Celebrating the Christy Awards with Cynthia Ruchti: The Art of Writing

Today on the blog, the amazing Cynthia Ruchti is here to talk about the upcoming Art of Writing conference and Christy Awards! She and blogger Carrie Schmidt (of Reading is My SuperPower) are co-teaching a session for authors called “The Artful Dodger: Defense Against Discouragement.” As an author herself and now literary agent, she has a great perspective on encouragement for writers. Let’s welcome her, but first a little about Cynthia.

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She's the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women's ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin.

TO CONNECT WITH CYNTHIA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest 

Interview with Cynthia

What are some common traps you see writers fall into that you’re planning to talk about in your session?
As with any adventure, we assume that if God calls us to it, and we say yes, that should be the end of the challenges. Smooth sailing from here on out. It doesn't take a writer long to realize that the best adventures—like the best novels—are the ones with plot twists and turns, quests, obstacles to be conquered, threads of mystery, chapter cliffhangers, and character growth that costs the character something of value. We'll take a closer look at unrealistic expectations, unfulfilled dreams, the quagmire of comparison, that elusive concept of "balance," and God’s definition of publishing success.

Picture the writer who most needs to hear what you have to say in your session…then describe that person to me.
When we talk about writers dodging darts of discouragement, or writers "on the brink," that can have a range of definitions. On the brink of giving up. On the brink of overdosing on coffee and chocolate. On the brink of a minor (or major) breakdown. Or a major breakthrough. And that can describe any writer on any given day. Veteran writers can all point to a conversation or a workshop or a meme or a Scripture passage that changed the course of their writing or their attitude toward it. The multiple choice writer who most needs to attend this session is just starting out/has been writing for a while/has published many books and who faces occasional discouragement/faces discouragement every day/can't even define the discouragement that hovers. Multiple choice writer needs direction/redirection/reinforcements. He or she looks at the future with concern/fear/excitement and knows that the source of their hope isn't found in an afternoon but in the Author of their faith who can speak in an afternoon in a virtual circle with other writers facing the same issues.

Any reminders that you think writers should keep taped to their desks/laptops?
I have a small chalkboard that hangs near my computer with a phrase taken from one of my novels. "Hope lives here...even here." As I sit with fingers poised on the keyboard and a blinking cursor flashing its "What makes you think you can write?" at me, I'm reminded that hope lives even here, on the blank screen waiting for stories the God of Hope (Romans 15:13), the God of Endurance (Romans 15:5) invites me to create with Him. If other writers need the same message, I have extra chalkboards.

What’s your favorite part about joining in a gathering of a group of Christian writers?
We serve side by side in the same direction, which makes us community. In that community, we feel at home and create an atmosphere in which Jesus can work in amazing ways to accomplish His purposes not only through us, but in us. The "in us" part is as beautiful to watch as the "through us.” 
And, speaking of joining a group of Christian writers…if you’re a writer or even a reader who wants to meet some Christian fiction writers, we have an invitation for you!

We’d love to see you at the upcoming Art of Writing Conference and Christy Awards! You can find out more about the event below, or if you’re already convinced, you can register here.

About the Art of Writing Conference

The Art of Writing is designed to bring Christian creatives and publishing curators together for a half day of intensive seminars that celebrate the creative life, provide practical tips for overcoming challenges in a rapidly-changing industry, and answer questions authors are asking.

The speakers represent a wide range of roles and areas of expertise. Andrew Peterson, young adult writer and founder of the Rabbit Room, will give advice on how to create and benefit from a vibrant creative community, while Wheaton College professor Theon Hill, Ph.D. will present a survey of the obstacles and opportunities of diversity in Christian fiction. Authors will receive encouragement for the ups and downs of the writing life from blogger Carrie Schmidt and author, agent, and ACFW public relations liaison Cynthia Ruchti. Finally, a panel of representatives from major ECPA publishers will share insider information on where the genre has been, where it’s going, and the exciting changes they see in today’s market for writers. Learn more about the speakers and sessions here.

About the Christy Awards

The Christy Award™ is designed to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview and showcase the diversity of genres. The award is named for Catherine Marshall’s enduring bestselling novel, Christy, published in 1967 and inspiring a continuing book series and a CBS television series starring Kellie Martin. The novel will be re-released in 2017 in a 50th anniversary legacy edition by Gilead Publishing in partnership with Kregel Publications.

Hosted by award-winning author and radio host Chris Fabry, this year’s celebration gala dinner will feature New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury as well as musician and writer Andrew Peterson. You can view the finalist list here.

Christy Award Celebration Blog Tour

Monday, October 9: Top Ten Writing Industry Issues at Seekerville
Tuesday, October 10: Give Us Your Best Questions at By the Book
Wednesday, October 11: Interview with Dr. Theon Hill at Reading is My Superpower
Thursday, October 12: Celebrating the Christy Awards…With a Giveaway! at Bethany House Fiction
Friday, October 13: Quiz: Pick Your Gala Dress at Dani Pettrey’s blog
Saturday, October 14: Eight Reasons to Come to The Art of Writing at The Power of Words
Sunday, October 15: Interview with Carrie Schmidt at Bookworm Mama
Monday, October 16: Interview with Cynthia Ruchti at Just Commonly
Tuesday, October 17: Christy Nominee Bingo and Giveaway at Faithfully Bookish
Wednesday, October 18: The Unofficial Readers’ Choice Cover Awards at Singing Librarian Books


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