Question: When is a writer successful enough to stop learning?

Answer: Never.

Just like any other profession, the life of a writer needs to be an on-going and ever growing process, otherwise it will become old and stale. This means staying on top of the market, honing one’s skills, and not being afraid to take risks.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I said risks.

It’s quite easy to sit back and dab at that which has become safe and familiar. But think. Great authors did not become that way by playing it safe, by playing follow-the-leader. They became who they are by being different and taking chances. By “boldly going where no man has gone before.”

Shakespeare. Poe. Twain. Fitzgerald. Lewis. Tolstoy. Austin. Tolkien. King. Rowling. These are just a few who carved their names into the tree of literature not only by being great writers, but also by being risk takers.

I encourage you–writers young and old, new and seasoned–to take hold of the gift God gave you. Allow Him to push it outside the box. Outside your comfort zone. Give Him permission to teach you: Take classes. Go to seminars. Find a mentor. Maybe even write outside your genre. Outside your safety zone. See what can happen when you allow God to push you beyond your boundaries.

Whether you’re a newbie or multi-published author, ACFW has great tools available for those who are looking for ways to walk down that road. The Storycrafter’s Seminar is one of them. Coming November 13th to Thornton, Colorado, Susan May Warren will offer techniques that help turn an idea into a story. Great seminar for those who need help with the basics. Great seminar for those who need help with brain freeze. Great seminar for those who wish to add a little spice to their writing stew.

Then, on February 5, 2011, the 3rd Annual Peak Writing Conference will take place in Colorado Springs, featuring award-winning editor, best-selling author and speaker Karen Ball, and Alive Communications agent Andrea Heinecke. Join us as these talented ladies share their combined experience ranging from fiction to non-fiction, and from simple books to complex novels.

Coming April 8-9, 2011, to the ACFW Colorado retreat, is New York Times best-selling author and keynote speaker Cec Murphey. Known as the “Man Behind the Words,” Cec’s passion is to stimulate people’s minds and nourish their souls.

And finally, link up with a local ACFW chapter each month to hear seasoned speakers, writers, and professionals talk about everything from encouraging God’s call on your life to what a publisher looks for in a novel to how to handle trauma in the emergency room (great tool if you are writing an emergency room scene). Not a chapter in your area? Now would be a good time to start one up. You can get more information on “how to” by contacting our Colorado Area Coordinator, Margie Vawter.

In the words of Captain James T. Kirk of the starship USS Enterprise, “All your people must learn before you can reach for the stars.” (– Kirk, “The Gamesters of Triskelion”, stardate 3259.2) And what better time to learn, than now!

(For details on the above opportunities, visit our web page at www.acfwcolorado.com)

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