A Turtle’s Journey…or Maybe a Clownfish


So this is me. This is where I am. I won’t always be here. I’m on a journey. Sometimes I feel like I’m barreling ahead, and sometimes I feel like I can barely crawl. Mostly I’m at least upright and moving at a decent turtle’s pace, but hey, it’s always forward.

I’ll be going to my first writers conference next Thursday. I’ve been a roller coaster of emotions. I’m exhilirated to meet new people, to learn new things from inspiring teachers, and to walk into a world where I feel at home.


And I’m nervous, because though, I feel at home in the writing world, I’m one clownfish in the big sea. (I know… you’re thinking how can a clownfish go at a turtle’s pace?)

I don’t plan to walk in there and think my dream will happen overnight. It could. But most likely it will not. This is the best I can do: I can pray and ask God to put me in the path of the right people. Not necessarily people who can help me now, but be there for me in God’s perfect timing later.

And hopefully, though I’m not a published author yet, I still have something to bring to them. Maybe it’s just a good laugh to break the ice. I’m pretty good at ice breakers. Or maybe, I can encourage another writer who’s crawling and made it to the conference in spite of their doubts. I don’t want this to be all about ME and MY book and MY feelings and MY career or MY ministry. I want to be a blessing too. (Ok so my blog is about me. That’s why it’s my blog. Just go with me a minute or however long it takes you to read.)

So maybe I stumble in a pitch, I just pray God only allows their ears to hear a symphony. Maybe I get asked a question about the industry and I don’t know it and probably should. Fine. I just hope there’s a distraction, like maybe Will Ferrell will bust through the Hyatt, hollering, “We’re going streaking…through the Quad!”. I’m playing of course, but here’s my point: I can’t worry so much about everything that might go wrong that I miss a chance at something so very write.  (Get that…;) little play on the word right! Just helpin you other turtles…or clownfish out.)

And I know something will because God works everything out for the good of those who love Him. That includes me. Will an agent turn me down and say my pitch won’t work for him/her? Probably. Will an editor tell me my material isn’t what they’re looking for? I’d put money on yes. BUT, if I walk away knowing that maybe I’ve made a new friend or future colleague, then that’s good.

So here are my realistic goals for the Writing for the Soul  Conference Feb. 10-13. I give you the dates because I ask if you remember, say a prayer for me. Not to land an agent or an editor(although if you feel led, by all means) but for God to do something good, and that I won’t need Him to smack me upside the head to see it. Because that generally hurts. (and also you can pray these goals for me)

1. To meet  2 critique partners. A cord of 3 strands aren’t easily broken.
2. To walk away with knowledge I didn’t have before.
3. To  not pass out and die when my first page is critiqued in a workshop. (Because it’ll give away that it was mine.)
4. To meet other writers who can share this awesome journey with me, because they understand; they’re in it too.

Those are my realistic goals. Anything else God decides to do is just icing on the cake. And I do love a good buttercream icing. Yum!

Share with me your experiences at writers conferences? How did you meet your critique partners? Any words of advice?
If you’re not a writer, what journey are you on and what animal do you feel like?

5 thoughts on “A Turtle’s Journey…or Maybe a Clownfish

  1. I love love love writers conferences! I went to my first ACFW conference in 2005, and have gone to every one since then except for 2008. I met my first critique partner there, and we're still close writing friends.

    I also love love love the My Book Therapy Storycrafters retreat. At that retreat, I met my writing support group. We met as strangers and left as lifelong friends. Only God.

    Before I attend a conference or retreat, I pray and ask God to use me to be a blessing to someone else.

    Oh, I think one of my Ponderer friends is going to your conference–Ginger Takamiya

  2. Thanks, Lisa. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll have to try and find your friend, Ginger!

  3. I'm not sure how I found your blog, Jessica… maybe via Twitter, but I sometimes do the blog-hopping thing and end up somewhere that God had in mind for me all along. 🙂 Just wanted to say hello, and say that I've been going to the Surrey International Writers' Conference (SiWC) in Vancouver, Canada since 2004 and I remember how nervous I was the first time. I needn't have been, because being immersed in a crowd of like-minded people was a wonderful experience. Sure, I was a small fish (clownfish?) in a big pond, but we were all writers and it was so exhilarating!

    SiWC isn't a Christian conference, but it's the largest event in Canada and I met some wonderful people (including James Scott Bell last year). I've pitched to agents who asked for partials and full manuscripts and later said 'thank you but no thank you' in various polite and encouraging ways. It was all good. So just go with the idea of learning all you can and meeting great people, and it'll be a worthwhile experience.

    Blessings to you.

  4. Carol, I'm so glad you visited! Thanks for sharing about your experience. What do you write? 🙂

  5. I freelance for various magazines providing non-fiction articles. My passion, however, is novel writing — it was women's fiction at first, now faith-based romantic suspense for which I hope to find agent representation. Come visit over at my blog if you'd like to: http://wp.me/haYw


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