Dear Friends, Happy Autumn! What a beautiful season of falling leaves, sentinel mums on the front stoop, and pumpkin-headed straw people. Geese fly overhead, honking "Good bye, see you next year!", and last spring's split wood is brought in near the fireplace.
I know I still owe you a report on "What I Did on My Summer Vacation", but today I'm excited to tell you about a more recent adventure. I had the joy of attending the first annual New England Christian Writers' Retreat at the Singing Hills Conference Center in Plainfield, NH. From Friday through Sunday, we learned to decode the publishing industry, laughed at the riskiness of title selection, and came to appreciate the simplicity of our own stories. We also ate... Yes, three breakout sessions a day, with snacks and 24/7 coffee, the kitchen taught delicious 3-dimensional lessons in hyperbole (or the culinary equivalent thereof).
Please check out the smiling faces and joyous testimonies of the weekend on FaceBook at the Christian Writers' Retreat, and plan to join us next year. Whether you've had a book rolling around in your brain for years, or just wrote your first haiku, whether you "see" plays as you walk the aisles at WalMart or notice poetry in a grocery list, whether you compose your annual Christmas letter throughout the year or send out the last hand-written note in February, you need to be there! It is a place of equipping and encouragement, and neither you nor your writing will ever be the same.
Sadly, the things you won't see or hear on the FB page are those words from the general sessions and breakouts that were meant specifically for you. One illustration that struck me and will motivate me through my personal challenges was given at the closing service Sunday morning. The speaker cited Joshua, Moses successor, who was the one to finally lead Israel into the Promised Land. He and his buddy Caleb and 10 other spies had scoped it out 40 years earlier. Joshua and Caleb had come back reporting: "Yeah, we're good to go. The LORD is giving it to us. Let's do this thing!" But the other 10 hesitated: "Uh, not so fast - were you looking at the same Promised Land we were looking at? Those people are huge. We can't fight them." So, fear postponed God's promise, and the nation wandered around for 40 more years!
The speaker simply asked, "Do you have 40 more years to wander around?" OUCH! I did the math. Granted, I have Mom's genes, Mom who at 92 still drives her car and weeds her garden, Mom whose own mom passed at 94 but who herself is showing no signs of slowing down - even though I'm so richly genetically endowed, no, I really don't have any more time to wait ... to consider... to think about going forward with this writing-thing.
Have you been putting something off in your life until "the right time"?
until "you're better at it"?
until your desk is clear?
until the kids are out of the house?
until your spouse listens?
Stop waiting, considering, planning to start - START!!!
I'm here to encourage you and to assure you that TODAY is your time to
___ (Fill in the Blank) __ .
I had lunch with one of my actresses from the community theatre yesterday. She just happened to mention that she has 3 chapters of her book written, which now sits in her bedroom, staring at her every time she walks in. But her hour-long commute to work, and her daughter's after-school activities, and her house renovations...
Let me cut to the chase:
GUESS who is going to be my roommate at the retreat next year... and between now and then,
GUESS who is going to get her book finished!
STOP wondering if! STOP wandering around in doubt! BE strong and courageous and GO for it!