Thursday, May 11, 2006

AG: Delaware Days


I'm just back from Delaware where I spent the better part of the week talking to budding writers and as usual, I enjoyed every moment of it. (Well, everything except the air travel. Out of the five legs of the trip three were delayed, a connecting flight missed, and my blood pressure tested. I have a new tagline for the carrier: “We’ll get you to your destination…someday.”)

The Delaware Christian Writer’s Conference went well, expertly handled by John Riddle. The seminar is one of the newest and brightest stars in the thickly populated writer’s-conference constellation and I’m hoping for a return invite. The people who put on such conferences don’t receive enough credit. The amount of work and risk is great and most of it happens behind the scenes.

The thing about an author teaching at such a conference is the irony. On the one hand, folk like me love to hang with writers. Writers understand each other. They see the odd character traits and overlook them, mostly because they have the same quirks. Yet on the other hand, the writer-teacher is raising up his/her own competition. Usually, I’m teaching in the fiction track and I stand before people who are going to pitch ideas, prepare proposals, pen novels that will compete with mine and may even cost me a contract.

I don’t care.

From a business point of view, training your competition makes little sense, but writing for the Kingdom is different. It’s not just business. Not in the long run. My “competition” is less rivalry than family, sharing the same beliefs and serving the same God. Why wouldn’t I lend a hand by lecturing, conferring and sharing?

Joy fills me when I see one of my students make it. I know the difficulty that must be overcome and the discipline it takes to sail against the odds. When I look in the faces of the conferees I see the Longing. The Longing is difficult to describe. It defies definition but every writer knows what it is, what it feels like. When I see the Longing in the students my own Longing comes back to life, filled again with a new vim and vinegar and ready to string words together again.

So the invitations to teach come and I go and when I fly home (or sit for hours in an airport waiting) I cash a check that isn’t counted in dollars, but in the renewal of a sometimes weary writer’s soul.

Alton Gansky lives and writes and flies out of California. Visit his web site at www.altongansky.com.

8 Comments:

At 12:01 AM, Blogger JSB said...

And hey, you've even taught a budding preacher or two...like this one. Thanks for the help, dude.

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Cara Putman said...

I've only been around writing officially for a year, but the thing that has surprised me the most is the attitude that you describe. I thought it would be a cut-throat business. Instead, it has been so easy to make friends and learn because most people's attitude within ACFW and other groups is to serve. It's a wonderful process.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Patty said...

When you notice the comraderie among Christian authors is when you enter a venue of mainstream writers. I've never sensed a smidgen of jealousy among the CBA rank and file, just encouragement and support.

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger Ernie W. said...

Alton, You have a true servants heart. Why would we want to worry about book sales when it's the Lord who blesses the work of our hands anyway.
Hope to see you sometime at our Oregon Christian Writer's Conferences.
Thanks, Ernie

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Ah, the Longing. Know it. Feel it. Experience it daily. Thanks for your post. It encouraged me. I've met scores of CBA writers who share your sentiments. Thank You, God.

 
At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is truly an expression of God's love when you are so willing to share the gift He has bestowed on you.

And Christian writers are much easier and friendlier than secular writers, because they realize where their gifts come from!

Blogger is in a snit tonight, so I'm anonymous!

Bonnie Calhoun

 
At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is truly an expression of God's love when you are so willing to share the gift He has bestowed on you.

And Christian writers are much easier and friendlier than secular writers, because they realize where their gifts come from!

Blogger is in a snit tonight, so I'm anonymous!

Bonnie Calhoun

 
At 12:20 AM, Blogger Gina Holmes said...

That airline tagline sounds awfully close to my personal motto: "Gina will get a book contract...someday."

You're an awesome teacher and my all time favorite author. What you have done for me (and I'm sure many others) hints of the unselfish love of Jesus.

 

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