Monday, December 28, 2009

Choosing a Biblical Writer as Role Model

By Les Stobbe, Literary Agent
2010 FCWC Faculty

Who is your writing model?

As part of celebrating 90 years as a magazine for writers the Writer’s Digest introduces the “secrets” of best-selling writers whose writing appeared in the magazine. For decades many of them have become models for writers.

While I agree that we can learn a lot from these writers, early on in my writing career I decided to focus on biblical writers as my primary role models. I loved the transparency, the honesty of David; the lofty, God-centered writing of Isaiah that inspired Friedrich Handel, composer of The Messiah; the purpose-driven writing of the apostle John; and the reader-focused writing of the physician Luke, which inspired my address, “Earning the Right to Be Published.”

Yet it is the apostle Paul that I turn to most often when considering my writing style. I never get the feeling that he is writing solely for the sake of spilling his guts or unloading information. In every letter he figuratively looks the reader in the eye and focuses on issues raised in a communication that came to him.

Consider his opening statement in Romans 1:8-10:
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times, and I pray that now at least by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.”
In the next verses he continues interacting with the Romans before he gets to what he has heard is troubling them.

That’s why I chose to interview the apostle Paul on becoming “The Authentic Christian Writer,” one of my workshops at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

Monday, December 21, 2009

10 Tips for a Terrific Writers’ Conference

By Jerry B. Jenkins
2010 FCWC Keynote Speaker
Owner, Christian Writers Guild

Take it from one who has been to dozens of writers conferences over the last nearly 40 years in capacities ranging from first-time attendee to speaker: there are ways to maximize your experience.

You’ll be happier and more productive if you follow a few simple guidelines:

1. Plan your itinerary carefully and don’t include errands and intermediate stops that may make you late or wonder if you’ll be late. There’s enough pressure at a conference without adding to it.

2. Get as much sleep as possible the night before you leave home; it may be the last time you get enough for a few days. You’ll need every ounce of energy you can store.

3. Plan to arrive with time to spare so you don’t have to start running as soon as you show up. Leave time to settle in, gather your materials, find the meeting rooms, and get ready to learn.

4. You’ll stay up late enough with the scheduled activities, so resist the urge to stay up even later, despite all the new friends and acquaintances. If you’re a zombie by day two, you’ll regret it.

5. Choose your workshops carefully and buy recordings of the ones you hate to miss. If you need to skip one for a nap or an appointment with an editor or speaker, do it.

6. Bring a little more money than you think you need. If you still have it by the end of the conference, reward yourself by buying that extra book or resource you didn’t expect to find.

7. Don’t trust your memory. Take lots of notes and, if a speaker particularly inspires you, buy the recording , too. It’s a small investment for an experience you can re-live whenever you want to.

8. Bring business cards that include your address, phone, and email address. Be prepared to exchange cards with many new friends.

9. When meeting with an editor or speaker, be prepared, plan to make just a point or two, and do a lot of listening.

10. Develop a thick skin. Every piece of published writing is a duet between editor and writer, not a solo. If you just want someone to love your writing, show it to your mom.

Writers’ conferences are almost always feasts for the senses, but it’s easy to overload. Everything is new and unforgettable, until you try to rehearse it in your mind on the way home.

Free time is built in, so strive to make every general session. Often the speaker you’ve never heard of turns out to be your favorite.

Visit Jerry at the following sites:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finding Your Niche... or Not

One of our 2010 faculty members, Renee Gray-Wilburn, recently launched a blog for writers called "A Way With Words Writing."

I love her tagline:

Encouraging and equipping those who love to write. Rescuing those who don't.

Renee shared links to some recent thought-provoking posts that I know you'll enjoy:

Finding your niche–or not

Renee writes:
"It’s good to be specific so you can begin to build your brand, and therefore your platform, and therefore sell your books. But wait…"
In the Hands of God

Renee asks: "Do you feel like a pencil in God's hand?"

Be sure to visit Renee's new blog and leave a comment!

Monday, December 7, 2009

What to Expect from Keynoter Jerry B. Jenkins

By Karen Whiting

Jerry B. Jenkins is best known for the mega bestselling series Left Behind (co-authored with Tim LaHaye). He says he can’t take credit for its success, as it’s a phenomenon that spread by word of mouth.

I recently interviewed Jerry and asked what can we expect when he comes to the conference and gives a keynote talk. He remembers the time he was unpublished and unknown and hopes to be an example who inspires us all to persist. He will tell stories and weave in hints and tips to help writers. Jerry wants to engage his audience to be touched by stories, motivated to write better, and laugh with him. Hopefully we will all come ready to do that.

What is Jerry Jenkins like as a person? I barely know him, but in interviewing him, one answer spoke volumes about keeping a balance between relationships and work. Jerry said:
“I keep family first. Fortunately our sons are grown, but we have five grandchildren, soon six, and we believe in investing time in them. I write when I’m on deadline, and then it’s all I do. I get away and hunker down.”
Jerry recently made the move into social networking because colleagues and his publisher insist it’s the wave of the future. On his blog he invites writers to share their stories. He has found these outlets fun. It’s good to know he enjoys interacting with writers and readers.

The legacy he’d like to leave is simple, but shows his priorities. I’m honored we made it in to his list: “Husband, dad, grandfather, writer, and teacher of writers.”

So come to the conference in March and be prepared to listen to one of the men behind Left Behind.

To learn more about Jerry’s views on mentoring and his tips for getting published, check out my article on Suite 101.

You’ll also find Jerry at the following sites:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Scholarships Available for 2010 Conference

If you’d like to attend the 2010 Florida Christian Writers’ Conference and need a little extra financial boost in order to attend, consider applying for one of our scholarships.

Our beloved Cec Murphey, who is well-known in the Christian writing community for his “give back” vision, has offered to provide scholarships for several writers to attend in 2010.

Another one of our faculty has caught the “Cec thing” and has also offered to give several scholarships.

In addition, we’re starting a brand new scholarship fund in honor of Christine Harder Tangvald. Christine (who will be co-teaching the Writing for Children Continuing Class with Carol Wedeven at the 2010 conference) has served at countless writers’ conferences. She has worked upfront, downfront, behind the scenes and wherever she’s needed for many, many years.

Christine’s mission statement is classic Christine:
We are a team, working together, to bring honor and glory to God’s holy name.
You may be surprised to learn that hidden behind the illuminating smile and ready wit lurks an award-winning author of over 100 picture books in 147 editions in 12 languages. She has over 3.5 million books in print, two #1 bestsellers/CBA and has been on the bestsellers list over 10 times.

If you’d like to contribute to the Christine Harder Tangvald Scholarship, please send a check to FCWC and note that it’s for the “Christine” scholarship fund.

If you’d like to apply for a scholarship, send (or e-mail) a brief bio, snippet of your current writing projects, and a brief explanation of your financial need to:

Billie Wilson, FCWC Director
2344 Armour Ct.
Titusville, FL 32780

Fax: 321-747-0246

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Conference Director Billie Wilson Needs Our Prayers

From Laura Christianson, FCWC blog manager:

Many of you know and love Billie Wilson, the FCWC director (if you haven't met her yet, you're in for a treat). You may not be aware that Billie's husband, Doug, has been battling severe health issues these past few months.

I asked Billie to share some details with us so we can be praying for Doug -- and for Billie -- as she attempts to organize a major writers' conference in the midst of life's turmoil.

Here's what Billie shared:
In 2004 Doug had heart bypass surgery which went well. He then got MERSA and it just about killed him. His health has gone downhill since that time and is subject to various ailments since that time.

His recent spa at the hospital was to treat a systemic infection that had settled in his knee. He came home with a picc line and I’ve been infusing with antibiotics for the past month.

He is getting the picc line removed today (Dec 2) and will begin a new round of oral antibiotics.

The worst thing of all is that he has lived his life to the fullest – a great participator in everything and now his life has become so narrow – from the recliner to the kitchen – from the kitchen to bed – from the bed to the recliner (I’m sure you get the picture).

My prayer is that he will just regain a small measure of vitality so that he can enjoy his family and the hobbies that catch his fancy.