"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

7/14/08

Two Years Ago Today: A Tribute

Exactly two years ago today, I was surfing the internet, and I found something very special. I can't tell you exactly what I was looking for, but I will tell you this--I had spent the last three years using every bit of creative energy I had persevering (with God's incredible help) through the many issues that had been added to my life since my husband got sick. I was finally feeling like I had a bit of spare creativity to use elsewhere. Perhaps I was looking for somewhere to channel that creativity that was a bit more fun than crisis management. What I found has become an integral part of my life.

Faithwriters was the answer to the prayer I hadn't even prayed yet. I had worked as a newspaper reporter before I had kids, and had even dabbled in a bit of fiction (and ghastly poetry), but it was at this wonderful site that I finally had the opportunity to exercise my "writing muscles"--for the first time as a Christian, in a Christian environment. I found the amazing message boards that very day, and submitted my very first challenge entry the following day (note the horrible spacing, plethora of exclamation points, and annoying abundance of capital letters).

Through the past two years, I have grown dramatically in my writing and my confidence in it. I have made some amazing Christian friends who are closer to me than many members of my family. I also learned, through comments from some of these very special friends from around the globe, what one of my Spiritual Gifts is, and I have started up a bit of a ministry at the site to help me and several like-gifted sisters in Christ an opportunity to exercise their encouragement gift.

It was not very long after I became a regular at Faithwriters that I joined the Faithwriters 500. It seemed like a logical thing to do - so many benefits to take advantage of, plus the amazing benefits I was already receiving. How could I not spare the $10 a month to support this site that had helped me so much already?

Since joining, I have had several stories featured in Faithwriters Magazine, as well as the magazine "BraveHearts" and the Sunday School paper "Purpose." I've had a story in a Faithwriters anthology, and have one set for publication later this year in another magazine. I have submitted quite a few articles and stories to paid publications, and through some of them, I have helped supplement our income a little--and every little bit helps, of course.

Being a FW500 member has encouraged me to write in completely new ways and to try things I never would have tried before. I am working on a non-fiction book about God's workings in our lives since my husband got sick (gonna be submitting it to the FW500 only Page Turner Contest), and I even have an idea, and a bit of preliminary writing done, for a Biblical fiction novel on the Biblical queen Michal.

I also had the amazing privilege and blessing of attending the inaugural Faithwriters Writing Conference last summer in Detroit. The fellowship was incredible, and it was unlike anything I had ever attended before. I learned so much, and it was just special in every way. I still miss every one of those people, even though it's been a year AND I chat with many of them still anyhow.

Now, it seems my very favorite website in the world is having some major financial difficulties. In the words of my dear friend and all-around-everybody at Faithwriters, Deb Porter/Breathfreshair:
I really can't tell you how serious the situation is for FaithWriters. Without the financial support of the members, I really don't know what the future holds.

Membership in the 500 provides so many benefits, but FaithWriters itself is such a blessing. The fact that so many people give so much time, voluntarily, is testimony to how much this place means to so many people.

I won't beat around the bush. We need your help.
I am already a member, and am sponsoring another, and I'm not sure I can afford to do another. I do NOT want to wake up one morning and have Faithwriters gone. After my two years there, I can't imagine NOT having that wonderful place.

I did not write this in order to be a "marketing campaign" for Faithwriters, but because of my deep love for the site, the people at it, and the amazing benefits it has provided to me (and the body of Christ!) over the past years. I am praying like I never have to Keep Faithwriters Alive, and I'm trying to put feet to those prayers. If you love Faithwriters too (or love me - or even just kinda like the idea of it), can you join me? I want this site around for a very long time so others can benefit, and so I can celebrate ANOTHER two years of blessing in 2010. :)

5 comments:

  1. Yes, FaithWriters has been a big encouragement to me and helped me improve my writing. I also the fellowship of other Christians, plus the opportunity to minister to each other. I pray that it will continue and grow.

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  2. What a wonderful tribute to FW, Jo. I've been and will continue to pray for the site.

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  3. Praying for Faithwriters! It is an awesome tool fo writers - I'd be heartbroken if it were to end.

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  4. Wonderfully said, JoDear!! Life without FW is a scarey thought! Praying hard!

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  5. I can't imagine what I would do without FaithWriters. I plan on sponsoring another person, and I'm so glad that you support the site like you do, Joanne. Thank you!

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