Thanks to OCW
by Mary A. Hake, OCW President
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3 kjv). This expresses how I feel about Oregon Christian Writers. Since I first began attending conferences in the mid-80s, I have been abundantly blessed. The friendships, the inspiration each time we meet, learning the writing craft, and the opportunity to serve … How can I name all the ways OCW has contributed to my life? Of course, all the glory goes to God!
OCW has also offered me the privilege to get to know fine writers who generously give of their time and knowledge to mentor others, encouraging rather than competing. I have also enjoyed meeting “famous” authors who have come to speak at our conferences. A friend once asked me which authors I had seen in person; when I began listing them, I was amazed—and most contacts came through OCW.
As many of you know, my writing journey began in childhood. I loved to listen to stories read aloud, and I longed to read and write on my own even before beginning my formal education. As soon as I could awkwardly print words on the page, I began composing little poems and stories. I have never ceased.
Throughout my school days, teachers praised and encouraged my writing—it was one area where I could excel. Lack of confidence and life circumstances kept me from pursuing publication for years. It was not until I began participating in OCW and attended at least one summer conference that I received my first payment for a published piece. I have not kept track of how many bylines I have accumulated since then, but I know they’re in the hundreds.
I was not able to go to college until my own daughters were both college students. Then I studied journalism and literature at the nearby community college. This too helped grow my writing and editing skills. Correcting the text of my biology teacher’s syllabus led to my first book-editing job. You never know what door will open, so be prepared!
Perhaps my experiences will encourage you. Trust the Lord that He wants what is best for you. Wherever you find yourself in life—dealing with loss, health issues, financial problems, successes, etc.—you can find abundant material to infuse your writing. Propose, compose, and enclose your words with prayer.