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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Run the Writing Race Without Giving Up

by Yvonne Lehman

My son is a runner. Almost every time he returns from a run he says, “I quit. I’m never doing this again. I hate it.” He is red, pours sweat, breathes hard, gasps, and complains because he only improved his time by a fraction of a second or almost died going up that hill. I think he’d rather die than stop.

The next day he puts on his running clothes, running shoes, gets his water and ear buds, smiles like he’s going to conquer the world and off he goes. Why? Because it’s what he does. It’s fulfilling. He feels he is accomplishing and conquering. He is motivated by envisioning the end result. He is a runner.

It reminds me of my writing and that of many other writers. We can look at that blank screen and say, “I can’t do this.” But we do. Why? Because we’re writers. We have a goal ahead of us. We’re motivated.

I look back at the beginning of my motivation. It was decades ago at the Billy Graham School of Christian Writing. That opened up a whole new world to me. I’ve been running (sometimes walking slowly!) with my writing ever since. There were only two writers conferences back then, the Billy Graham one in MN and Mount Herman in CA. I knew one was needed in NC. After much struggle and many years, the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference was started. I wanted others to have the opportunity I had to learn and grow and become and be published. After 25 years of directing the conference I turned it over to Alton Gansky, whom I knew would lead it to even greater heights, which he has, along with his helpers Edie Melson, Eva Marie Everson and many others.

My goal now is to concentrate on bringing encouragement, instruction, and motivation primarily to novelists. The Blue Ridge “Autumn inthe Mountains” Novelists Retreat is an intimate gathering of a limited number of students so focus and concentration can be devoted to the attendees’ needs and questions about every aspect of novel writing.

The Retreat is held at Ridgecrest/LifeWay Conference Center in Ridgecrest NC October 19-22. A $50 tuition discount is available through July 1, 2014.

Sad news: You’ve likely heard that Ron Benrey, who was scheduled to be a faculty member along with his wife Janet, died a few weeks ago. He will be missed.

Good news: Alton Gansky, award-winning novelist and director of the May Blue Ridge Conference is joining our faculty line-up. Great addition!

Other faculty are: me (Yvonne Lehman), director, over 50 romance & women’s fiction, Lighthouse editor of Romance and Women’s Fiction
Lynette Eason, best-selling suspense writer, over 20 books
Ann Tatlock, award-winning novelist, two-time Christy winner, Lighthouse editor of Heritage Beacon historical novels
Diana Flegal, Harline Literary Agent, workshop leader
Edie Melson, novelist, social media expert

If you have a novel in progress or an idea for one, whether you’re a beginner or published, we have a great line-up of workshops, not only about every aspect of novel writing but also social media and the changing publishing industry.

Although our focus is on the craft of writing, as mentioned above our faculty includes an agent and two editors who are eager to talk with you about your work. We also offer critiques and contests, including our highest award: the Golden Leaf Award.

For additional information: or google Blue Ridge Novelist Retreat – You may contact Yvonne at:

Don’t walk… run to join us for this wonderful experience. Looking forward to seeing some of you in October!

Yvonne Lehman is an award-winning, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 books in print, who founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, is now director of the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat. She mentors for the Christian Writers Guild. She earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Her latest releases include eight ebooks for Barbour’s Truly Yours line and a Harlequin/Heartsong series set in Savannah GA: The Caretaker’s Son, Lessons in Love, Seeking Mr. Perfect, (released in March, August, & November 2013). Her 50th novel is Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the TITANIC


Nicole said...

Sounds like a dreamy retreat, Yvonne. And, yeah, love it and hate it: we write on . . .