I was recently asked: What is your goal when you teach at a conference?
I usually have several goals when I teach. One is not to confuse anyone or, as the Hippocratic oath, in essence, states: First do no harm.
My primary goal is to teach the craft of writing in a specific area such as voice, dialogue, plotting, characterization, etc. I seek to convey what I’ve learned over ten years as a writer to help authors develop skills and insights to make their stories come alive and touch readers. I firmly believe that the better we know and apply the craft of writing, the more effective we will be as writers.
My other primary goal is to convey a sense of why we write and who we write for. I believe many of us are called to write by God. It is part of his plan and goal for our lives.
As part of his calling, he does promise to equip us. But a large part of that equipping means work on our part.
We need to learn and practice the craft. This means finding conferences, workshops, critique groups and partners. We may write alone, but we don’t do it in a vacuum.
We need to develop a thick skin to handle rejection and criticism and we need to develop biblical patience and diligence.
We need to face the possibility that he has not called us to be published but to minister to ourselves and others through our words. A reader of an early draft of my novel, Journey to Riverbend, told me how much one scene had ministered to her and brought her closer to God. And, in my heart, I heard God say, “If that book never gets published, it still served my purpose because it brought her closer to me.”
If you’re called to write, write. Learn to be the best writer you can. And trust God to take care of the rest.