ChristianWriters. It was one of the most fortuitous discoveries I’ve ever made. The site is the stomping grounds of one of the friendliest, most helpful, and just all around fun bunch of writers on the web. Featuring critique-trading workshops, an atmosphere designed to help writers sharpen each other’s skills without devolving into destructive flame wars, and a writing showcase, the site is an ever-growing destination for newbies and experienced authors alike. Working behind the scenes to keep things running is author and web designer K. Rebecca Taylor, who took a few minutes from her jammed schedule to discuss the site and explain her journey with it:
AC: Tell us a bit about ChristianWriters.com. What is the site designed to do?
KRT: ChristianWriters.com is designed to provide writers with the resources and encouragement they need for a successful writing career.
AC: What’s the story behind ChristianWriters’ origins? When did you start it?
KRT: I became a Christian in the late 90s, and had a great desire to find other people who shared both my faith and interest in writing. Many of the secular writing sites were hostile to any expression or discussion of faith, and to my knowledge no sites for Christian writers existed. I felt led to create a spot on the web for writers of faith and launched the first version of ChristianWriters.com in late 1999.
AC: What’s your background as a writer? As a web designer?
KRT: I have fourteen years professional experience as a webmaster and web designer and am currently a contractor employed as the Sr. Webmaster for a government agency. I’ve also done many years of freelance work and enjoy running sites such as CW for a hobby.
Although I occasionally construct web content or articles for clients, most of my writing is for pleasure. I really enjoy the process of creating characters and throwing them into a situation to see how they react. I’m sure this sounds nutty to anyone who doesn’t write fiction, but many times the characters seem to take on a life of their own. There’s a great excitement when you hit that spot where the characters “take over” and begin to tell you their story. Many times, I’m as surprised by the outcome as the people reading the story later!
KRT: Future plans are to continue expanding CW and adding useful features. Currently, we’re working behind the scenes to improve the showcase feature and turn it into a full-fledged article and story sub-site of CW. This should bring in a greater audience for our writers and help to market their work and expand their fan base.
We’re working to expand CW’s utilization of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Also in the works is a section for writer markets and/or guidelines for publications. This has been discussed for a while, but is taking quite a bit of time to implement.
As always, if anyone has a suggestion for a new feature or improvement I’d love to hear about it! Please feel free to post in the Suggestion Box section of the support forum at CW.
AC: What other web projects do you have under way or plans to get started?
KRT: My husband and I are currently working on a site called Inkspire.me, which will be a sister site to CW. Inkspire.me will offer many of the same features and services as CW, but is geared toward the secular marketplace and will also offer features for artists.
We believe the upcoming Inkspire.me site will be a great asset to many CW members who write for both the Christian and secular markets. If anyone is interested in the upcoming site, please feel free to sign up. The site is under construction, but feel free to poke around and check out the features!
AC: What do you feel has been the high point of the site’s existence? Low point?
KRT: I think every site has its ebb and flow, but overall the development of CW has remained pretty consistent.
AC: What kind of people do you hope will benefit from the site?
KRT: The ChristianWriters.com site is geared toward discussion of writing and of the Christian faith, but anyone is welcome to join in. As the showcase develops, it’ll be great to see more readers flock to the site to support our writers and their work. With the introduction of the writer markets, I also look forward to seeing more publishers and content providers frequenting the site.
AC: Any words of advice for those who would like to join up?
KRT: My advice is to just jump in and have fun! Be sure to introduce yourself in the Open Forum by starting a Meets & Greets thread so we can give you a proper welcome. If you have any questions, post them in our support forum and we’ll be happy to help.
We look forward to seeing you there!