BLOGGER: MARCI SEITHER
HOW WOULD YOUR LIFE BE DIFFERENT?
My husband walked through the room as I began repacking my suitcase for the umpteenth time.
“What’s up?” he looked at the pile of clothes strewn across my bed and the tall stacks of writing samples and business cards I planned to take.
“You are only going to be at the writer’s conference for four days. Why do you need five pairs of black shoes?” he asked.
I felt my lip quiver and the familiar tightening of my stomach. “What if they find out..” The words stopped.
“Find out what?” John asked, realizing that I wasn’t kidding around. The tears at the rim of my eyes were real.
“They find out that I am NOT a real writer.” I sighed.
That was in 2002. I had worked all summer lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons so that my teenage daughter and I could attend a writer’s conference together. After looking online I found one that sounded great and only a few hours from where we lived. Calvin Miller and Randy Alcorn were the keynote speakers and they had a teen track for Emma and an article track for me. Perfect.
I had my samples, my spreadsheet of editors who would be attending and what they might be looking for, and all of the outlines from the classes I might want to take.
The interesting thing was that I had been a published humor columnist and article writer for about two years for a small town paper, but I never considered myself to be a writer.
My writing adventure started after a story I wrote about a cookie baking fiasco with my kids appeared in the local paper. I would have never sent in anything if it hadn’t been for my mom’s prodding. After my husband and I, along with our three kids, moved from my home state of California to Minnesota I began faxing updates to my mom, who encouraged me to get them published.
“They are just funny to you, because they are about us,” I replied.
“No,” she responded. “The whole office enjoys reading them.”
I swallowed. The whole office! Obviously they didn’t know I wasn’t a writer.
In fact, if there had been an award for “Least likely to be published” in my high school yearbook I would have won, hands down. I was the only student in the history of Ponderosa High School to ever be demoted from electric typewriter back to manual typewriter. I also never read a book that wasn’t assigned and read in class. When extra books were required to be read and reported on for English, I lied. I made up the book, the author, the publisher, and created a believable story line that usually involved espionage and cold-war tactics. I just made sure I mentioned that it drug in the middle or didn’t have noteworthy characters.
Yet there I was, in my room surrounded by shoes and paper, having visions of someone looking over my pieces and advising me against quitting my day job.
It was about the third day of the conference when I called my husband outside the little cabin room Emma and I shared. I had been to the critique center earlier that day to have someone look over my samples.
The woman on the other side of the table chuckled while she read over the humor piece I brought. Finally, she looked up and said, “You are a really good writer.”
Tears stung my eyes as she gently handed me a Kleenex. She understood.
I will never forget my first meeting with Barbara Curtis. She was one that encouraged me to keep writing. We stayed in contact until she passed away a few years ago. She was one of many wonderful people who helped encourage, instruct, and even critique my work over the years. She inspired me to write to the best of my ability.
That first conference was so precious because it helped solidify the fact that God has a plan for me, even if I didn’t feel worthy or capable. In fact, the Bible is full of unworthy and incapable people that God used so really, am in good company!
I have only missed a few years since 2002. Each year I learn something new. Each year I find that The Lord uses something or someone to help me along in my writing journey.
I think it might have been Lee Roddy who said one time, “Writers write. Waiters wait. So stop waiting and start writing!”
How would your life be different if someone you trusted said, “You are a writer”?
Guess what? If you are reading this, chances are that God already did.
So start. Commit to giving Him your best.
What are you waiting for? Register now for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference.
Note to self…only one pair of black shoes is really necessary, however, you might want to bring a small package of Kleenex, I will be in the critique room waiting to help cheer you on.