Friday, July 4, 2008

I'm a Dork Fish

On June 3rd, I packed up my suitcase with all the "business casual" attire I owned (not much, since my "business" requires clothing that can be messed up by kids! But I found a few capris, one skirt and a dress just in case). I hopped in my gas-saver vehicle and drove south to meet up with someone I had only met once. The woman from my writer's guild got her car packed up and ready to go (including the GPS navigational system). We got on the road and began our trip to Chicagoland.

We started getting to know one another by sharing about our ministries. She had magnets, business cards, pamphlets and a full speaking schedule.

I had an old 3 ring binder with a few papers I had printed out in a panic before I left. No business cards, no laptop, no cell phone. I was totally intimidated.

I pretty much imagined myself looking like a dork as I walked into the conference. Everyone would be busily typing away on their laptops and I would be sitting there scrambling for a pen in my overloaded purse and scribbling notes in my old journal.

Ok, that is pretty much what it looked like, but I discovered quickly that I wasn't alone in my dorkiness. My friend Michelle put it this way: "When you come to a writer's conference and meet everyone, you realize you don't have to lose 40 pounds to be a writer." Writers come in all sizes and shapes and "business casual" looks different on everyone.

I walked into my dorm room, feeling nostalgic about college days and met my roommate immediately. A mother of young children, like myself, she exuded warmth and kindness in her welcome. She asked, "So, what do you write?"

I just started laughing. She didn't think it was a funny question.

I don't know. What DO I write? THAT was the fundamental question. I came to Write to Publish with a huge question in my heart. "What in the world am I doing here?"

About fifteen months ago, the Lord gave me a vision to begin writing. Unlike many people who have a passion for writing, I didn't have a clear idea of why God wanted me to write. Lots of people have a burning desire to write about a particular topic - some challenge they have faced in life. I just knew I was supposed to write about what God was doing in my everyday life.

Which kind of sounds boring to me. What do I write?

Whatever God tells me to write. I wish I would have thought of that answer, but of course I just felt silly and giggled.

So, I began the next morning with a prayer. "Lord, show me which editors I'm supposed to meet and what to show them. Give me direction and a clear purpose this week."

The morning started off with a bang. The opening speaker was phenomenal! He inspired, touched and encouraged every writer in that room with his passion for the power of words to further God's kingdom.

I signed up for a few editors, still feeling a little unsure about what I was doing. The first editor was with I hadn't ever written a Bible study, but it sounded like something I would love to do. Usually, writers come to these meetings with a pile of work they've already created, but I came to this meeting empty handed. I walked up to her and began the interview with a question:

"I don't really have anything to show you, but I was just wondering what kinds of things are you looking for? What is that YOU want?"

And light shined down from heaven and God smiled on me.

"That's exactly the question to ask" she replied with a smile.

As the day continued, I met with three other editors who were happy with my ideas, my background and my work. I found out that sometimes it's better to come with an open heart and see where God might lead. Two editors give out assignments to a bank of writers and I have been added to their list. Woo-hoo!

Now isn't that cool? I don't have to figure out what I'm supposed to write, because they will call me and tell me what they want. I'm working on two of those projects right now!

On the last day of the four-day conference, I went to a session on publicity by Jennifer Schuchman. As she began the section on blogging, she asked if any of us knew what blogging was.

That's when the dork came out (to be fair, I had been living on very little sleep for 4 days). I raised my hand really high, waved it around enthusiastically, and said, "Me, me, me, I'm big into blogging!"

I might as well have stood up, jumped around the room shouting, "I'm a dork! I'm a dork! I'm a dork!"

Oh well. It's confirmed - I'm a dork, but I am still a writer with a vision. And as I found out, writer's can be dorks too.

P.S. If you don't know what a "dork fish" is, you can find from Bill Engvall out here.


The Olson's: said...

The YouTube clip was cute! But somehow, I don't picture you as a dork fish!

Congratulations on getting the writing assignments! You're right, sometimes when we think we're empty handed (and nothing good could come from it), that's exactly what God wants - our empty hand so HE can fill it up!
~ Leanne

Melanie said...

Heather, It sounds like the conference was great and I'm so excited for you and your new writing assignments. Isn't it great how God leads us right where we need to be even when we have not idea ourselves??

Have a great week!

eph2810 said...

Oh, Heather - I was smiling throughout the entire post...Well, I guess that makes me a dork too :) How neat that you trusted the Lord for direction and how cool that you got writing assignments. I am sure that the Lord will just give you the right things to write :)

Thank you so much for sharing your experience at the conference :)

Kathy S. said...

Heather, I love that story. It makes me think of young Mary, from little "dorky" Nazareth. She didn't need any pinasche or pomp to attract the attention of the Master!!

Chosen, called, equipped. No laptop necessary!
How exciting for you to be working on projects already!

Tiffany Stuart said...

Excited to know you are working on a couple projects. I'd love to know more when you have a chance. Email me the scoop.

Cheering you on...