Friday, December 18, 2009

Kindred Spirits in the Classroom
How God blessed me in 2009 - Part 3

How do you make a writing dream come alive?
I had a story idea, and wonderful historical details. I had a first draft outline (of sorts) and character charts with lots of scribbled and highlighted notes. I even had a collection of 1870s photographs of my location and its people. But where do you start and how do you know if you're heading in the right direction? In His perfect timing, God drew me to a cyber-classroom, and I gladly slipped into the back row.

Like anybody learning a craft, I needed to come alongside those who were also honing their skills in the same area. This is where the world of writers' blogs fits into my story. I began to follow and listen to what others were saying about their work and life as a writer. I was inspired and encouraged by those on the same path as me, only they were miles ahead and I had just opened the gate.

I discovered so many generous writers who take the time to share what they are learning and achieving. One pointed me to another and then another until I had a list longer than the hours in my day. Writer blogs and websites opened up a vast library of information, and one of the best was a link to the ACFW. 

My membership fee was worth every cent and then some, as I read the questions like minded people asked, and the well informed and thoughtful answers that followed.

From one link I jumped to another until I found -  a gold mine. All the lectures and seminars from last year's ACFW conference were mine to buy and download onto my iphone. Instantly!  For weeks I went around 'sitting' in on writing workshops and discussions. Every household task and car trip I made was accomplished in the company of respected writing teachers and their students. More about that here.

I signed up for an article writing course which introduced me to new friends and something I hadn't done for a while - homework. I joined mailing lists and e-loops which fed me information daily. Suddenly my inbox was bombarded by writer 'speak' from all over the world - and I loved it. With such inspiration and wisdom how could I not be motivated to grow the craft of writing?

Along the way, there were some who showered me with the affection of 'kindred spirits'. Their friendship and leadership have stood out as true gifts from God. Like the best of classroom friends, they came beside me and showed me around by offering help and motivation. They held out their hand and drew me along, cheered for me and whispered secrets they had already discovered.

I knew God had brought me to His choice school for learning. And I am honored to have these people in my life.

To honor them, I pass on this award of appreciation and gratitude, and as a reflection of my thanks to God for the writing friends He has brought into my life.