Posted by: krpooler | February 13, 2011

Writing for the Soul


     I just returned from Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild(CWG) annual “Writing for the Soul” Conference in Denver,Colorado. From Thursday through Sunday,I have been swept up in a wave of learning, singing, praise,worship,laughter,crying,soul-affirming networking, reuniting with old friends and forging new friendships.

     I met  face-to-face with six editors,one literary agent and one CWG mentor. I submitted two pages of a manuscript for the “Thick-skinned Critique” and learned from the masters, best -selling author,Jerry Jenkins and Editor-in-Chief, Michael Ehret about ferocious editing. I was inspired and entertained by best-selling author,Liz Curtis Higgs; best-selling novelist,Brandilyn Collins; motivational speaker,author and humorist, Ken Davis; author,playwright,actor and humorist,McNair Wilson and author and director of the professional writing program at Taylor University,Dennis Hensley. As if that wasn’t enough, America’s tenor, Steve Amerson,held us spellbound as he regaled us with Broadway tunes. Songwriter and guitarist,Shawn Wesley Graham had us swaying to his praise songs before each meal.

"Writing for the Soul" Conference

     Here’s what I take away:

     Story Rules~ in both fiction and non fiction

     Be Your Own Ferocious Critic~ edit and re-edit until you get it right.

     Develop a thick skin~ all editing is subjective

     Find Your Hook~  capture the reader’s attention in the first sentence. Time is precious for both editors and readers.

      Get to Your Main Point Quickly~don’t make your reader have to dig for the purpose of your sentence.

      Keep your writing crisp, tight and purposeful~ give your reader credit for filling in the blanks.

      Ask yourself: How can the reader relate? What can I give the reader? What do I want the reader’s experience to be?

       Believe in your story~only you can write your story.

      Be willing to do whatever it takes to get your story out there~ learn your craft, be open to critique and ways to improve, keep writing.

      Have fun~ find humor in your life and learn to use it in your writing.Treat yourself to this post from Search for the Soul on humor and healing by fellow writer, Sampatron.

      Have an attitude of excellence in all you do~find your edge.

     I went to Denver with the main goal of practicing my pitch, refining my focus. Each time I pitched my story, it became more alive. I walked away with a clearer perspective of how my story needs to gel,an idea for another book, plans to submit articles to magazines as a way of building my platform and to enroll in a “Writing Essentials” course as well as two editor requests for a book proposal.

But,most important,I walked away with the sense of soul nourishment and dream affirmation through the friendship and fellowship. So everytime I sit down to write, I will write for my soul. I will honor God’s presence in my life through my writing.  


Marjorie and I meet in person for the first time at Lookout Mt,Co. We've been fellow NAMW Memoir Workshop students and only knew each other over the phone

How about you? What nurtures your soul?

Libbye and I first met at another writer's conference in 2009


  1. Just wanted to say “thanks” for mentioning my blog and that I’m glad you found something of interest in it. Humor can be very difficult to come by at the times when we most need it; keeping the red line in mind is one way to remind ourselves to lighten up. Souls appreciate that. *S* Sam

    • Thanks for stopping by ,Sam. Your post resonated with me. I hope others will enjoy it as much as I did.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful conference, Kathy! Your photos are great (love that mountain scenery!), and you sound enthused about your writing project and eager to begin another book. I’m sure the practice pitching was helpful, too. Every time we “step out of our comfort zone” we grow — Write On!!

    • Yes,Yes,Yes Deb to everything! I’ll not forget those mountains any time soon. Practicing the pitch was indeed the single most valuable aspect of the entire conference. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Kathy,

    What an inspiring post! You summed up the conference so well. Bravo! It was fantastic to spend time with you again, and I have a feeling I know what our 2012 conference will be — Writing for the Soul, again!


    • Yes, Libbye, it was wonderful to reconnect again and I really look forward to next year. Of course, you can always plan a trip up North in between times 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by and best wishes on your transition.

  4. P.S. I love the photo of us!

  5. Kathy, you had a great learning experience at the “Writing For THe Soul Conference’. Good for you and your soul!. You got a chance to learn the craft ‘from bottom up’ and you have given us the great points all along. I guess, I will note down one point at a time, dissect it and study the details what you have listed down. I wish you well. By the way, I am glad you have inserted your new look in this blog. haaum! I wonder if I could have recognised you..again!!

    • Dear Smita,
      Yes, I was enlightened and energized and I am happy you found my summary to be helpful. I hope we can reconnect at another conference this year. Take care & keep writing your stories. The world needs to hear from you! Blessings, Kathy

  6. What a great weekend. Was glad to get to enjoy a meal with you. Not sure I’ll be back next year (vacation / ministry / budget limitations) but if I can I certainly will. Blown away by the support and encouragement of everyone. Looking forward to the work to come!

    • Nice to hear from you Rich. I agree, the conference was very enlightening and energizing and I hope to get back next year. I love your last line”looking forward to the work to come.” I can see your little guy as you described him helping out at the AIM booth:) We need to take his lesson of enthusiasm with us on our writing journeys. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments.

  7. Oh, I wish we would have met! Maybe next year. CWG was the best conference I’ve ever attended! Can’t wait to go back!

    • Thanks for stopping by Jen. It was my first CWG conference and I want to return for sure! Definitely was a soul-shaking and soul-nurturing time and I hope we do get to meet!

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