Jean Matthew Hall, Director of Write 2 Ignite
I’m happy to welcome Jean Matthew Hall today to talk about writing, particularly the inception of a wonderful group called Write 2 Ignite!. Wherever you are on the writing journey–seasoned, newbie or would-be, and especially if you are a Christian writer, this is the group for you!
LP: Welcome, Jean. Tell us how Write2Ignite! was born.
JMH: In 2008 a few writers got together at the SCBWI-C Conference to chat. The group included me, Samantha Bell, Donna Earnhardt and Dr. Gail Hayes. We soon realized we were all Christians, and that we would love to see a conference for children’s writers who write from a Christian worldview – regardless of the market we write for. That chat led to lots of prayer, phone calls and planning. Out of it was born Write2Ignite!
Team members Cathy Biggerstaff, Jean Matthew Hall, and Mary Jane Downs
LP: On your website you make the following statement:
We want Write2Ignite! participants to leave our conferences with three things:
The knowledge that they heard from God about something specific in their writing and/or personal lives
New or improved skills to use in writing and/or publishing
New or strengthened connections with other writers, illustrators, teachers, librarians, agents, editors, reviewers, and/or book sellers
What part of that vision is nearest and dearest to your heart?
JMH: That’s tough for me to answer. Our vision is to educate, encourage and inspire through any avenues the Lord opens up for us. My former career was teaching. God’s overarching call on my life is being an encourager. God’s Word and the experiences of life have taught me that we cannot accomplish anything of value without the inspiration – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God frequently uses other Christians to do that inspiring. So, it is difficult for me to pinpoint one as nearest to my heart.
The events and sub-organizations of Write2Ignite! are not my passion. It is the effect that those things will have on Christians who communicate God’s Love and Truth, and on their audiences. From my perspective that is why Write2Ignite! exists.
LP: What would you like readers to know about the next conference on March 27-28, 2015?
JMH: We’re not giving away any secrets yet, Linda. Just kidding! We’ve just begun our serious planning and don’t have our final lineup of speakers and activities. Our plans always include workshops pointed at those who write for young children all the way through young adults – fiction, concept books, nonfiction, even magazine and devotional pieces. We’re really proud of our growing Teen Track with new leadership and lots of ideas for more fun, more learning and more friendships to come. http://w2iteens.weebly.com/.
A group of teens with scriptwriter/actor/director/speaker Torry Martin
LP: What gems of wisdom have you gained through the evolution of W2I?
JMH: I think it’s a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over in my life – that God is in control. Through many circumstances, successes, mistakes, hopes, disappointments – God is in control.
LP: Do you have time to write on your own, and if so, what are you working on right now?
JMH: Oh, my! I’m holding my side laughing like crazy. Time is my most precious commodity, I think. Write2Ignite! requires a lot from me and the other Team members. But my personal life has become very time consuming, also. So, I have to chisel out a few precious hours here and there to study, research and write. Right now my family and the work of educating, encouraging and inspiring other writers is God’s priority for me.
LP: What advice do you have for writers who are trying to break into the Christian writers’ market, and how does that compare with the secular market?
JMH: Because I’m unable to spend a lot of time writing and submitting I’m honestly out of touch, I think, and can only give you a rather generic answer to this. I think the advice is about the same for either market for those of us who entrust our writing and publication to the Lord. (1) Write and keep writing. (2) Connect with critique partners and writers’ groups. Few of us can persist in writing inside a vacuum; we need each other. A book, film or recording really is NOT the product of one person. Many people contribute to the final product. (3) Keep learning through courses, books about writing and conferences. Attend writer’s conferences and workshops that fit your need. (4) Pray. That implies speaking to God about your writing and especially listening to God about it. (5) Surrender. God has a plan – a unique plan for you and the works of art He wants you to produce. His is in control of both the Christian and general markets, I believe.
LP: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jean, and for being such an encourager to writers. I think we can all agree that in this lonely pursuit, we can’t have enough encouragement. I invite readers to take this opportunity to share experiences you’ve had at a Write2Ignite! conference, or to ask questions if it’s all new to you.
Hey READERS, I would love to hear from you.
Is your MIND FULL of old thoughts or new?