Paying It Forward

Recently, I taught at a writer’s conference for the first time. What a privilege.


Somehow, I think being on the conference faculty conveys that I have authority and knowledge. Not if you could have seen me on the inside. Quivering mush is probably the best description. I’ve spoken in public before, including teaching large groups, but, this was a unique experience as nerves fluttered and palms sweated.


A sense of responsibility draped over me as the words “Don’t mess it up” echoed in my head. I was in a position to either do serious harm or open the attendees’ eyes to new ways to create word pictures, to tell stories that would honor Him and, at the same time, challenge and entertain readers. Like me, they felt called by God to write. Like most serious Christian writers, they wanted to learn the craft, improve their skills, become better tellers of the stories God gave them.


I experienced both the awesome opportunity and responsibility conference faculty have to pour into the students knowledge, insights, and tools as well as encouragement, counsel, and guidance. And I was reminded of all the conferences and workshops I’ve attended and of how the faculty fed me with knowledge and hope, of teachers who took me under their wing to urge me to develop my skills, to keep writing in the face of discouragement and rejection.


Here was my opportunity to pay forward all that they had given me,


It was a humbling experienced as I was once again reminded of how much I don’t know. Yet, it was also rewarding to see the attendees respond with eye contact, note taking, nods of their heads, lively discussion and questions.  The Father’s hand was on me, giving me words of teaching the craft, words of encouragement and support.

3 Responses to Paying It Forward

  1. Karen Power August 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Congratulations! 🙂

  2. LaWanda Bailey August 12, 2011 at 1:15 am #

    You are an expert, and others will learn from you as I have. Get used to the speaking circuit. I see it in your future.

  3. TNeal August 13, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    An awesome opportunity. A challenging responsibility. Glad you had the one and met the other head on.–Tom

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