Writing is a solitary work. We sit in front of their laptops and computer screens, drawing verbal pictures to expand on lessons or experiences that have filled in the colors of our lives. We want to connect our ideas to the world, yet we thrive on the quiet imaginarium that churns between our ears. It’s no wonder that the world doesn’t quite know how to portray writers when the make a cameo appearance in TV shows or movies.
Into this disconnect between personal and public life steps the writer’s conference. Like Olympic gymnasts and swimmers who compete alone against the clock, writers work as individuals. Yet even the greatest athletes arrive at the games as part of a team. They live in the Olympic village with their brothers and sisters who share a bond. Their teammates know what it took to rise to the top of their sport. They share early-morning practices, and the personal sacrifice it takes to become an Olympian.
Long before the world takes note and the cameras roll for the final race, the athletes’ team mates are in the stands cheering them on through the qualifying rounds. Their friends provide balance and perspective when an athlete is too focused on his or her own weaknesses, or the next hurdle. The community makes the athlete stronger. At the end of the games, they stand together to receive recognition for their reward.
At a writing conference or in a committed writing community, writers of all levels grow and improve their writing skills through the same experience.
Before our first or next book hits the shelves, we find friends who encourage us.
We gain insight from those who have walked the road ahead of us, and learn about all the things we didn’t know . . . that we didn’t know.
In a writing community or conference, we learn about the marketplace, and what a publisher expects if we want them to print our work.
I started writing 12 years ago, and after early success my computer screen and writing tablet went blank. I tried to walk this solitary writing journey on my own. Before long, four years had passed, and I hadn’t written anything. In 2008, a writing community helped me get back to work on the calling Jesus put on my heart in a hotel room in Texas, January 2000.
Jesus taught us through is life, words and lifestyle, and the lesson I was slowest to learn was the latter. Jesus, God in the flesh, carried out his ministry in community. He was God. He could have done it all on his own. Yet Jesus set the example for his 12 closest friends that ministry takes place in the context of community. In a redemptive community, we are individually responsible, but together we find the balance, accountability, courage and strength.
About Timothy Burns
Tim Burns writes and speaks to connect the dots between what Christ-followers say we believe and how we live. His work is socially conservative, culturally relevant and well researched from a biblical world view. He provides social media marketing services for authors, artists and publishers through Visible Platforms, and is the host for a Word Weavers branded Blog Talk Radio Show, The Writing Show where the weekly he talks with authors, editors and publishers about Platform, Passion, Community and the writing Craft.
Tim also teach freshmen English at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI, manages social media promotion for the multiple organizations, and is a contributing editor for the West Michigan Christian News.
WRITER’S TIPS is a weekly column for Christian communicators with tips and information about various aspects of writing. Our panel of experts are published authors and publishing industry professionals.