I just typed the title and already I realize it’s misleading. Perhaps “A Refinement of Direction” or “A Clarity of Direction” would make more sense, given what I plan to write about. But I’ll stick with what I’ve got, as unraveling uncertainty is part of today’s theme.
I attended my first writer’s conference today, the Mid South Christian Writers Conference (that’s me at my book table on the right). It at least met if not exceeded my expectations in every way except one (more on that in a moment). Without going into too much detail, I learned much about my trade, and perhaps more importantly that there is much more I don’t know, and even more I don’t know I don’t know.
I wrote “trade” because today I realized, or may be accepted, that writing is my trade (not my only one for sure; I need to pay the bills after all, and my writing trade experience just isn’t there yet). But I see the word “trade” as the migration from hobby to profession. With that comes greater responsibility, and greater goals.
I chose this conference as my inaugural one because 1) it was not too far a drive (about 4 hours) and 2) I had decided recently that my trade calling is not just writing fiction, but Christian fiction. And not just Christian fiction, but Christian fiction on dark, tough topics to show hope. That may not have been my first choice for my specialty, but sometimes when God calls you to write it isn’t what you expected.
Leaving Darkness (about healing from depression) began that path for me. As I’ve written about here before, writing that novel (and now marketing it) was and continues to be a direct response to God’s call. It’s a good idea to respond positively when called, in addition to being an honor. Well, I’ve become fairly certain this past week what my next novel will be about. For now, I’ll just say it’s another heavy topic with a Christian message and lesson.
I decided this directional change, or refinement, or clarity before the conference, but what I received today was validation through conversations with those much further along in their direction. Therefore, some aspects of my public-facing writing persona, including this blog, will change, I hope for the better. To that end, let me emphasize I love feedback, good and bad.
As for the one expectation not met? I didn’t sell any books today. It’s tough to sell to an audience of writers, but what I didn’t get in sales I received more in encouragement, advice, and directional coaching. That’s worth much more, “in my book”.