Get Inspired, Start Writing

Learning the art of powerful, first-person, inspirational storytelling for Guideposts

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Posted in , May 15, 2015

Guideposts writing workshop (Photo by Mike Frezon)

Did you miss me?

I mean last week. I didn’t blog. But I have a note from the teacher. Her name is Debbie.

I was in Vero Beach, Florida, helping Amy Wong and Rick Hamlin teach one of our Guideposts “mini-workshops.” What are they? I’ll explain.

As many of you know, every two years Guideposts holds an inspirational writing contest. I hate calling it a contest because it implies losers and winners and almost everyone who enters has something important and brave and honest to say in their story. 

We can’t award everyone with an all-expenses paid trip to our week-long writing boot camp in Rye, New York, in an old mansion on the Long Island Sound. So we whittle the thousands of entrants down to 15 or so (by the way, every new editor hired at Guideposts is required to go through the workshop, me included way back in…well, never mind).

Then we spend the week working hard on teaching and learning the art of powerful, first-person, inspirational storytelling. Most attendees—I’m still avoiding using the word winner—say the experience changed their lives.

READ MORE: A HUSBAND’S FAITH BOLSTERS A WRITER’S DREAM

Many of them become regular contributors to the family of Guideposts publications. In fact, we think of our workshoppers as family, our far-flung eyes and ears across the country looking for the people and the stories you tell us you love.

If it weren’t for the workshoppers, we wouldn’t have those wonderful narrators you relate to so deeply. In fact, in the August issue we have six pieces originated by workshoppers, ranging in age from 32 to 95! That blows me away.

Anyway, in between the big biennial workshops, we have these periodic mini-workshop weekends for the writers who have gone through the Rye boot camp and are working on promising manuscripts. This past weekend we got together with a dozen of our workshop friends at a little resort in Vero Beach, Florida. That’s what I was doing instead of writing a blog.

So who’s Debbie? Debbie is beloved best-selling romance novelist and Christian writer Debbie Macomber, whose generosity makes the workshop program possible. She joined us for dinner Saturday night, which was a lot of fun. In addition to being an incredibly popular author and Daily Guideposts devotional writer, Debbie is also a very funny speaker.    

So that’s my excuse. What’s yours? 

READ MORE: DEBBIE MACOMBER’S SPIRITUAL BOND WITH HER READERS

We don’t have a writers workshop contest this year (only in even-numbered years) but at exactly this time next year we will be reading the story submissions for the 2016 Writers Workshop held in that old mansion I told you about.

Can’t you see yourself making the trip to Rye on the wings of a true, personal story of faith in action? Dr. Peale always said to visualize. Visualize yourself winning the contest. Whoops. There, I said it. But you know something? You’re a winner just by trying. So get started. Please. We need you.

P.S. Millie update: she’s doing really well and is now on an experimental cancer treatment using a substance—a peptide—derived from a mushroom. I call them her magic mushrooms. Julee and I thank you for your continued prayers for our sweet Golden girl. We hope God gives us as much time with her as he can spare…but then I understand he always needs angels up in heaven.

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