Last weekend I had a wonderful time at the Word Weavers retreat in Fruitland Park, FL. If you've been following my blog, you know it was the first time I've done any public speaking about writing (I was a pastor for 25 years, so speaking in public wasn't a challenge). Seemed to go well. No one threw anything at me, nor did anyone get up and leave while I spoke. I consider both of these things a plus.
Larry Leech, the President of Word Weavers, served as host and emcee. Did a great job, made it a lot of fun. "Media Circus" was the theme (if you've seen any of the pictures, explains the circus motif). Revell author Eva Marie Everson and Cheri Cowell, both VP's of Word Weavers, did a workshop on social networking. Gave me some great ideas. Eva also gave an encouraging word from Ezekiel 36:26-28. She actually did a word study, elaborating on what all the Hebrew words meant in the passage.
I did a workshop on what it looks like transitioning to writing fulltime, shared my writing journey, and talked about keeping our eye on what matters most along the way. The WW chapter volunteers did a great job organizing everything. The whole weekend went smoothly (they had an incredible snack table). Even the food in the cafeteria was good.
But I think all there would agree, the highpoint was a surprise visit from Jerry Jenkins, the President of the Christian Writers Guild, who recently acquired Word Weavers, to serve as their model for establishing critique groups for writers throughout the US. Jerry is the NY Times bestselling co-author of the Left Behind series, as well as dozens of other books (a total of 70 million in print).
I found him to be humble, warm, funny and big-hearted. He gave each of us free signed copies of two of his books. Actually changed the cover of one in honor of the occasion, and the other was Riven, his favorite novel. He answered questions, told some great stories and shared his vision for how Word Weavers will work together with Christian Writer's Guild to make a difference in the writing community.
In the group pic, L-R: Jerry Jenkins, Eva Marie Everson, me, Cheri Cowell and Larry Leech.