Writing life

EMACW Conference with Marion Bond West and Julie Garmon

My local writers’ group (EMACW — East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers) had the fun of hosting a conference a couple of weekends ago. We’re so blessed that our director works for a local technical college and handled arranging the meeting space for us. You can’t beat having a state-of-the-art conference facility at your disposal.

We had a nice crowd (about 40, which is what we had prayed for … next time we’ll pray for more!) and top-notch speakers: the mother/daughter team of Marion Bond West and Julie Garmon.

If you’re familiar with Guideposts, both those names mean something to you. Marion is the magazine’s most published writer (and she’s quick to add ‘and most rejected’ to that claim to fame), and Julie has also written many things for Guideposts and other magazines. Marion signed copies of her latest book, Praying for My Life.

They taught about how to write the type of inspirational articles Guideposts likes, how to write (and not write) devotionals, and how to focus on take-away value. It was the first time they’ve taught together, so they seemed to have a lot of fun with that. They taught us so much and felt like part of the family by the time the day ended. I think that’s part of the beauty of being writers — we all understand and love each other and the creativity God blessed us with.

I hope you enjoy a few photos from the day (double click the images to enlarge them)!

Julie Garmon & Marion Bond WestOur wonderful instructors, Julie Garmon and Marion Bond West.

Our director Colleen welcomed everyone to start the day. We’re blessed to have several members who write music and lyrics, so have a subgroup for them. Cindy, the leader of the songwriters’ group, led us in several praise and worship songs. After that time and a devotional and prayer we were all in the right frame of mind for learning and listening to God!

Marion teaching. She had a basket overflowing with copies of Guideposts with her articles and spent a lot of time showing them to us — what worked, what didn’t work, the stories behind the stories. Very interesting, especially to a group of writers!

 Julie loves to teach with visual aids. Here, she uses a couple of Barbie dolls to illustrate how we need to be real in our writing instead of dressing things up and trying to impress people. Readers love us so much more when they see that we’re real!

Notice Wanda the Wig Head on the table. She’s all dressed up with loads of jewelry, feathers and other fanciness … but she would’ve been just fine with some earrings and pearls. Their point (other than to make us laugh)? Sometimes we keep adding and adding to our writing when we need to keep it simple. That’s especially true with pieces like devotionals, where we need to focus on one point and not go off on oodles of tangents or try to cram too much into a short space. Hmmmmm … I’m sure I never try to do those kinds of things (yeah, right).

Please visit www.emacw.org if you’d like to learn more about our group and upcoming meetings or special events. We have members who write fiction, non-fiction and poetry … members who are published and those who are unpublished … members who have babies and members who have grandchildren … and we all love each other and writing for the Lord dearly! I can’t imagine a better motto than the one they crafted years ago: “Because He lives, we write for Him!”