When I arrived at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for the first time, I couldn’t wait to check into my room and study the conference book describing the schedule and faculty. I had no clue what classes to take, but I stumbled across one class in particular that appealed to me – a devotional writing course.
One thing I was familiar with was devotionals, since I read them every morning. Plus, the only things I’d written to date were devotionals published in my church’s Lenten booklet. As I read the teacher’s bio, my excitement grew when I saw that she was an assistant editor of The Upper Room, a devotional magazine which I read regularly.
Susan King was the perfect teacher for a beginner like me. Although she talked faster than my slow ears could listen, much less write down, her enthusiasm was contagious. As she encouraged others to write, we eagerly consumed every morsel of information she shared. With a wealth of experience from teaching English at the college level, Susan provided plenty of material to help writers enter the publishing world successfully.
During the conference, she was followed wherever she went by eager writers who needed to ask her more questions. She always seemed genuinely interested in helping each one. Even at mealtimes, her food often grew cold while she took the time to share and continue to teach those who sat with her to glean more knowledge. Despite being overwhelmed by the mass of followers and lack of personal time and space, Susan never stopped smiling and responding energetically.
I have to admit I was one of those eager newbies who sat at her table, wanting to burn every word she said into memory. She made me feel like a friend, someone she wanted to help. She encouraged me and even remembered a devotion I had sent in as a contest entry. Because of her inspiration, I sent in devotions to The Upper Room which were later published.
It was a joy to see her at the next conference I attended, like visiting with an old friend when I sat down to eat with her and her husband Joe one day. I wanted to take her class again, but it was time for me to take other classes and expand my knowledge of the craft. Still, I wished I could be around her long enough to absorb some of her enthusiasm.
Thank you, Susan, for the push along the path. I’m so thankful God is using you to show other Christian writers which way to go.
” Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21