By Julie Kay
Everyone has been the “new kid.” At school or work. In church. New kid at ACFW. It’s exciting, right?
Maybe for some.
For me, being the new kid morphs into a triplex of thrills, spills, and anxiety as I maneuver unfamiliar territory. Growing up in the same town and going to the same school with the same kids, I never had the chance to be the “new kid.”
When I gained this status at my first job, I couldn’t have been more excited. However, employment didn’t shimmer and shine for very long. I plopped a basket of McDonald fries into a vat of grease and burned my hand. Four shifts later, stains dotted my expensive work shoes. Then the trainer turned me loose on a register without her and I thought I would vomit when my cash drawer was off by $1.50.
Sure. I was only seventeen, but fast forward a few years.
(Okay, maybe fast forward a few decades.)
I attended my first ACFW conference with a group of ladies I met the day we climbed into the Chapter president’s van and headed to Dallas, Texas. I was the new kid. At the conference, there were people who understood the complexities of having imaginary people in my head. They shared the same challenges. They pursued the same calling, and many wanted the same thing—to become published authors.
Scary? Yes. Worth the time and money? Absolutely! Like springtime showers meant to nourish little seedlings, this new experience helped me grow.
The new will do that.
From a distance, I’ve watched editors and agents grapple with the changing landscape of publishing and I’ve learned a valuable lesson—what to do with the new.
First. Always first—I pray.
As writers, before each new project we must invite the Lord into the process through our intimate conversations with Him. It’s through prayer that we will find the tools we need to maneuver unfamiliar terrain and discover the endurance to swim through streams in a wasteland of doubts and/or fears.
Second. I became a gold seeker.
New circumstances can bring out the best in us. Or not. We must find the good—the gold lying within the depths of our new mountain. As a Christian writer, new settings, like conferences and workshops, helped me grow in the craft. Critique partners sharpen me and mentors encourage me. New can be golden opportunities.
Third. Reach out.
Like flowers stretching toward the sun, we writers must reach out to those around us. I know. It’s new. It’s hard, especially for introverts. Sure, we must always use wisdom and discernment when we’re the “new kids.” Yet, we were all made to live in community with others. Why? Because lone sheep have limited views. Lone sheep can get lost. And lone sheep can quickly find themselves in dangerous places.
Pray. Seek. Reach out.
That’s what we writers must do with the “new,” no matter what our “new” looks like.From a distance, I’ve watched editors and agents grapple with the changing landscape of publishing and I’ve learned a valuable lesson—what to do with the new. @juliakayauthor #ACFWBlogs #writetips #writing Click To Tweet
Julia Kay serves as the President of Exodus Ministry, which helps women released from prison find transformative freedom. She has served as an ACFW Chapter president. She contributes faith articles to a local newspaper column and wields her pen to best explore and illuminate the human condition through women’s fiction.