Wednesday, October 6, 2010

You Can Do Great Things...

The past few days have confirmed ten times over everything my association with this blog and these ladies - and you - have taught me about the power of friendship and collaboration to get things done.

The First Annual Sierra Foothill Christian Writers' Conference took place on Saturday in Auburn California, and we three coordinators, Debbie, Sharon and I, are delighted at the the way it all worked out. I created the website, Debbie and Sharon brilliantly worked out the finances and logistics, and we all chewed our nails, wondering if we could make it work. Then the moment came, and we opened the doors and found ourselves surrounded by hopeful writers eager to learn ways to move forward in their craft. And by golly, it looks like they went away happy at the end of the day. Success! We spent the next two days getting over ourselves, but also planning ways to make the second annual conference even better - now that we think there will be a second.

If you were there, thanks so much for coming. We were thrilled to see you, and hope you will return.

If you weren't there, we'd love to see you next year. But here's a consolation prize, the big lesson the day brought to me: You can do great things. You just can't do them by yourself.*

My association with the five other ladies on this blog has brought me great joy, and that's the best part. But it has also made possible a list of accomplishments that reads like someone else's life, not mine:

  • Two books published.
  • A blog worth reading and a wealth of interesting, interested readers who have made it into something truly wonderful.
  • And now, a writers conference that promises to help many others find their way to their own list of dreams fulfilled.

None of these things would have happened without my friends.

Let's talk about you now: what could you accomplish if you had friends to encourage, to help, to come up with ways and means?

Do you have such friends? Are you a collaborative sort of friend yourself, or could you become one? What could you accomplish, if you had someone to help?

*Ad copy on the handout for my web-design business, Cotton Bond.


Wendy Paine Miller said...

Oh to live in CA. That conference sounds fantastic!

I'm blessed with all sorts of friends and cheerleaders. My mom is certainly one, listening to every nitty gritty brainstorm. And my closest local friendship all started when we both revealed how much we love Peace Like a River. Best buddies.

I also have critique partners and folks online who've greatly influenced my focus and time moving forward on the writing track. I'm forever grateful for these folks.

~ Wendy

Terri Tiffany said...

Like Wendy, I have an awesome group of writers I've met online who I have had the joy of meeting (some!) I love that you were able to put together a conference! That would be a dream!

Anonymous said...

Katy, I echo what you said about not being able to minister through words without the support of others. Each of the NovelMatters ladies -- and some notable readers, too -- have tipped a wobbly scale in my life, keeping me writing, keeping me encouraged.

And I wrote a tribute to you in my WIP -- you, Katy, who dance through your words. Love you.

Lori Benton said...

I'm so glad the conference went well, that you and those attending were blessed and encouraged. Even though I couldn't attend, I was there in spirit. I certainly _wanted_ to be there with you all.

Aside from my participation in blogs and social media, I'm at a place of solitude in my writing life (as far as having crit partners). I haven't always been alone. I'm sure I won't always be. I feel the lack, but have every confidence God will bring the desired change in his time.

Judy Gann said...

The conference was fabulous! It truly reflected the hearts and personalities of Katy, Debbie, & Sharon.

I've attended many one-day writers conferences. But, this one was tops in terms of the quality & quanity of information presented in a refreshing, encouraging environment. I'm certain all attendees were inspired to pursue their writing dreams.

Thank you, ladies!


Anonymous said...

I'm just in the process of starting a Christian writer's group here in Kodiak. We actually have many published authors on our island of small population, and I already feel them becoming friends.

I especially love where you said
it felt like someone else's life, not your own. I have some of those things in my life, too. Blessings from God, indeed!


Kathleen Popa said...

I wish all you ladies could have been there. Judy, it was such a joy to see you, and I know it took some doing for you to get there. You encourage me every time.

Wendy and Terri, I'm glad you are so blessed with friends. Why not dream some dreams with them, as Debbie did with us when she came up with this amazing idea?

Vonilda, how great that you are starting a group, and that already, you have stretched beyond what you thought you could do. I'm proud of you.

Lori, I pray that you find just the right group of friends, and that they may have the blessing of finding you.

Latayne, thank you so much for the tribute in your beautiful novel. I am honored.

I should mention here that we owe the success of our conference to a fantastic, dream line-up of teachers. Many of them drove long distances to come, and we could only pay their mileage. Not only that, but they all expressed a willingness to return next year!

Have you ever noticed how many really good people there are in the world?

Megan Sayer said...

Wow, this post is SO timely - must be the Holy Spirit!

It's been a big couple of days for me, and I'm still coming down from the magnitude of it all. Last night I was so privileged to attend the launch of the "Brave Foundation", a new independent Australian charity supporting teenage mums and encouraging them to finish their education and make the most of their lives in spite of their circumstances. The whole message of the foundation for these women is "you CAN do it with support and encouragement". The message for the wider community is that we need to get behind these girls, and value and respect them as mothers - once again, support and encouragement.

The reason it's been so big for me is that the founder is one of my closest friends. Bernie had a baby at 16, and twelve years later wrote a book about her experiences, to be that voice of encouragement to others in her situation. I edited that book (in a late-night, kitchen table "you-need-to-rewrite-all-this" session) and have worked closely with her since then on numerous bits and pieces that have stemmed from that book. It's such an honour to be HER support friend, to be able to write her press releases, edit the copy on her website, to just be there for her while she's walking out this incredible journey, all the way to a national charity launch.

I grew up as a real lone ranger, fiercely independent, and didn't know how to get close to people. The amazing thing for me personally, through helping Bernie (and others - here's looking at you, Sally!), I've found myself with THE most amazing, supportive friends around me, who are my biggest fans and encouragers, without whom my book would have stagnated long ago. I am so grateful to them, and also to God who connected us!

Debbie Fuller Thomas said...

Thank you, Judy, for your kind assessment of our conference! We enjoyed every minute of it. You added a touch of class to our day. Katy & Sharon were awesome!

Samantha Bennett said...

Ah, glad the conference was a success! Yes, it's crazy what can happen with others beside you on the journey. :)

Anonymous said...

Judy, you are such an encourager. It was wonderful to see you, that the timing worked out perfectly for you to be there. We were blessed by all who were there, from the workshop teachers, to the conferees, to Wendy. It was a really great experience.

Sally Napthali said...

What a title - You can do great things.

I would've loved to have been at this conference. Maybe one day, the three of us(Megan, Bernie and I) from Hobart, Tasmania can fly over for the occassion. Here's to dreaming Megan! My husband always says "Dreams are free". He is so cute, but I love nothing better than dreaming for great things.

To you Megan I say "Ditto". I love our team spirit, and the amazing God journey that this is. What an incredible thing it is that he brought us together. xx

Jan Cline said...

Im afraid I would be a conference addict if I had the funds. So glad yours went so well. I am considering doing a mini one in my community next spring. Any suggestions???? Im a nobody, but I think I could round up a name to help us draw some in - maybe.
Love all you blogger friends out there and I love this blog!

l said...

Glad your conference went well!

I'm a very collaborative person. Without my friends and family to encourage me and sometimes give me much needed kicks, I'd never be where I am today (a published article and close to submitting my first book, which to me is incredible). My husband is incredibly supportive. And two of my best friends are always willing to edit stuff for me. Sometimes I wince when I read their comments, but they always provide much-needed advice.

Megan Sayer said...

Voni: I googled Kodiak as I'd never heard of it before, and sat slack-jawed and drooling at the beauty of where you live.

Once your writer's group is established I think you should start a writer's conference there too, and tie it in with the local tourism industy. You can do it!!! I'd be there with bells on!

Yeah Sally - let's go to Alaska after we take in the second (or third - or fourth) annual Sierra Foothills Christian Writer's Conference. Yay! I'm into dreaming big : )

Kathleen Popa said...

Megan, the Brave Foundation sounds fantastic! I'm so glad you have such friends.

Sally, you live in Tasmania? Really? That sounds so impossibly adventurous and exotic.

Jan, you're not a nobody. Offhand, my best suggestion would be to talk to Debbie and Sharon. I always think they are brilliant, but right now, doubly so.

Heather, HOORAY for your writing milestones! Congratulations on writing your first book - what an accomplishment!

I wish all of you could have been at the conference. I'm glad you are here.

And doesn't collaberation seem like a Biblical idea? "That they may be one as we are one..."