I've decided to schedule the publishing date for these posts on the same day I originally wrote them so there won't be a huge influx of "Writer's Corner" posts all at the same time. Once I've finished going through these, I will publish future "Writer's Corner" posts in a regular manner.
Oh, and when applicable, I'll also include the comments from the original post at the end of these posts.
In these posts, I go a little more into my faith and personal beliefs than I normally do on this blog...just so you know. You've been warned. ;) As always, I welcome respectfully stated opposing views in the comments.
These posts about Mount Hermon will probably be somewhat repetitive since I shared so much about Mount Hermon on this blog already, but I wanted to have a record of these posts, too. I hope you don't mind. ;)
It's been four days since I returned home from Mount Hermon. I can't believe how quickly the conference flew by. It already feels like a lifetime ago.
I've tried to post something about my experience all week long, but I've had a hard time deciding where to begin. I'm still trying to process everything I experienced.
That, and the reality of laundry, dishes, and parenting has made time for reflection rather difficult. ;)
Mount Hermon was incredible. It was amazing to see God work through my life and the lives of others around me. I learned more than I could ever imagine and made all sorts of new friends and contacts. There was something so refreshing about meeting other people who shared my passion for words and stories.
As you know from my previous post, I was both excited and terrified to go. I knew I would learn a lot and enjoy myself, but I also knew I had the potential to make a complete fool of myself.
Thankfully, I had a fearless conference buddy with me. Sarah Bennett, another aspiring author like myself, was my rock this entire trip. She helped me get out of my comfort zone, brainstormed with me our first night, and gave me encouragement and support throughout the entire process, even when she was struggling with disappointment of her own. I'm so glad we got to go together. :)
Since it was such a long drive, we left a day early and stayed in a hotel in town. The next morning, we were able to arrive nice and early.
This was our room. We stayed in Buckeye 15.
The room was simple and the beds were a little hard and squeaky, but we were nice and close to the Dining Hall and Auditorium.
Sarah and I, bright-eyed and ready for our Mount Hermon adventure!
The members of our writers group who had attended Mount Hermon in the past were kind enough to give us all sorts of tips and pointers before we left. We were as prepared as we possibly could be. But just as there are vast differences between parenting in theory and parenting in reality, nothing could fully prepare us for our experience. Still, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
We checked into our room, unpacked our bags, and headed to the first conference event with a spring in our step and hope in our hearts. By that evening, we were both in tears. No one was interested in Sarah's book. It's a book before its time. (But it's a great concept, and I think it's definitely got a market.)
I actually had a more successful first day. It was more a matter of adjusting my plans.
The thing is, for the past couple of years, two of my writing friends told me all about this particular agent and how she'd be a PERFECT fit for me. So even though I tried to be level-headed about everything, I think I pictured this perfect bonding moment between us at our first meeting. I was THRILLED that she was going to be at Mount Hermon, and I knew she would LOVE my pitch and be interested in my book.
Which was why I was thrown for a complete loop when she very kindly told me that she was not interested in fantasy. She was very sweet, and we had a nice little chat, but that door closed almost before I had time to realize what had happened.
I left her table wondering, "Now what?" That meeting did NOT go the way I'd planned it at all.
I ended up meeting with two other agents. The first seemed hesitant about my idea but offered to take a look at my first three chapters after the conference. (Hooray!) The third agent I talked to had just told someone else she wasn't taking any debut authors, but I figured it couldn't hurt to practice my pitch.
To my utter surprise, she was very interested in my story idea and my illustrations, and asked me to turn in my manuscript so she could take a look. This was an agent I hadn't even considered, but I figured I had nothing to lose.
The agent interested in looking at my manuscript set up an appointment after she'd had a chance to read through it. At the appointment, she told me she was very interested in my writing and wanted to see my book when it was finished.
I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.
God, in His graciousness, walked with Sarah and I every step of the way throughout our time there. From the inspiring messages Robin Jones Gunn shared, to the classes we took, to the friends we made, we both grew as writers and as believers just by being there.
The road to publication is still long and hard. Just because an agent has agreed to look at my book does not mean it will make the cut. Now the real work begins.
I was six chapters away from finishing my book, but after everything I learned at Mount Hermon and the suggestions I got from critiques there, I may need to make some drastic changes to the plot to make it an even stronger story. I often wonder if I have a CLUE about what I am doing, and whether I can really pull this thing off.
But I also know that my God is incredible, and He has a plan for me. That is my comfort as I plunge forward into this next crazy adventure.
I did a series of vlogs while I was at Mount Hermon, which you can see on my YouTube channel HERE. They're not the best quality. I talk quietly in most of them, and the virtual tour videos are REALLY shaky, but I hope you'll enjoy them all the same.
I thought I'd wrap up this post with some pictures of the beautiful Mount Hermon campus. Talk about an inspiring place to writ! :)
Since I'm a doll and toy nut (as you all know), I brought a couple of Zelfs along with me for some photo ops. Here Petal, the garden fairy Zelf, enjoys the azaleas.
I also brought Dorothy Doe. They both felt right at home at Mount Hermon.
More writing adventures to come! :)