Please join me in welcoming Karen H. Phillips to Joy in the Journey as she discusses the excitement and anxiety that is par for the course for anyone embarking on a writing career. At the end of this post, you will find information on how to contact her. Enjoy her contribution to my blog. Karen, let me be the first to say congratulations on surviving your first year in this crazy, wonderful business.
Empty Nest, New Calling
by Karen H. Phillips
I needed a new calling. A former teacher, a homemaker, and a stay-at-home mom/homeschool teacher, by the fall of 2006, I tired of remodeling and decluttering after the kids left for college. God must have something more in store for me.
Dedicating time to prayer, Bible study, and an intriguing book—Whistle While You Work: Heeding Your Life’s Calling—I found myself drawn to writing. I searched for information about writing in bookstores and online.
When you seek, indeed, you find what you’re looking for. I discovered the Fellowship of Christian Writers online. Moderators and members alike welcomed me warmly, and I learned from them the first day I joined. I soon followed FCWers in posting weekly writing goals.
The first of its kind, a writers’ conference cropped up in my area. I attended, and it affirmed my belief: God had called me to write. Spirit-Led Writer’s Lisa Crayton gave me my first paid opportunity to write when she published online my review of that same conference.
I lapped up every writing-related experience, including visiting a college about an hour and a half’s drive to hear Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife, speak at a small college. I’ll never forget talking to her afterwards. I said, “I’m a late bloomer. I just began writing recently.”
She said, “No. You have to look at it like this: You’ve had all these wonderful life experiences. Now you’re ready to write about them.”
A few months later, I came out of the internet closet and joined the local writers guild. Recently established as a nonprofit organization, the guild elected me as a board member at my first meeting. What a learning experience, to set policy and serve other writers by molding the guild into what the members want and need!
Even better, the feedback from the guild’s nonfiction group improved my essay for The Writers View Two’s Mount Hermon contest—to the point that I received a scholarship to attend. At Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, two editors critiqued a piece for me, providing insight on revising my work to fit periodicals’ needs. I connected with online friends and met new writing buddies, finding invaluable mutual support in this network.
My attendance at Cecil Murphey’s mentoring clinic, an intensive workshop in which the participants met one-on-one with Cec to revise and refine our work in progress, preceded my sending the article for the Mount Hermon critiques, an example of God’s perfect timing.
My clips file still takes up little space, but the idea and submission files bulge! If new friends and learning could add to my clips, I’d need a new file cabinet. I thank the Lord and all those who’ve helped and encouraged me through my first writing year. Right now, right here, I’m exactly where I ought to be.
Karen H. Phillips began writing for publication in March 2006. Her husband and two grown children stand behind her writing habit, especially when they browse the refrigerator near her kitchen writing desk.
Read Karen’s blogs at:
http://sky-highview.blogspot.com/ http://blog.myspace.com/writethetruth http://www.shoutlife.com/karenhphillips