Last weekend I attended the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc (OWFI) conference. Our keynote speaker, Steven James, spoke on the Untouched Moment. Steve has his masters degree in storytelling. He had us laughing until our faces hurt, but he also left us with a message every writer needs to hear.
In this age of writing we have incredible opportunities for publishing. But that means, so do hundreds of thousands of others. Our writerly voices calling, "Hey, notice me. I wrote a book!" is like shouting in the wind during a tornado. We work hard at marketing. We dream of being on the list. We hope for royalty checks. And in this pursuit we let moments pass us by, untouched.
His presentation validated my writing. For years I've practiced awareness and recapturing wonder. But lately, I've been so busy and caught up in the business of writing, my well dried up. It was good to hear Steve's message. So, once again, I am taking time each day to reflect, to observe moments around me, to notice life away from my computer. My well is filling up.
As writers we have a powerful voice. Mark Twain once penned, A drop of ink may make a million think. Page Lambert once said, "We cannot change the past. But we can give health to the future." That is why I write, to give health to the future. However, in order to do that, I need to renew my mind, keep it fresh, notice the special moments, and not worry so much over the business of writing.
If my words give health to the future, if someone's life is impacted and changed for the best, if I have given hope or encouragement, then I've accomplished something much better than making it on a list, or winning an award, or even having received a royalty check larger than the price of a hamburger.
Notice the moments. Conversations around the table, the sun shining on the trees as a storm approaches behind them, a child's first time in the ocean, a squirrel peeking over a fence. Let God talk to you about these moments. He has given me parables and life lessons through such things. I've submitted moments to Chicken Soup for the Soul and been published sixteen times. I'm not so proud of the number of times I've been published by them as I am at the prospect of helping others through my experiences.
As I wrote earlier, there are incredible opportunities for writers. I also know how desperate people are for hope, encouragement, and guidance. If we write the moments, if we write to give health to the future with our fiction and nonfiction, then we've done something eternal.
I'm good with that!