Canada’s largest annual conference for Christian writers and editors encouraged beginners and veterans from across Canada and the United States to “change the world with words.”
June 23, 2011
GUELPH, ONTARIO—Good writing can change readers forever, but bestseller lists fall far short of measuring that influence, according to participants at Write! Canada 2011, a three-day conference held June 16-18 in Guelph, Ontario.
For people of faith, good writing must combine technical excellence in content and marketing, but must also emerge from a life directed by God.
Whether one writes for the mainstream audience of a daily newspaper, for a niche audience that loves theology, for Christian romance fiction or inspirational biographies, writing is nonetheless a divine calling, a labour of love that can sometimes veer in unpredictable directions if the writer is open to God’s direction.
Keynote speaker Grace Fox from British Columbia, and author of Moving From Fear to Freedom (Harvest House), shared with the 200-some attendees how her initial efforts to write for greeting cards were redirected by God into interviewing and profiling Christian athletes, and redirected again into devotionals, Bible studies, speaking, and her latest book, Moving From Fear to Freedom.
Two other keynote speakers, Tim Huff and N. J. Lindquist, shared from their hearts how God had led them into their current ministries and how writing became part of what they do. Tim Huff, author of Dancing with Dynamite (Castle Quay Books)—which won the Grace Irwin Award on June 15—is a veteran worker with Toronto’s homeless population and worldwide advocate for the homeless. N. J. Lindquist, co-founder of The Word Guild, the organization sponsoring the conference, is an award-winning author and columnist as well as the co-editor of the best-selling Hot Apple Cider anthology, and the newly released A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider.
At the beginning of her presentation, Lindquist played a music video titled “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World” by Canadian songwriter Johnny Reid. She then illustrated with examples from her own life how God has created each person to be unique, and encouraged writers to let that uniqueness shape their writing. She emphasized that writers can change the world through their words, one person at a time.
Veteran writer Ray Wiseman commented, “…what a great conference! Certainly one of the best ever…” Writer Glynis M. Belec shared, “Write! Canada 2011 touched hearts and souls and spurred writers on to change the world with their words!” And Belinda Burston wrote, "Words can’t express what the conference meant to me. I loved the people I connected with and the stories I heard.” Those attending felt the time and money spent well worth it and went away encouraged and better equipped for their writing and editing tasks.
The conference is held annually to train and equip Canadian writers and editors who are Christian. It features classes, workshops and other forms of teaching on virtually every aspect of writing, marketing and publishing.
“It’s like a three-day crash course that always provides new tips to pick up, new people to meet, new markets to explore and new things to learn,” says Wendy Elaine Nelles of Toronto, co-founder of The Word Guild.
Participants came from across Canada, and several of the faculty experts came from the United States.
Canadian writers and editors network year-round through The Word Guild.