My heart pounded intensely, as I realized I was next. Our instructor reminded us if we did not volunteer, he would call us on first in the next exercise.
Seated on the front row of a writer’s class filled with successfully published authors and aspiring writers, I had no quick and easy escape.
The class started out easy enough. I was confident and eager to learn. But those feelings had moved quickly into a state of panic and I found myself fearful of writing in a writing class.
He would bark out instructions, give us a couple of minutes, then sound the 30 second warning and call STOP. Participants would then read their words and receive appropriate “feedback”.
It seemed simple enough until I realized I was next.
How could I possibly describe a room in a way in which my audience could smell it, feel it and possibly even taste it (without licking the wall), in 2 minutes?
My mind was racing and I had nothing. Then I wrote a couple of words and scratched them out and wrote a few more. Time was ticking!
I wanted to scream at the guy behind me who was noisily typing (click-click-clicking) away on his keyboard. How dare he interfere with my creative thinking? I was a real writer. I had my notebook and pen.
And then of course, there was the voice in my head asking me why I even thought I was qualified to come to a writer’s conference in the first place.
Somehow, in the midst of this going on in my own little world, I managed to scribble out several sentences.
And I was terrified when he called my name.
At first, I reminded him I was a nonfiction writer in class filled mostly with fiction writers. I am not even sure why I felt the need to give him that information and he certainly did not care.
His response was not sympathetic and there would be no free pass for me. He simply said “BUT you’re in my class today so please read to us what you have written.”
And my words were given a quick praise by the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. I think that is when I started breathing again.
The unexpected pressure in this class, and many others this week, stretched my abilities in ways I could not have imagined. Five days of classes, workshops, and one-on-one appointments with editors, publishers, and agents pulled me out of my comfort zone and into the courage zone.
Can any of us ever hope to achieve success if we are not willing to get out of our comfort zone and into a zone that may be laced with failures?
This week at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference I met many inspiring people who are willing to risk failure to pursue their dreams of impacting people for God.
I am called to use my words for God through writing and speaking. But I do realize that the only words that really matter are the ones I live.
I pray that my words will save even one.
I pray that you will join me in the courage zone and do the thing that God has called YOU to do…
Because the biggest risk we take is not taking any risks at all.
Be blessed as you live life a Moment at a Time.
PS – Thank you to Alton Gansky, Conference Director, and everyone who had a part in making this conference such an amazing experience for me and countless others. May God continue to be glorified through each of us.
Two of the most courageous boys I will ever know…Zack had the courage to die and Nick has the courage to live on without a big brother. Love and miss you every moment Zack Attack!