After I graduated college, I had a sudden pang of regret. I really enjoy learning more and pushing myself. I even loved homework.
So I enrolled in an online class about how to get published. The class was interesting enough, but in my own research into proposals and my experience being published in magazines and newspapers, it was all very elementary for me.
However, there was one lesson I took to heart. And it would change the course of my writing career.
The instructor encouraged us to find contests and submit our work. In researching different writing contests, I found the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and their contest for unpublished writers, Genesis.
At that point, my writing was raw and my story lacked a lot of meat. In fact, my whole manuscript was written more like a journalism piece than a novel, because I’d spent the last four years getting my journalism degree. So when I entered the Genesis contest and received embarrassingly low scores, I realized it was time to relearn everything I thought about writing.
ACFW turned into a resource I couldnt explore fast enough. I studied past course archives and drank in all I could. I joined a critique group and my writing has taken a total turn for the better. Even my story is richer, far more developed than I had ever imagined.
I’d been involved with other professional organizations such as the American Horse Publications and the Society of Professional Journalists. I’d experienced first-hand the value of networking and continuing education. Now, I’d discovered the gold mine for my fiction writing.
Interactions with the ACFW and local chapter, Portland Christian Writers, led me to discover the Oregon Christian Writers…And so the story goes.
For those not a member of an organization in their chosen field, I strongly recommend you look into it. Branch out. Join the group. Go to an organization’s meeting. Go to a regional or national conference. You’ll find more knowlege and resources than any book or website.
Another perk of the ACFW and OCW is connecting with successful authors and learning from their journey. For Monday’s post, I will have author Cara Putnam here to share her story and advice. She is the award-winning author of both contemporary suspense and historical fiction, including Canteen Dreams, Sandhill Dreams and Captive Dreams (Heartsong Presents). Please stop by!