Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pass It On  by Andy Scheer


The ripples are moving across the waters. In the few days since this year's Write! Canada conference in Guelph, Ontario, the people who attended have already begun to share what they've learned.

At first the ripples moved through conversations at the conference, blogs, and tweets. In the next few weeks, the influence will spread via reports at writers groups across the country. Then the deeper results will begin—through more effective articles that appear in newspapers, magazines, and websites. Eventually books, more powerful for what writers learned at the conference, will follow—but only after the online influence has circled the planet multiple times, touching lives in ways their writers will learn only in eternity.

I'm grateful to be part of the chain of influence. Though I've been teaching at writers conferences since the late 1980s, I'm also still learning from them.

This past week I rode from the airport to the conference centre (spelled the Canadian way) with two other agents. The car was filled with shop talk all the way from Toronto to Guelph. At dinner after the conference, I sat across the table from one of those agents. Among other news, I learned the answer to a question my colleagues at Hartline have been asking about what's happening at a certain publishing house. Now I know, and they do too.

I'd love to spend my entire time at a writers conference just listing; there's always so much to learn. But for faculty members that's never an option, so I try to be a good steward of what I've learned.

On my trip back from Toronto to Colorado, I reflected on how many people I'd spoken to at the conference, and the sources of that information. I taught two workshops and had six paid critique sessions, two dozen other appointments, and countless conversations. I can't remember how many times I cited information I'd learned from mentors, colleagues, and writers.

I trust my many new Canadian friends will also be faithful with what they've learned.


Rick Barry said...

Andy, your post brings to mind Proverbs 27:17, about iron sharpening iron and one person sharpening another. So refreshing at Christian conferences where each person sees the others as colleagues to aid rather than competition to outwit.

N. J. Lindquist said...

Thanks for mentioning us in your post, Andy. Great to have you up here last week.

Actually, what you speak about here is why Write! Canada exists! :) Wendy Nelles and I originally founded The Word Guild, which is the parent organization for which Write! Canada is the flagship event, because we wanted to find a way to help other writers avoid all the mistakes we’d made, and learn from one another.

Our mandate since 2002 has been to connect, develop, and promote writers, editors, publishers, and speakers from the Canadian Christian faith community so that, together, we can impact our country and beyond.

N. J. Lindquist
Write! Canada director, 2002 - 2012

Sandra Orchard said...

It was great getting a chance to meet and talk with you at the conference, Andy!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Wish I could've been there! Would love to jaunt on over to L'Anse Aux Meadows and do some on-the-spot research on my Vikings, not to mention meet so many great authors/agents and publishers!