Wrong Place, Right Time
My hands were actually shaking as I walked into my first-ever writers’ conference. I’d seen an ad for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference and thought, why not? At that point in my life, I’d self-published a book, which whetted my appetite for more. I wanted to learn about the craft. But, did I really have the talent to write? What I needed most was encouragement.
That was my mindset when I stumbled into a classroom at the conference. A few minutes into the session I realized, I was in the wrong class. But by that time, I was entertained and captivated. And the presenter offered chocolate. Turned out, I was in exactly the right place, and not just because of the chocolate. Virginia “Ginny” Smith opened my eyes to a whole new world.
After the class, I gave her one of my books (newbie mistake #1), but she graciously received it and even claimed to like it.
I received more than encouragement from that first conference—I gained long lasting friendships—relationships I still hold dear today. I’ve returned often, and the practical lessons shared by the faculty over the years keeps me seeking, learning, and growing. In 2015, a novel I wrote won a Grace Award. This year, my seventh novel releases.
But it’s not just about becoming published or winning awards. I always enjoy the fun and fellowship that surrounds and infuses the writers conference. Most important, I’m given multiple opportunities to befriend and encourage new writers, and those who are struggling to find their purpose. In this, I hope to pass along the wonderful gift I received that very first year.
–By Betty Thomason-Owens
KCWC Planning Committee