I love the quote by Maxwell Perkins that goes like this: “Just get it down on paper, then we will see what to do with it.” Perkins, as the editor of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, knew what he was talking about. I also like the quote by James Thurber, “Don’t get it right. Just get it written.”
I just wish I would live by those words, as I should. The blank page. Why does it haunt me?
The perfectionist in us perhaps, or the fear of being criticized or the fear of the painful memories we channel when we begin to write. But, the quote by Perkins reminds us to just begin, just get it on paper, onto the computer, into that journal.
That’s why I am really excited to announce the theme of the 2015 Faith & Culture Writers Conference: Rough Draft: From Blank to Beautiful.
We want to gather friends of words and story and The Word together to give them permission to create. To not be afraid of the blank page. To know that it’s okay to know that our work is in progress. Because aren’t we all rough drafts, creations of God whom He’s working on?
Every year as our leadership team thinks through, prays over, and dreams about the theme for the Faith & Culture Writers Conference, we come up with five words that represent our vision for the year. This year, to go along with the Rough Draft theme, we wanted to have those five words reflect the nature of the creative process. Those five words this year are:
Decide, Dare, Prepare, Persist, Release.
Follow these 5 words, and you will find your creativity expand and your writing career moving forward.
Decide. We need to decide we are writers, dreamers, artists, activists, authors, entrepreneurs, believers. It starts with a yes. An, “I can do this, I will do this, I start today.” It is a simple yes, packed in deep dreams and beliefs and that you-know-you-are-called vision. Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission, to tell you you are good enough. You do not need their permission. God has already given you permission. He has shaped you and molded you and made you into a creative being. He is a creative God. His first words, “In the beginning, God created.” Decide. Begin.
Dare. To write that first word. That first story. That first blog post. That first article. That first book proposal. That hundredth book proposal. Let’s face it, It takes courage to get our words and story out there. It takes guts. People may not like our work, they may not appreciate our story, they may think we are not good enough. That’s okay. Do it anyway. It’s your calling.
Prepare. Yes, you do need to decide that you are a writer with something to contribute, and you then need to dare to get your art out there, to have courage. But then, you need to find a way, get some advice, seek out the expertise of others, learn how to write moving blog posts. As a writers’ conference, we want to help you prepare for that launch of your words, your art, your story, your creativity.
Persist. Okay, you’ve decided to begin, you’ve said yes to the dare, and you’ve begun to prepare for what that means. Perhaps, it’s twice a week blog posts, meeting with a friend, seeking out an editor, attending a writers conference. But, then truth be told, it takes persistence. It takes sticking with it! There really are no one–book wonders or one-blog-post-goes-viral-and-you-are-famous wonders, or one-anything-wonders. Most of those authors who “make it” have been writing for years. When no one was noticing. Until one day, they got noticed.
Release. It’s time. You’ve decided to get your words out there, you’ve dared to be creative, you’ve prepared and you’ve stuck with it. Now, let it go. That’s it. Let people read it, and keep getting it out there, and leave the results to God. If one or a million or just you are changed by your words, your story, your art, it was worth it.
(This post originally appeared on the Faith & Culture Writers Conference Website. Join us April 10-11, 2015 for our conference! More info here: Faith & Culture Writers)