Last night I had the great honor of accompanying my husband to the 24th annual 2012 Canadian Christian Writing Awards night. He was a finalist for his two articles, “The Response of the Redeemed: Reflecting on the Death of Osama bin Laden” and “The End of the World is Coming… Again.”
No, he didn’t win. (But doesn’t he look great? This is our daughter saying good-bye and good-luck!)
As various authors gave thank you speeches my mind drifted backwards down memory lane.
In 2007 I learned I was a finalist in the Best New Canadian Author award for an unpublished manuscript. (A category of The World Guild Christian Writing Awards.) I didn’t win, but that evening I learned more about The Word Guild.
The Word Guild is a team of Canadian writers, editors, speakers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and other interested individuals who are Christian. From all parts of Canada and many denominational and cultural backgrounds, we are united in our common passion to positively influence individuals—and ultimately the Canadian culture—through life-changing words that bring God’s message of hope.
I followed them online for a few years, but didn’t join the guild. We were in a season of life that didn’t allow for luxury. Besides, I didn’t feel like a writer.
Fast forward. June 2010 I won a bursary from The Word Guild to attend their annual conference Write! Canada (the largest conference for writers who are Christians in Canada). Coupled with a gift from our church family I set out half afraid I would fail and even more afraid I might succeed. Amazing doesn’t even come close to describing the experience of that weekend.
There I met Mags Storey, author and winner of the prestigious Grace Irwin Award. She introduced me to her agent, Les Stobbe, who signed me as a client and later introduced me to my editor Kim Peterson. Kim and I are putting the final touches on my novel now.
Upon my return from that conference a generous couple purchased me a one year membership to The World Guild. I joined an online revision group, benefited from the extensive experience of others, and I have been cheered on toward my goal of using my gifts to glorify God.
Back to last night.
Author after author accepting awards commented on the many people who helped them along away. Family, friends, editors, agents, all played a significant role in the development of their story – both the published version and the lived one.
That got me thinking. Why do we wait for an award to say thank you?
My articles and (hopefully one day soon, my book) bear my name. But that is terribly misleading. The manuscripts are covered in the fingerprints of others who have cheered me onward.
Isn’t that a great picture of how we are called to live life? Never in isolation. Never on our own strength.
There is something beautiful about a community that exists to encourage one another toward developing individual gifts, character, and a closer walk with God. I am blessed to be part of such a community. My small group. My Orchard Park Church family. My immediate family. My extended family. All play such a significant role in my life, development, and walk with God.