October 16, 2014

Facing Down Our Fears - Loretta Bouillon

What an appropriate topic for me this month! Being relatively new in the writing industry, I have had to face a few fears this year.

Starting a blog, joining a writer’s group, making a Facebook page; even CALLING myself a writer was a big one for me! One of my giants is still awaiting me in October, at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. I am thrilled to be able to go. I am even more thrilled to be going with my seventeen year old daughter,Carlee. She is also a writer and very gifted one--says her English teacher. Her Christian online school has agreed to pay her registration fee for this conference, so the bonus is being able to do this together! We will fly there, stay in a hotel, and enjoy eating our meals at the banquets that are included with the price. It will be girl time!
Carlee and I

Back in the Spring of this year, I had to make a decision between, taking a couple of online university writing courses through UBC, the cost of self-publishing a book OR choosing to go to this conference. I chose the conference as I thought it would serve as a crash course in writing, publishing and everything that goes with it. Some of the workshops include topics such as Writing Picture Books, How to Spot Rookie Mistakes, Self-Publishing, Online Promotion and Social Media, Tools for Great Dialogue, and Finding Your Voice.

Anyway, back to the giant. With this conference, there is an opportunity to have a 10 minute “pitch” with an editor or agent. I have chosen to “pitch” my children’s picture book. To be completely honest, I AM TERRIFIED! However, I am a fairly good actor when I want to be. I am still terrified. The fear of the unknown. The fear of rejection. Being completely inexperienced, I expect rejection and I think I am okay with it. I tell myself that the experience will be invaluable; a great learning tool. It will be good for me.

What sold this conference to me was the sweet conference co-coordinator, who I met online while I was checking out the possibility of attending. She commented, “When I attended this conference for the first time, I felt like I had come home. I am very excited for you!” Although never having attended a writer’s conference, I still could relate to that statement.  I have been to several homeschooling conferences and Christian women’s conferences and there is something wonderfully uplifting about being together with hundreds of like-minded people in the same venue. It is a recharge, it is networking and it is feeling understood.

Attending this conference, I will definitely be walking through and overcoming some fears, however I see the opportunity as an incredible blessing. What a wonderful chance to learn and grow in this craft with my daughter. This is a gift in which I accept gratefully.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)


  1. We will be looking forward to a good report when you return.

  2. Congratulations to you and your daughter. Doing a conference together would be so exciting! The fact that her school is paying for her is a tremendous gift. It must have proved a challenge when you decided to go to the conference over self-publishing; something I'm not sure I would want to have to choose between. Great post! Our fears are the very thing that we need to overcome in order to move forward with our goals. It appears you are on the right track.


  3. You have a great conversational style in your writing, Loretta. Easy to read, your point comes across through the storying. Keep it up!

    Let me give you a few hints on the 10 minutes with the editor. For me, I expected they would talk and I would listen. At my first try, the editor said, "Good storytelling, but there's no hook. I can get this a dime a dozen." Then she closed her mouth. I had no idea what to do with that, or what to say.

    I've since learned to take a list of questions. "Does the character seem real? Is the dialogue working? How can I spice up the first paragraph? Are my descriptive words bland, too many, too few? etc."

    Then if the editor says nothing, you have something concrete to bring up. (And as an aside, the story she said was so ordinary ended up winning a publishing award the next year. Just sayin'. LOL)

  4. Thank you, Bobbi! I didn't realize they were actually going to look at my manuscript? I was thinking it was just a pitch and then they would tell me if they were or were not interested in having me send them my manuscript? I really don't know what to expect but I will go with a copy and your advice. Thank you. It is so encouraging to hear that the ordinary story won an award!

  5. All the best Loretta, and I'm also looking forward to a report on this conference. Checked out the website-it does look fantastic.
    Go in confidence with Isaiah 41:13 ... He is holding your hand!

  6. I am excited for you and your daughter, Loretta. Let us know how your "10 minutes" goes and your thoughts on the whole conference.

  7. Prayers and best wishes to you for a valuable "10 minutes" of learning that will help you in your writing endeavours. I pray that you will have broad shoulders to take the comments as well intended and helpful, but keep in mind that we need to take our guidance from God.

    I am not saying that we should dismiss someone's opinion, but just that we need to put such thoughts in perspective. What Bobbi said about her book seeming ordinary to her interviewer may have been a cue for Bobbi to stand up for her work, get critiques from others as well, pray about it, and take another look at it herself. As InScribers, we are proud of Bobbi's winning the contest with her book, The Reluctant Caregiver. Having read her manuscript, I believe God will match the book with readers who can learn from her story.

    How wonderful that you and your daughter can share your first writer's conference. Enjoy!

  8. I have been very blessed by all of your comments, encouragement and wise words. Thank you all! I will be sure to let you all know how the conference went.


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