November 14, 2012

The Most Important Thing I Did for My Writing Career: Guest Post by Gabrielle Meyer

Today I'm excited to introduce one of my good writing friends, Gabrielle Meyer. I had the privilege of rooming with her not once, but twice--first at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in September and then one month later at the My Book Therapy Storycrafters Retreat. She's the sweetest person ever and I can't wait to see how God is going to use her in the writing world to change lives! Thanks for being my guest today, Gabe!

I'm an extrovert by nature. I get energized when I'm with other people – and sometimes that's hard when you're a writer. Yes, I spend my writing time with a plethora of colorful characters, and sometimes I even talk to them, but writing a book is a very lonely pursuit, and for someone like me, who craves support from like-minded people, it means I need to find fellowship with others to keep my tank full.

For years I felt like a little island when it came to writing Christian Fiction. I only knew a handful of writers in my small community, but they didn’t write Christian Fiction and, for one reason or another, I never connected with them.

Because I flourish in a supportive environment, I didn't go after my writing dream for a long, long time.

In February of this year I stumbled across something that changed my life forever: the online Christian writing community. I discovered there were hundreds of other writers out there, many of them pursuing the same dream to write stellar Christian Fiction, but the most beautiful thing I discovered is that we all speak the same heart language.

There is nothing like finding a group of Christians who are like-minded, but when they also have a passion to share the Gospel of Christ through the art of storytelling, it’s priceless.

Finding the online Christian writing community has been the best thing for my pursuit to publication. Not only have I made incredible friendships and learned how to be a better writer, I’ve also benefited from their expertise and encouragement (not to mention their connections within the publishing industry!).

If anyone ever asks me for writing advice, the first thing I will tell them is to get involved with the writing community – and the best place to do that is start visiting blogs. Here are some that jump started me in February:

Jody Hedlund, Author: www.jodyhedlund.blogspot.com

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent: www.rachellegardner.com

Books & Such Literary Agency: www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/

Steve Laube Literary Agency: www.stevelaube.com/blog/

Chip MacGregor Literary Agency: www.chipmacgregor.com/

What I recommend is go to these sites, leave a comment, and then click on all the other people who comment, check out their blogs and leave comments there, too. That’s how I found Lindsay!

Lindsay and Gabe at the ACFW conference in September 2012.
You’d be surprised at what you can learn, and the friendships you can make, all at your fingertips.

What about you? What blogs would you recommend to someone who wants to meet other writers? Has the online writing community helped you on your pursuit to publication?
If you are not a writer, what was something that helped you in your career of choice?
~ ~ ~ ~
Gabrielle Meyer lives in Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children, including two year old twin boys. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society for ten years, and the Morrison County Historical Society for two years, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by actual events. Since 2004, she’s written for Minnesota Moments Magazine and she does freelance writing for non-profit organizations. In her “free” time she enjoys volunteering for her church and community and is a big fan of MOPS and AWANA. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or her blog.

28 comments:

  1. Sometimes, I play your video for my friends and we giggle! It was such a pleasure to meet you, Gabe. I'll tell you, I wrote several mss before I ever found the online community and while it was a lot of fun, it simply wasn't the same. I think you've given great advice to anyone who wants to write. I'm looking forward to reading your book when it hits the shelves, and I have NO doubt that it will!

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    1. I was just telling some of my Minnesota friends about that video yesterday, Jessica! I had so much fun meeting you, too - next time I'll have to get a video of you and your southern drawl to show to my friends! :) Thank you for the encouragement - I can't wait to read your books, too!

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  2. Thanks for your encouragement. I was so happy when I found community through these websites too. People are so kind and willing to share their knowledge!
    http://www.chadrallen.com/ Recently I discovered this blog as well. He has great thoughts and shares great work on twitter.

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    1. Hi, Lisa! I agree, I was blown away at how welcoming the writing community is and how freely they offer encouragement and advice. It's so nice to meet you and fun to find a new writer here on Lindsay's blog today! I will check out the blog you suggested! Thank you.

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  3. Hi Lindsay! Hi Gabrielle!

    Great list of blogs for writing advice!

    I felt the same way when I discovered the online writing community. Suddenly, I wasn't alone anymore.

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    1. Hi, Loree! So fun to be on Lindsay's blog and see all these familiar faces. :) It is a good feeling when you realize you aren't alone anymore - and it's even more fun when you're surrounded by fellow writers.

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  4. The Kill Zone & Writer Unboxed are great sites also.

    Online writing friends have pushed me on during the hardest of times and I pray I've encouraged when it's been needed most.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Thanks for the site suggestions, Wendy, I hadn't heard of those, but I'll be sure to check them out.

      Online writing friends have been there for me, too, and I'm always amazed when they go out of their way for me. I agree with you, I hope I've been able to encourage them, and to continue to encourage as I'm needed.

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  5. Lindsay and Gabrielle together. What a treat!

    I wrote for two years before I discovered the wonderful world of writers online. What a great day that was. :-)

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    1. Keli! One of the first writers I found online! I wonder how many writers are out there, who don't know about the great community waiting at their fingertips? That's why it will be one of my first pieces of advice for aspiring authors. Once you discover the writing community, you'll quickly learn all the other steps you need to take. It's not necessary to connect online, but it's so helpful.

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  6. Gabrielle, what a great post. I know I felt totally alone till I threw my lot in with the CBA vs the ABA. I had lots of writer-followers, but they didn't understand my deeper motivations for writing. Now I'm so thankful to have made connections with lots of writers who are trying to use their gifts for God, not to mention people who are on-board with the messages I'm trying to write about.

    SO THANKFUL for people like you and Lindsay (and probably many of the commenters here!) who visit my blog and have left encouraging messages along the way. Hoping to meet lots of you in person at ACFW this year!

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    1. Heather - how fun to hear part of your writing journey. I agree, having writing friends is important, but when they are seeking to use their gifts for God, it's all the better. It's not an easy path to trod, so having those people to help and encourage is so important.

      I'm already looking forward to the ACFW Conference! I'm so happy you'll be there this year. Looking forward to meeting you, too.

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  7. Nice guest post!

    I agree, blogging has connected me to some amazing people I would have otherwise never known!

    God bless your endeavors.

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    1. Nice to meet you TC! My only complaint about the online community is that we're all so far apart! Lindsay lives in Arizona and I'm in Minnesota - that makes for a long distance drive! Thankfully we have plans to connect a few times this year at conferences and retreats, but sometimes it would be nice to be across town from one another! Thank you for the blessing.

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  8. I'm with you. I love the writing and blogging community!

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    1. Hi, Julie! Isn't it a fun place to hang out? :) Thanks for stopping by today.

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  9. Thank you for having me as a guest today, Lindsay! I count your friendship as one of my many blessings in life and I'm so happy God wove our paths together. One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes is: "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one." And that's how I felt when I met you. :) Looking forward to all the fun times we'll have together in the future!

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  10. I love this post. I know how much I need the writing community I've become a part of over the past few years. I've made treasured friends, and they've helped me through some sketchy times.

    I love that quote from C.S. Lewis. :)

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    1. Erica, I also need the writing community. Like I said, I'm an extrovert by nature and other people energize me - which is what I need while I write. I'm so thankful I can count you among my friends - and a fellow Minnesotan to boot! :)

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  11. Great post, and those are worth their (virtual) weight in gold.

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  12. I'm mainly on a hideout from blogs in the next couple weeks but I couldn't possibly skip a post by one of my favorite writer friends on the site of one of my other favorite writer friends. :) I so agree with you, Gabrielle, that the online writing community is amazing and supportive. I'd heard previously what a cutthroat and competitive world publishing can be...but I just haven't seen or experienced it in CBA circles, especially not online. I'm so grateful to have met so many amazing people, including you and Linds!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello, Melissa!! I can't wait for your return to the blogosphere. :) I hope all is going well with the new story.

      Before I started pursuing publication, I didn't have any pre-conceived ideas of the publishing world - so I'm happy to discover that it's such a great community of people, and I'm so thankful for all my great friendships, including your's. :)

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  13. I am so with you, Gabrielle! I joined RWA as soon as I started seriously writing, and a few years later, I joined ACFW. What a blessing! One of the first blogs I ever followed was Jody Hedlund's. But the very first? Camy Tang's Story Sensei. She churned out terrific writing advice. I learned a lot from her blog!

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    1. Jill! So nice to see you here. :) I'm thankful I found ACFW and was able to meet so many of my online friends at the conference in October. It's a great organization and it's fun watching it grow. Jody Hedlund's was one of the very first blogs I came across - her blog is so helpful and educational. I've never heard of Camy Tang's blog, but I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  15. So lovely to see Gabrielle here! Thanks for hosting her, Lindsay. :)

    Gabrielle, I couldn't agree with you more. I plugged in through blogs like Jody's, Katie Ganshert's, and others. My blogging and writing friends are true *heart* friends even though we're separated by several miles.

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    1. So nice to see you, too, Sarah! Katie's was one of my earliest blog finds and I found so many friends there. The miles are hard sometimes, but I'm thankful that everyone is just a click away. :)

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