It Takes a Village – Professionals

path into woods - unsplashToday I’m wrapping up the Village series talking about the professionals on our journey. Writing (and painting and sculpting and song writing, etc.) can be a long, lonely journey, complete with major pot holes, treacherous mountains and valleys that seem to go on forever. So why do we subject ourselves to this? Because we’re artists. And because for some of us, it’s a calling.

We’ve talked about identifying our Cheerleaders, those people who cheer loudly and encourage us to take that next step. Then we talked about our Mentors who teach us, watering flowersshare with us what they’ve experienced, and encourage us to keep the faith. Our Editors are our fellow villagers who care enough about who we are and what we do that they’ll critique our work and provide feedback, all while walking a very thin line (because some of us can get a bit protective of our “baby”!).

Hands and bagToday we’ll identify those Professionals in your Village who can take your work of art to its highest point. In writing, these Professionals include agents, editors, publishers, teachers, booksellers, etc,

I’ve had many Professionals encouraging me along the way, some in person and some online. Some are part of a large corporation, others part of a small office. All have given me the feedback and encouragement I’ve needed.

One group of Professionals from which I’ve benefited greatly is ACFW – AmericanACFW Logo Christian Fiction Writers. Can’t remember now who was the angel who directed me to this organization, but I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I attended my first ACFW conference in September, four years ago.

I arrived in Denver with high hopes and trembling knees. There were some amazing experiences, great teaching sessions, and so much encouragement I ended up starting a chapter in Minnesota! There were also some super low points, but even those God turned into good. ACFW offers a wide variety of opportunities for learning about the writing craft, how to present my self as a writing professional, and lots of new friends. I’ve also been blessed to attend conferences in Indianapolis, Dallas and St. Louis. An absolute must-do for everyone but especially those fairly new to writing.

Some of what ACFW offers its members include:

  • Writing courses
  • Critique groups
  • The premier Christian Fiction Conference
  • The fellowship and encouragement of other authors
  • Prayer partners

MN-NICE (Minnesota Novelists Inspiring Excellence) is the chapter I started after attending my first ACFW conference. Along with three other women who also wanted a place to learn, grow and share their writing experiences, we launched the chapter in March 2010. We now have close to 30 members! We have a short business meeting each month followed by a presenter (a Professional) who shares their knowledge and experience. I look forward to that monthly meeting all month long! Those are my “peeps” and I think they’re the best.

On a more personal note, I worked with the lovely Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency (owner and agent) for almost two years. It was a wonderful experience. And again, I’ve come away with lifelong friends who were also her clients.

Steve LaubeOnline Professionals from whom I’ve learned a ton include literary agents such as Rachelle Gardner and the Steve Laube Literary Agency, and writers like Brenda Anderson, Michelle Limm, Valerie Comer and Joe Courtemanche. There’s a lot to be learned from Professionals like Michael Hyatt, and those who strengthen my faith like Steve Weins and David Wilkerson.

The Professionals in our Village have gotten where they are through hard work, perseverance, and faith. Those are the main lessons we can learn from them in the beginning. Without those three things, we’ll never reach our dreams (probably because we’re waiting for someone to do it for us).

Who are your Professionals? What have you learned from them?

Next week we’ll go back to the Monday Morning Author Interviews. Thanks for working with me to build a Village. Life is so much better when we do it together.

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