Friday, July 16, 2010

First Submission Accepted-Yeh! God!

We have a saying in our church when God has provided a blessing, "Yeh...God!" Why are we surprised when God blesses? Perhaps because we set our expectations too low. I know sometimes I fail to ask God for something because I don't think I deserve it or think it's too insignificant or I'm just too independent trying to make things happen myself. Well, this is a Yeh...God! moment.

I had a goal to write a story and submit it. Other than that I hadn't thought beyond writing more things to submit. At the writer's conference you hear how long it takes most writers to have something published. Of course with a book I'm sure that's usually the case. I had read and had other writers say you should write articles, devotions and short stories to get your feet wet. When I attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference I submitted some devotionals for critique and I ended up sitting in a couple of workshops about writing articles and thought it was something I could do. Though my heart desired to write fiction I wanted to be open to what God was leading me to do.

I already knew when I returned from BRMCWC the first story I'd write and started doing research. Author, speaker Vonda Skelton talked about re-purposing your articles and initially I planned my article for magazine publication. I realized that because the article was specific to my town that I should at least submit it to the local newspaper. I knew this was a story I was familiar with and you hear often "write what you know".

This story would require interviewing so I purchased an inexpensive digital
recorder and gathered questions that I wanted answered. I stepped out of my comfort zone to interview people I knew and some I didn't. I had a nice camera and took about 100 photos at the week long event I was covering. After rewriting my story dozens of times and trying to incorporate the directives I learned at the conference I felt confident I had a good story that would be interesting to the readers and I had some great photo shots.

The local paper does not normally accept freelance stories, but I didn't let that stop me from submitting. I prepared a letter to the editor, attached a business card as a freelance writer and asked for some feedback even if they were not interested in using my article. I put the package together and drove to The Wake Weekly office and left it with one of the employees and simply said, "please give this to the editor". About a week later I followed up with an email to the editor to make sure he had received my package and he emailed back that he had and it was a well written story that they'd like to use along with 2 of the photos I had taken. My assignment was to give him the names of the two individuals of which I didn't have a clue.

I spent the next 4 hours running around town and making calls to find the name of these 2 individuals amongst 270 that attended the event. Not only was I able to get their names, I tracked one down to his home where I met the dad and got permission to use the photo and the other child I was able to speak to her mom who gave permission. I was trying to meet a deadline and God was there every step of the way. I've been told that the story should be in next week's edition and they have asked me to do some assigned writing if I'm interested as well as submitting future articles of my own. I'm humbled that my first attempt at submission has been fruitful and should be an encouragement to keep me writing. My article is just under 800 words and titled "Volunteers Take the Heat". I'm looking forward to seeing it in print and pray that I will always write stories/articles/devotions that are honoring to God.

My next goal is to complete the devotions that I had critiqued by The Upper Room- Associate Editor, Susan King and submit them!