Humbled by Beginning Writers

Humbled by Beginning Writers September 28, 2008

This morning I am feeling humble. Outside of a religious context this is a rare emotion for me, insofar as I generally enjoy feeling arrogant and egocentric.

I am also right now feeling like a meth-munching meerkat, since I just downed two cups of coffee from a mug so large you could use it to drown a regular cat.

Not that I would ever drown a cat. I love cats. And, weirdly, cats love me. They follow me around. It’s bizarre. I think they sense I’m anti-drowning them.

What was I talking about?

Right. Coffee. No wait: Humility. I’m experiencing it!

The reason I’m feeling humble today is because yesterday I spent all day at the San Diego Christian Writers Guild’s annual conference, where my “Faculty Member: Author” badge officially sanctioned me to go around dispensing advice like Solomon the Wiseacre.

Dispensing advice is by far my favorite pastime. I often do it when no one’s listening at all. I’m also not above chasing people down and eventually tackling them, if that what it takes to get them to grasp the depth of my sagacity.

But yesterday, people were actually seeking my advice. It’s like I was the Oracle of Delphi, and they were truth-seeking Delphinians. Delphidites. Delphineos. Whatever. The point is, I had what they wanted.

But instead of that making me feel even more superior and awe-inspiring than I usually feel, it ended up humbling me.

All day long I sat at a table, and in 15-minute intervals talked to people who had signed up to talk to me about how they could move their writing career or project from wherever it was to wherever they wanted it to be. I also spent an hour or so in a classroom addressing the 40 or so people who, of the various talks then available to them, had chosen to hear me be Maximally Intense about “Overcoming The Harsh Realities of Publishing.”

I just can’t believe what an Actual Honor it is to have in any way helped so many new writers acheive their dream. I don’t know what I thought I was going to be doing yesterday—but in the main I think I was unprepared for how serious the attendees at the conference would be about becoming published authors. But doi. They each paid $150 to be there. Of course they were serious about what they were doing.

I’ll talk a little bit more tomorrow about some of the people I met and the projects they felt moved by God to write. For now, I just wanted to share how deeply uplifting I found meeting and interacting with so many good, earnest people who are taking so seriously the idea that they should heed God’s call to them to create.


Related posts: Wanna Commune with God? Create! and How To Make a Living Writing.

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  • Bravo John.

  • Lynn

    Isn’t it just tremendously neat when God appears in the midst of our day?

    Sounds like you experienced “Christmas” a little early this year 🙂 Not only had you opened up a gift that God had given you, but shared it too. [Psalm 37:4 – Amplified Bible translation]

    “Sagacity”…had to look that one up…the art of being “keen in sense, perception; farsighted; discerning…” yep, sounds like you got it 🙂 Thanks for sharing John.

  • Cheers, whistles, and catcalls!

  • That's so cool! As a "wanna be writer" – I have really appreciated all the advice you give on your blog.

    My biggest frustration with writing is my ADD. The medication I take seems to zap the "off the cuff" creativity. For the past 6 months, I have been trying to find the right dosage – that allows me to maintain the creative spirit (that often produces better writing) – yet, keeps me focused enough to finish a project.

    I know there are ALOT of writers (and creative types) with ADD – and I am always curious how they handle the frustration of "zapped creativity" while taking meds. If anyone has an advice, I'd love to hear it!

  • arlywn

    awww. Good for you. Maybe some of them will join us stalkers here.

  • Thanks a lot, you guys. It's so great of you to ring in with these affirming little statements. Thank you.

    Kelly, that's a pretty profound problem. Anyone?

  • Thanks, John. I'd love some insight and advice from anyone who reads your blog – and deals with the complications of balancing function and creativity. I am closer to the magic dosage – now more than ever – but, its still not quite right! It will get there.

  • Way cool.

  • Rita M. Parker

    John, I have finished reading a fictional book of Jesus and Mary Magdalene called the Expected One. Without going into detail. It's another claimer of the Marriage of the Madalene and Jesus. I am not really a believer of this story. To me it is a "story." My question to you Jesus is called Easa,and Yeshua which I believe is Hebrew. Have you every heard Jesus refered to as Easa? It does not appear in the Hebrew or Greek dictionary. I am sure you have better things to do but I cannot find this name in any dictionary.

  • Yes, I have seen Jesus called Easa. This is hardly my discipline—but, for what it's worth, I believe I've mainly seen the name Easa used when Jesus is being discussed within an Arab/Muslim context. So I believe it's an Arab rendering of the name. But, as I say, I'm hardly an expert on such matters.

  • Dan Harrell


    Oh, how I wish I could have been there. To hear you actually talk. It would have been great. If you ever get to the midwest, I'm there. To follow up on an earlier comment I made. Deb, my wife, is cancer free, since February of 2008, and after the doom and gloom at the dermatologist, telling me that I had two areas of skin cancer, the pathology report came back negative. So I'm around for a while yet.

  • Josh

    Hey John,

    I just wanted to thank you for you're honest advice that you gave me at the conference. At the time I didn't want to hear it, but I needed to hear it. I need to take my craft more seriously. I'm looking for publications, continuing my writing, and researching the ugly business side of writing. Again, Thanks.

  • Dan: Wonderful. Thanks for catching us up.

    Josh: You're the budding novelist, right? (Sorry: I barely saw my actual sign-up sheet.)

  • Josh

    Yeah. I wish that budding would go a little faster.

  • Why? What's the rush? You're only 20. If there's one thing you have, it's time. Besides, you're a Christian, right? Then you know you can't force God to work on your time line.

    Just remember: It's not about The One Great Book you'll write. It's about a lifetime of work. Don't be so intimidated by thinking your first novel has to be awesome that you never start writing it. Start. Jump in. Learn as you go. That's all life is anyway.

  • Lynn