Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Invest in Your Writing Career Next Year!

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

Let’s face it, 2015 is pretty much history.

Unless you are one of those people who saves the final week of the year for intense writing, chances are these next days are full of other things – family and friends, worship and celebration, Christmas follow-up and thank you notes.  And pondering.

Pondering what is ahead for your writing in the New Year.

May I suggest that you plan now to make an investment in your writing by attending at least one (if not more) writers conferences or retreats during 2016?

When someone asks me how to start (or boost) a writing career, my first response is always “Go to a good writers conference or retreat and soak it up!”
Here are three strategic reasons why writers events are an important investment:
1. People: You will meet others who have a passion for writing for the Kingdom. Honey, these are your people! I suspect you may make lifetime friends if you allow yourself to let go of insecurity and be open to unlikely partnerships. Way back in 1993 I tied for the “Mount Hermon Writer of the Year” award with a California writer named Janet Holm McHenry and we are still great friends today who pray for each other’s deadlines. Many of my best professional and personal friendships came out of writing events. Community is so important – we share each other’s struggles and successes.

But, in addition to meeting other writers, you will meet people who are there to pour into your life great wisdom and practical skills that will make you a better communicator. These faculty personnel (often speakers, authors, editors, publishers, agents, etc) are there to give back to the community. Make the most of every moment you have talking with them at the dining table, sitting under their teaching, and during  appointments.

2. Purpose: You may wonder whether or not you are called to write and speak professionally. If so, going to a writers event can be a helpful way to determine whether or not you are prepared and willing to do the hard work required in honing your craft. Integral in this process is listening to God. Strength of soul will spill over into the words you share, so do not neglect spiritual disciplines in your faith development.  Use your time at the conference to ask the hard questions of other writers who have forged ahead in the journey. And remember, learning what we are not called or gifted to do, is as important as learning what we are to pursue in life. Remember who you are and what your story and style is, and don’t try to compare yourself to everyone you meet. Be sure and take time after the event to process all you have heard and to pray about what it means for your writing and speaking career.

3. Profession: If a writers conference/retreat can help you understand your purpose and calling and offer you amazing people for leadership and companionship, then it becomes a huge investment in your professional journey. Take advantage of much of the schedule, but know your limits and be sure to rest, so you don’t become overwhelmed. Keep in touch with special connections made and set forth a workable follow-up plan. Be grateful for this opportunity. Thank everyone who helped you get here.

As 2016 begins, I am particularly grateful that I will be on faculty for three outstanding Writing Events during the first half of the year. What an honor and privilege. Please click through and discover what each one has to offer for where you are on your journey.

I would love to see you there!

Florida Christian Writers ConferenceFebruary 24-28, 2016 - held at Lake Yale Conference Center, Leesburg FL www.FloridaCWC.net  

Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers ConferenceMay 22-26, 2016 - held at Ridgecrest Assembly in Black Mountain NC (near Asheville) http://www.altongansky.typepad.com

New England Christian Writers RetreatJune 17-19, 2016 - held at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary near Boston MA (Early bird discount until Dec 31 – I am one of the directors as well as faculty). www.NewEnglandChristianWritersRetreat.com

Merry Christmas and Keep Writing.

Invest in your #writing career next year - thoughts from author @LucindaSMcDowel (Click to Tweet)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is the author of 11 books, contributing author to 25 books, and has published in more than 50 magazines. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she studied at the Wheaton Graduate School of Communication and served as Communications Specialist for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization (Thailand) and Editor for Billy Graham’s International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (Netherlands). A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), she has received “Writer of the Year” awards from both Mt. Hermon and Blue Ridge Writers Conferences. Cindy speaks internationally through her ministry “Encouraging Words” and co-directs the New England Christian Writers Retreat. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England. Visit her online at www.EncouragingWords.net 


  1. Cindy, I am forever grateful for you and the NECWR. I started my writing career with you, Tessa, Cec, Suzy Q and Lauren a year ago. I followed the advice given; now I have a book contract and a great job working with other authors at A3. May God continue to use you mightily as you serve Him. Thank you, again.

  2. Thanks, Cindy! I started taking writing seriously last March. Just yesterday I was considering the Blue Ridge writer's conference.