Thursday, August 11, 2016

Realm Makers: Sometimes God gives you a sucker punch by J.J. Johnson

I'm excited to have J.J. Johnson as my guest today. J.J. is a talented speculative fiction writer. When I found out he was heading out to the Realm Makers Conference I couldn't wait to see what he learned! I know you'll be blessed by his post. - Terri
 
I must say- Over the past year, I've been feeling quite down about my writing. Frustrated by the number of projects I have started, only to stop and start something else. I’ve gotten lost in a sea of noise, trying to ward through the static of good advice vs. what is bad advice. Not knowing if my ideas would flourish or fall flat.

A few weeks ago I was excited to attend The Realm Makers writer’s conference in PA. But I have to admit. Even though this was my second year attending, there was a point around December where I was on the fence about it. I was doubting my writing. Hurting. Irritated. And at one point ready to give up. 

Most of it was just pitiful “poor me attitude.” In the end, after some prayer and encouragement from my wife, I decided this was something I needed to do. I had no desire to pitch. I wanted to network, hang out with old friends, meet new friends, and just have a great time. I’m not a huge introvert so working the room has never been a problem for me. But I was struck by what God was trying to show me over those few days.

I had a list of people I wanted to meet and talk to while there. Other authors, I had been following and interacting with online. I thought it would be nice to finally meet face to face and make a connection. But there was one author I met that I didn’t expect to be there. 

On Thursday evening I took part in a cup stack challenge. I must admit and brag – I stack red solo cups like a BOSS!!! My prize for this ridiculous fun challenge – I got all of Lori Stanley Roeleveld collection- Including an Advance Reader’s Copy of her new book “Jesus and the Beanstalk.” 

I have followed Lori’s blog for a few years now. And I really enjoyed meeting her. Our interactions over the course of the weekend were brief. But the few chats we had made me enjoy meeting a blogger who has inspired me. 

Once home I dove into her new book, and it quickly hit me like I had slammed into a brick wall. I won’t release any spoilers at this time, but I will say this book is incredible. The first chapter made me realize a few things about me as an author, and what God has been trying to show me for some time.

Conference’s are fun- Crazy- Energetic. And at Realm Makers you average 4 hours of sleep at night and chug coffee by the gallons the next day. I had a great time. 

So- For those heading to ACFW or any other writers conference. Understand that having an agenda is amazing and smart- But sometimes God hits you upside the head with a new friend or word when you least expect it. I met so many new friends- Reconnected with old ones. And I have learned like so many others that Realm Makers isn’t just a conference with weird story ideas and crazy costumes. It’s a conference where God is working. 

So no matter where you go as an author. ACFW, RWA, RealmMakers- never be blinded by the static and white noise- Sometimes God is speaking in the stillness of a quiet whisper.

J.J. Johnson is a Geeky Father who Reads, Writes, and Loves God. When he isn’t writing he can often be found trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee or invent a means of Time Travel. He blogs at www.jjjohnsonwrites.com and can also be found posting crazy fun pics on Instgram under @jjjohnsonWriter
 

13 comments:

  1. Good morning, JJ. I think Realm Makers sounds like a fascinating conference. I've been tempted to try that genre.

    I recently went through a dry spell in my writing where I was tempted to quit. Like you, I had encouragement so I'm hanging in there.

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  2. Thanks Terri- I'm always willing to lure people to the Dark Side to write Spec Fic :) It's a great genre and one that I believe Believers should be at the front of reclaiming. As far as dry spells go- I've been there a number of times. I think it is just a part of the writers life. I have found for me that diving into some great fiction is just what I need. Learning to fall back in love with story.

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  3. Great reminder as some of us prepare for ACFW.

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  4. I'm a reader - not a writer - but I really enjoyed the insight in your post. So often that poor me attitude invades our thoughts and it's hard to shake off and move forward. Thanks for the reminder to listen for that quiet whisper. Blessings!

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  5. Great post JJ! And it was so good to meet you at the conference.

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    1. It was great meeting you as well... Hope to see you next year.

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  6. You were a boss with those cups, J.J.! It was so great meeting you. I know I had some rough times right before RM as well. I think as writers we tend toward insecure in so many areas. I was able to hear what I needed to during the conference as well. Best of luck in all you do! I'll be in the background, quietly rooting you on.

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    1. It was nice to meet you Dawn and hang out the night before all the crazy started!!!

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  7. Love this JJ! I got to room with Lori and it was incredible to talk with her - she is so encouraging. I'm glad that you had a good conference I hope that the Lord continues to strengthen you and give you inspiration for your writing!

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    1. Thanks Emilie- As always it's fun seeing you dart in and out of sessions documenting the entire weekend with your camera... Hope to see you next year...

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  8. Oh yeah, you rocked that cup challenge. I was so proud! *sniff*

    Yeah, sometimes we need a sucker punch from God. I know I do. But not this year. This year was my year for God to shove me forward and encourage me not to flinch. That's my goal. Don't flinch in my writing, in my life, in my relationship with Him. Sounds easy, huh? It's not - but I'm thinking it's gonna be worth it.

    Great blog post, JJ! I was happy to meet you in person! #realmmakers2017!! Woo hoo!

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    1. That's great Pam!!! Glad you know what direction you need to go!!!

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  9. Great post, J.J.! So glad you decided to go to Realm Makers. Don't you just love the way God works to get our attention?

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