Marcia Moston, winner of the 2010 Women of Faith Writing Contest and Honorable Mention recipient of the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition, is the author of Call of a Coward-the God of Moses and the Middle-class Housewife. Her nonfiction works reflect the life lessons learned from her varied experiences. She has taught in a Christian high school, worked with orphans in a Mayan village, led mission teams to several Latin American countries, and has lived in everything from tepees to parsonages. She holds degrees from the University of Vermont, Liberty Bible School, and Trinity Theological Seminary. Marcia and her husband live in sunny South Carolina.
Two years ago I squared off against the demons of doubt and with a defiant, “so there!” included the word writer on my first business cards. Still, insecurity gnawed at the edges of my confidence. Before the previous year, I had never taken a writing course, nor read a book on how to write.
And although I admired the sage green background and the way my name flowed out from the tip of a fountain pen, I worried that the legitimate writers and worse yet, authors, at the writers conference I was about to attend, would see instead a hologram trading card—one on which the word writer faded to fraud.
But grace abounds in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and although I’m sure I learned much about the writing craft at that conference, I remember three lessons in particular.
The first lesson hit me during a keynote speaker’s address. He was an author who was miles ahead of me on the path of writing and publication. But he spoke of the difficulties in marketing his books, joked about the small numbers; and then teared up as he told us about one person who had contacted him to say how much his book had touched her life, how instrumental it had been at a crucial time.
And for this one person for whom his words had made an impact, he was thankful. I filed this first lesson—remember the importance of each reader— deep in my heart.
As he continued to speak, I was impressed by his transparency, a trait I have since seen in so many of the Blue Ridge Christian Writers faculty, our own GH included. Although more knowledgeable and successful, these people face some of the same insecurities and challenges as the rest of us yet undiscovered writers. But not only have they learned to push through for themselves, they are willing to share what they know with those of us coming along behind. They freely give of time and talent to help their potential competition. How beautiful is that!
Their examples made me realize lesson two—that although I have much to glean from others, I don’t always need to be in vacuum cleaner mode, forever sucking up information. I too, have something to give to the next in line, even if it’s only an encouraging word.
The third point birthed at that first conference and confirmed now, two years later, is that although you can’t count on them, can’t pitch them, demand them, or teach them, there are rule breakers.
My path to publication is one. My very average size seven-and-a-half foot fit the glass slipper.
God blessed the work of my hands, and after winning a few contests, the otherwise highly unlikely-to-be-published memoir/spiritual growth book, Call of a Coward— the God of Moss and the Middle-class Housewife, which had placed first at Blue Ridge two years ago, went on to win the 2010 Women of Faith Writing Contest, and then, a month after self-publication with WestBow Press, was acquired by Thomas Nelson. It will be re-released August 1, 2012, although it is available now for pre-order on Amazon.
With a thankful heart, I learned lesson three—Do your part, learn the craft, glean from others, trust your own voice, and then, release it all to God. There may be only one way to heaven, but there are many ways to be heard on earth, even for the rule breakers.