I know yesterday’s post already mentioned my trip to Grand Rapids for the Festival of Faith & Writing, but I want to get one more post out while the experience is still fresh. Being around other writers (published and unpublished), editors, and agents is definitely inspiring, and it’s something I hope to do again.

For those who didn’t make it there, here are nine memorable things I’ll take away from the festival.

Eugene Peterson eats yogurt for breakfast.

2. Writers — both published and unpublished — are desperate for tips about blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and anything else social media-related. Everyone knows they need to do it in the name of “building a platform.” But no one knows how. Including me. In panel discussions and private conversations, I presented myself as a social media “expert,” but the truth is that I’m just making this stuff up as I go along.

3. Super-agent Greg Daniel looks very intimidating in his Twitter profile photo, but he’s actually very friendly.

4. Based on my interactions with Zondervan staff, they only employ gracious, friendly, and super-cool people.

5. It is possible to write honestly about a religious upbringing you have ultimately rejected, while still honoring your friends and family members who maintain those beliefs. Thank you, Michael Perry, for illustrating this so brilliantly.

6. Sarah Cunningham and Rachel Held Evans are as cool in person as they come across in my previous blog interviews with them.

7. The best writing gets polished and polished and polished on the surface level. And all that polishing eventually allows the “fist of truth” to break through with a powerful uppercut from deep beneath the surface. (Thanks, Kate DiCamillo, for the memorable analogy.)

8. How awesome is Eugene Freaking Peterson? I gasped out loud when he finished his talk. That is not something I do very often.

9. No writer, despite his or her level of success, is completely satisfied. I had a conversation with a friend of a memoirist I admire. Let’s call this memoirist Author A. The friend of Author A mentioned how frustrated Author A is that her memoir — a quirky but exceptionally inspiring story about faith — hasn’t gotten the same attention as another memoir by Author B, whose equally quirky and inspiring memoir became a mega-bestseller. And here I am, listening to this conversation, knowing that I would be ABSOLUTELY THRILLED to have the sales and attention that Author A has received for her work. Yes — the frustrated, envious Author A.


Ken Grant blogs a review of O Me of Little Faith followed by an interview with yours truly.

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