“What’s your story? What has happened to you that God can use to bless someone else?” Lauraine Snelling, author of more than 50 books and a popular speaker, challenged writers at the OCW winter conference to be real in their writing and to listen to God.
At her first writers’ conference in Portland, Lauraine met famous author Lee Roddy. “What do you want to write?” Lee asked her, following up with, “What’s stopping you?” Life will keep getting in the way, Lauraine said, but we can’t let that stop us. We need to listen to God and write what He says.
Lauraine stressed the importance of being real in our writing. Being real means there’s not always a happy ending, but there is always hope in the ending. As Christian writers, we need to let people know that God loves us and takes care of us. The world is desperate for the hope only God can offer.
According to Lauraine, God has something special He wants each of us to write. He can even use our grief to bless others. She told of an article she wrote about grieving. It sold 34 times and then became a book.
To keep track of all these sales, Lauraine recommended using a journal to record submissions. Other practical suggestions included keeping an idea file for those times when God shakes His “salt shaker of ideas” over us, setting personal writing goals, and challenging each other to meet those goals. Any idea can be used many ways, she stressed. “The why is always the same: to give God the glory. The how is what changes.”
Before Lauraine’s talk, Sam Hall presented a devotional message, speaking of the negative view many younger adults have of Christianity. To counteract that, he stressed the importance of humbling ourselves, showing compassion, and using our writing to convey what is real.
President Mary Hake called the business meeting to order. Treasurer Billie Reynolds reported that the one-day conferences are paying for themselves, and dues are covering overhead.
Summer Conference Director Lindy Jacobs was unable to be present, so Mary read her update on the conference, set for August 13–16, with the theme “Speak of His Wonders.”
Program Coordinator Marilyn Rhoads presented information on upcoming one-day conferences.
Mary called for volunteers to help with the OCW website and publicity. She especially encouraged younger members to become involved.
Mary read nine publishing firsts, and about 20 first-time conferees received OCW tote bags. Answers were given to a fun trivia contest on the word “writing” in the Bible, with the winner, Brooke Perry, receiving a 2012 edition of The Christian Writer’s Market Guide donated by the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.
After workshops covering a wide range of subjects, conferees headed home to write the stories only they could write.
by Susan Maas