednesday that we tried to install today. Six hours and no Internet access most all of that time later, I finally got the old modem reinstalled and was able to get online so my son could remotely change settings that are way beyond my expertise to figure out. He even got the printers networked again.

In the midst of all this, a crisis in my extended family has consumed more valuable time. I am exhausted. And yes, the deadly Ds of discouragement, doubt, and even despair have been threatening to overwhelm me. But God . . .

 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
Psalm 139:7 (NIV 2011)

Especially when I cannot feel His presence, when my prayers seem to be bouncing off the ceiling, I choose to keep believing in His faithfulness. He is strengthening my faith muscles for the even more difficult days that are ahead for Christians in our nation. I don’t feel strong enough to withstand the persecution I believe is coming, but the weaker I am, the more I depend on Him.

Friends, we cannot, we must not, give up doing what God is calling us to do. We need to trust Him and not grieve Him by our lack of faith. And remember, “Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, he remains faithful to us and will help us, for he cannot disown us who are part of himself, and he will always carry out his promises to us” (2 Tim. 2:13 TLB). Thank You, Father!

Conference Updates

2015 CCWC Banner
It’s not too late to register! Walk-ins are welcome, but if you register online through May 9 you’ll save the $15 late fee. (I call it the procrastinator’s fee!) We’ll be glad to work out time payments if needed.

Banner 2015 GPCWCAnother really exasperating challenge I had this week was pulling up the latest Access database of names to create the mailing list for the brochure that is now off press. You can imagine my distress when I discovered a number of missing names. So . . . if you’ve been to a recent conference but don’t receive a brochure within the next week, please let me know. You can access it online, but since it’s 16 pages, it’s helpful to have it in booklet form. You have until June 1 to register at the early price. The first 75 to register receive an additional free appointment so don’t delay.

Faith rockTrust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Some of you know that it took five years and rejection slips from 42 editors before the first book I wrote was accepted for publication. Before that I struggled for several years to finish the manuscript. Self-doubts, and to be honest, God-doubts had me close to giving up many, many times.

The “deadly Ds” – disappointment, doubt, discouragement, even despair – were my frequent companions. What kept me keeping on?

  • Promises such as Galatians 6:9: “Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up” (TLB).
  • The very first words I ever felt the Lord speak to my heart: “Child, I never said it would be easy to follow Me, but I have promised always to be with you.”
  • My husband who has never told me to go get a “real” job even during times when things were really rough financially.
  • My pastor who paid my way to my first writers’ conference and held me accountable afterwards to use what I learned.
  • Friends who year after year babysat my three children so I could go to the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference.
  • The network of writing friends who encouraged me, and Gayle Roper and Anne Sirna who mentored me.

Yes, it took many long, discouraging years but that first book did get in print. The rest – seven other books, the Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conferences that I direct, the 70 conference faculties I’ve been honored to serve on, and my day-long writing seminars that I’ve given around the country over 50 times – are the fruit of abiding in Him and trusting Him to do what I could never do in my own strength.

The key really is trust, especially when the deadly Ds threaten to derail me. I’m learning that I am free to trust or to doubt, but when I do not trust, I grieve the Lord.

I want to encourage you not to give up and to make registering for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference a priority. The price increases May 9 so don’t delay. (Registration is also open for the July 29-August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. The 16-page brochure is off press. If you’re on our mailing list, you will receive your brochure this coming week.)

  • If the evil one is bombarding you with the deadly Ds, trust the Lord.
  • If the logistics of childcare for your kids seem impossible, trust Him.
  • If you can’t see how to fit the conference in during a spring packed with activity and demands on your time, trust Him.
  • If you need more encouragement to overcome your self-doubts, trust Him and click here.
  • If financially it seems impossible, trust Him. Be bold. Ask family, friends, or your church to help. Apply for a scholarship. Even though it’s past the deadline, I will still consider requests for partial scholarships as well as requests for time payments.

Father God, thank You that You know the plans You have for us and our writing – and that they are good plans. Help us to trust You when we face the deadly Ds. Thank You for all the incredible people You have brought into my life these past 19 years of directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 32 years directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Thank You for all You have done and all You will do as I trust You.

Discouraged face
Years ago my beloved friend and mentor, Lee Roddy, admonished me that I was “listening to the wrong voices.

“Like me, you’re probably all too familiar with those voices that make us question and doubt that God can use us.

Sandy Quandt, a frequent attendee at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, writes,

We allow stuff to hold us back from becoming the person we were created in God’s image to become. We put self-imposed road blocks in the way of the Holy Spirit’s working in us. The shackles bind and restrict, yet we falsely believe we will never break free. . . . Read more of this powerful message at http://www.sandykirbyquandt.com/take-those-shackles-off.

Barb Haley, the appointments coordinator and bookstore manager at both the May 13-16 Colorado and July 29-August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference shares her experience as a first-time conferee 16 years ago:

I’m reminded of the time just before my first conference when I didn’t feel like I was really ready to go. I didn’t know if I was a writer, and I felt guilty squandering our money just for a fun trip. Our finances were tight at the time, and I wondered if I were being a good steward of the money God gave us. As the days before the conference ticked off, my anxiety grew. . . . Read more in Rick Marschall’s Monday Morning Music Ministry blog post, “A Mountain-Top Experience Accessible to All” at http://bit.ly/1DvtZ2F. Rick’s blog was birthed at CCWC and has almost 100,000 hits and is reprinted internationally.

I can so identify with Barb’s feelings. My pastor sent me to my first writers’ conference about 40 years ago.Talk about anxiety! I got lost on the way to the conference and felt even more lost once I arrived as it immediately became obvious I was out of my league. If my pastor hadn’t paid for the conference, I wouldn’t have stayed. But I did stay, and that conference changed my life!

There’s still time to register for the Colorado conference before the price increases May 9.

Online registration is open for the July 29 – August 1 Philly conference. Our 16-page brochure will be off press tomorrow. If you’re on our mailing list, it should be in your mailbox by mid-week. If you’d like to be added or to receive a quantity to share with your writer’s group, please email me at mbagnull@aol.com.

As you seek the Lord for His plan for your life and your writing be encouraged by the Scripture He led me to this morning:

“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied)
are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him,
who expect and look and long for Him
[for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy,
and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!”
Isaiah 30:18 AMP

HimalayasPlease pray and ask Father how He would have you respond to this message from my friend, MK, a missionary to the Himalayas who has spoken at the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Judith Dupree, serves on MK’s board. She says: “MK is a worker of miracles, a veritable Paul or Peter to the people there. I have been with her for years, and am increasingly amazed at the way HE has used her!”

Greetings from the Himalayas!

Thanks to those of you who inquired about how to help and where to send funds. Your concern is greatly appreciated! It is extremely important that the people see us as God’s hands extended. Aid is coming in from all over the world but the people need to see the love of the Lord in this relief. That means those of us who live here and reach out are key!

This morning the newspaper said the death toll has reached nearly 3000 which means probably 3500 by now and the injured at close to 7000!    For the injured there is still time but we need to act .

UNICEF estimates 1 million children in urgent need of food, water, shelter and blankets. Just today one of my colleagues in the capitol informed me that he and his wife and 18 month old baby were living outside due to their home being severely damaged! The aftershocks  could cause it to collapse. I felt so helpless and began to count our resources to see how we can help him and others get into another place.

I m also very concerned about the children as their lives are at stake in smaller villages where many were killed and injured. My asst and social worker comes from one of those villages that was hit very hard!

To answer  the question as to how to give: 1. You may send a check to us at the address below to our PO Box or  2.  The easiest way for you to give is to clic on the link below and paste into your browser and go to our youcaring.com site of : crisisofhimalyanmt girls. Here is the link below.

www.youcaring.com/nonprofits/emergency-crisis-of-himalayan-mt-girls-/300578

Thank you for caring and may God bless you!

MK
Brand New Images
P.O. Box 50582
Colorado Springs, Colo. 80949

Easy?

“I never promised it would be easy
to follow Me,
but I have promised always to be with you.”

These were the first words I felt the Lord speak to my spirit many years ago. I admit the first part of His message was not really what I wanted to hear then or now. After all, He could make it easy, or at least easier. He knows I’m committed to doing what He calls me to do, so why does it have to be so hard? Why do I constantly encounter problems and obstacles? I’m weary of the stress and time pressures – of feeling like I’ve got a target on my back. The spiritual battles are intense.

I’m often reminded of the apostle Paul and how he begged the Lord not once, but three times, to take away the thorn in his flesh.

Each time God said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people” (2 Cor. 12:9 TLB).

So I choose to rely on the fact that He is with me – and with you. He loves us too much to allow our faith muscles to become weak and flabby. He uses the attacks of the evil one to draw us closer to Him and to teach us to depend on Him and on His promises. And friends, it is our testimony to going and growing through the difficulties we encounter that will speak far more strongly to unbelievers than a problem-free life.

Conference Updates

CCWC banner with lodge 2015It’s hard to believe that I’ll be leaving for Colorado in a little over two weeks. There is still so much to be done. I’m so grateful Cindy Watkins is here from North Carolina. I’m trusting the Lord that “he will see to it that everything is finished correctly” (1 Chron. 28:20 TLB) – and in time. Speaking of time, there is still time to register and to request one-on-one appointents with our faculty of 55 authors, editors, and agents.

Banner 2015 GPCWCI’ve worked all week on the 16-page brochure for the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly conference. I’ve encountered far ore unexplained problems than usual, but finally it is done and at the printer. You can view it online at http://philadelphia.writehisanser.com/brochure.

RhinocerosGuest blogger
CCWC & GPCWC faculty member
Marti Pieper

As a little girl, I excelled in school. Even before I was old enough to earn A’s, I received E’s (for “Excellent.”)

But there was one area in which I didn’t excel. Look at my second-grade class picture, and you’ll find me on the front row: cat’s-eye glasses, red cheeks, and clasped hands.

I donned my first pair of glasses earlier that school year. But the red cheeks and clasped hands? Those appeared a few minutes before the photo shoot, when two of my classmates told me I pressed too hard when I colored.

The problem (and subsequent sobs) came not because I thought I was a great artist, but because I wanted to do everything right. Hence the tears and red cheeks. Hence the soggy tissue stuffed between those clasped hands. Hence the consistent report- card comments: “Does not receive criticism well.” “Needs to work on responses to criticism.”

My teachers could well have said, “Needs to develop rhino skin.” These ponderous mammals have skin more than ten times as thick as the human epidermis. We’re talking tough!

So yes, I needed to develop thicker skin. I needed to understand that not everyone would like what I drew (or wrote). And I needed to gain the strength to persevere no matter what.

Today, I believe that my tender heart is a God-given quality, part of what makes me a good writer and intercessor. But if I’m not careful, my sensitivity can also drag me down, leaving me stunned and silent after a negative review or trembling after a harsh conference critique. And, if I’m not careful, it can block my desire to improve my work.

At the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, in a special Early Bird workshop on Wednesday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m., I’ll teach about “Rhino Skin: Why We Need It and How to Get It.” I’ll share how I moved from the tearful second-grader to the writer who has no more fear in giving or receiving critiques of her own. And I’ll teach how you can grow that tougher skin, too.

Unless you’re a zoologist, you probably don’t care about the thickness of a rhino’s skin. But as a writer, you should care a lot about the thickness of your own. Join me (it’s not too late to register for the conference) and we’ll learn together.

P.S. If you missed my tongue-in-cheek poem about Sam-I-Am and the CCWC, check it out here. Enjoy!
__________

Marti also will teach workshop 6F, “Blogging Success,” at the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference for Rick Marschall who is unable to be with us. At the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Conference she is teaching a continuing session on “Master the Memoir.” In addition, along with Ava Pennington, she will serve at the appointment desk at both conferences. Thank You, Father, for the faculty You have provided for both conferences and for all You are doing and will do.

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