Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Writer's Corner in Retrospect: Mount Hermon on the Horizon
Note: This is a post that was originally on my short-lived writing blog, "Ramblings of a Fairy Tale Fangirl." After several months of blogging there, I decided I wanted to focus on this blog and occasionally feature writing-themed posts here instead. These posts will be part of a series called "Writer's Corner."
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.
In four short days, it will be my first day at Mount Hermon. For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, Mount Hermon is a five-day Christian writers conference that takes place every year over Palm Sunday weekend. This is the first year I have ever had the chance to attend, and it was all God's doing.
The Mount Hermon conference was often mentioned with reverence among the members of my local writers group. Those who were able to go shared how wonderful it was and how much they had learned. I would listen to their stories and think, "Someday, that will be me!" I knew that attending would not happen for a while, though. It was a financial impossibility.
This past fall, I buckled down and began working on my books in earnest. The idea for the series had been on my mind for the past four or five years. I'd scribbled a bit here and a bit there, but had never managed to set a regular writing schedule. But at last, the timing was right. All three girls were in school, and I had nothing on my plate except parenting and taking care of the house. I wanted to take advantage of the hours I had while my daughters were at school to type away. It was time to stop talking about my books and actually write them.
Mount Hermon came up in the conversation again. Several of my friends advised me to try to attend. I was still doubtful that the funds would come together, but I tentatively started planning for the 2015 conference.
Then December of 2014 rolled around. Our family had hit a tight spot financially during the month of November, and in December we still weren't caught up. I had planned on paying my $100 deposit for the conference in the beginning of December, but even that relatively small amount was an impossibility.
One cold day in early December, while visiting with my parents, I confided that going to Mount Hermon was looking unlikely for 2015.
"Maybe in 2016," I told them, "but I don't think it's going to happen next year." It was the first time I'd admitted out loud that things were not going to work out.
As it happened, the Lord had other plans.
Later that very day, I popped into a local jewelry store to try to sell some silverware that had belonged to my grandmother. Things were so tight, there was no way we'd be able to pay all of our bills that coming week, and we needed some spare money fast.
When I talked to the young employee at the store, he strongly encouraged me to sell the silverware on eBay instead, saying he wouldn't be able to give me nearly what it was worth. Disappointed and embarrassed, I left the store in tears.
As I drove away, I realized I was being silly. He hadn't told me he wouldn't buy the silverware, and I needed to at least get an estimate before I went away dejected. Thankfully, my ring needed to be cleaned, and I'd left in such a hurry, I'd forgotten about it.
Using the ring as an excuse, I went back in and had them clean it. While there, I asked once again about the silverware. After talking things over with the young man again, I decided to sell the silverware after all. I walked away with $600, more than enough to pay bills...and my $100 deposit.
That was my first clue that perhaps God might have plans for me at Mount Hermon. Still, it was only the first $100. I had to raise another $800 or so before I could go. It was impossible. Or was it?
I will never forget the way things kept happening from that point on.
My uncle sent me a check for Christmas. Half of that went towards my conference fees.
A member from my writing group gave me $100 anonymously at our Christmas party, money that was specifically to be used for Mount Hermon. (I still don't know who it was, but I'm so thankful for their sweet and generous gift.)
I applied for a scholarship through the Mount Hermon website and got another $260 knocked off of the total, as well as a $75 discount for registering early.
Another writing friend suggested I start a Kickstarter campaign to raise the rest. I'd never done anything on Kickstarter before, but I figured it was worth a shot. To my amazement, numerous backers responded as the month-long campaign went on, pledging to support me financially.
In the meantime, I received monetary gifts towards Mount Hermon from friends, family, and members of my local doll club.
By the beginning of February, two short months after I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on attending, my registration was paid in full, and I had an extra $200 to use for travel and other expenses!
Now the waiting and preparing is almost over. Before the week is out, I'll be at Mount Hermon for the first time, meeting writers, editors, and agents, pitching my books, and passing out business cards. I'm thrilled for this opportunity. I'm terrified that I will say something stupid when I try to pitch my story, or babble like a fangirl when I meet Robin Jones Gunn. I'm giddy at the thought of having five days, kid-free, to focus on my writing. I'm eager to learn all I can from the seminars I attend. I'm hungry to fellowship with other believers and connect with other people who share this crazy writing thing. But more than anything, I'm excited to see how God will work in my life and the lives of those around me this week. He's led me this far, and I'm confident that He'll continue to do so throughout my writing journey.
I would so appreciate prayers from those of you who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. This week will be a stretching experience. Some of it will be wonderful, and some of it will most likely be painful. I know, though, that all of it will be profitable. I can't wait to see what God has waiting for me.
So, do any of you have a dream? Are their obstacles in your life that seem impossible? Just remember, you never know what God has planned for you. You might be surprised to discover what He has in store.