Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dream Big - Write For the Soul

This past week, I attended the Write for the Soul conference in Denver, Colorado, orchestrated by the Christian Writers Guild. After several days of workshops, appointments, classes, and meal sessions, I am officially brain dead. And ready to get to work.

This was my second time at this conference, but this year, I had a network of familiar faces and a completed manuscript. My mentor, DiAnn Mills, and several of my classmates constantly challenged and encouraged me.

My mentor, DiAnn Mill
These two qualities go hand-in-hand. Without constructive criticism, I won't improve. Without encouragement, I won't continue. I'm thankful for these people the Lord has placed in my life. A "no" to grad school became a "yes" to a path I never knew existed.

Every dream requires training. Training comes from those who have already traveled the path you are now trekking. Quality friends and mentors are defined by their authenticity and honesty when it could hurt the most. Without these character qualities, we get multitudes of auditions on American Idol of those who have been falsely complimented their entire lives in regards to their perceived talent. Sadly, I enjoy this spectacle of reality TV.

So, here are a few take aways from the conference. Training for me to put into action...
  • All my failures, God saw as stepping stones. - Don't quit. Keep learning, and be persistent.
  • A burden to pursue a calling precedes the command but must be followed by surrender. Only then can I make an impact.
  • Never pray for a way out of the challenges for it is the challenges that make us strong.
  • There are 2 kinds of people in the world: artists and those who are supposed to put up with artists. - Ha, I loved this! Which one are you?
  • A good story gives the reader something to learn about, think about, feel about, and dream about. - That's what I want my writing to be.
  • Inspiration with manifestation leads to destination.
  • It is not the degree of success that matters but the application. I must maintain a clear idea of my destination.
  • Hollywood has created a lesser image of the hero. I want to remind others of what heroism truly means. "Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes." Disraeli
  • Don't let your ministry outgrow your character.
Some of my classmates
For inquiring minds, I met with several agents and editors to pitch my book. Interest was expressed and portions of my manuscript will reach them by the end of the week. I have no idea where this will lead, but the Lord knows my steps. I'll keep you updated with this process! Click "join this site" on the sidebar to get the latest!

I also found out that I am a finalist in the Women of Faith novel contest. My novel reached the top 30 contestants out of 660 manuscripts. Whether or not my novel proceeds further, this gave me an incredible boost. See the value of the smallest bit of encouragement?
Do you have a team of friends and mentors around you, supporting your dream? How do they make you better? Leave a comment below!


  1. I just wanted to say congrats on the novel progressing to that level!  That's amazing!  Good for you for dreaming big.

  2. Kariss,
    Thanks for an inspiring post. The conference was awesome. Like you, I came back exhausted yet energized to jump back into my writing, to apply all we learned, to remind my readers what genuine heroism is all about. Thanks for capturing the essence of the conference so well.

  3. It was good to finally meet you, Kariss. Yes, I can identify w/the fried brain syndrome.

  4. Kariss, congrads on completing your novel. I know your head is spinning from all the happenings of the past week in Colorado. You've been obedient. God will orchestrate the rest.

  5. All the best on your future writing endeavors. It's a hard road, but perseverence pays off.

  6. It was good to see you again. This was a great recap. Congrats on the Woman of Faith Contest. A'm pulling for you....

  7. Conrats on the contest! Yay! I'm excited for you.

  8. Sounds like a great conference! Congratulations on the contest!

  9. It was great to meet you at the Writing For the Soul Conference in Denver. I totally agree with the whirlwind of information we received from the conference. How invigorating to hear suggestions from the professionals in the craft of writing. I am so happy for your placement in the Women of Faith novel contest. I pray you win, but regardless, that is such an accomplishment! My prayers are with you. Keep up the good work.