Way back in time, when the Internet was still new, dial-up reigned supreme (albeit slowly), and a blog sounded like a plank of wood in a mud hole, I was introduced to Themestream—a huge site where writers could share their work, get feedback, and develop their skill. For the first time ever, I looked at something and thought, Hey, I can do this.
Being someone who has always hesitated to try new things for fear of failure (do I have any brothers and sisters out there?), this was a dramatic step, and one for which I am very thankful. The Holy Spirit pointed me in the right direction and I jumped straight in. For two years, I wrote inspirational articles almost every day, gaining a large following, confidence, and skill. Which was just as well because Themestream went down the drain in April 2001, a victim to its own success.
By the time tumbleweeds were blowing down the old Themestream streets (say that six times fast), I had a website in place and a growing subscriber base. Another reason to thank God. Even so, there was a void. I missed that community of writers, encouraging and equipping one another. As a loner, it was something I never expected to miss—but I did.
Many other writing sites popped up post-Themestream, but they didn’t last. That’s when FaithMania arrived. Scott Lindsay, a young entrepreneur, saw the need for a site where Christian writers could share their work in a safe, encouraging environment, and he was right.
The demand for space on FaithMania very quickly outgrew the site’s ability to cope. That’s when Scott took the leap and created the much larger FaithWriters.com. That was well over a decade ago, and under current owners Mike and Bea Edwards the site continues to provide an oasis for writers to hone their skills, test the waters, develop their confidence, and enjoy community with likeminded people.
So passionately did I believe in the need for this type of environment that I started working alongside the owner in 2003. Since then, it has been a constant joy to see countless nervous newbies develop into polished and professional wordsmiths.
There are many ways to participate in FaithWriters, and a quick exploration of the site can be overwhelming, but after all these years, here are my top spots:
- The Writing Challenge. This is, without question, the backbone of FaithWriters, and that’s not just because it’s my baby. New prompts are posted forty times each year (ten topics each quarter), and members are invited to write to topic, word count, and deadline. The top ten entries each week are eligible to be published in future Mixed Blessings anthologies. Free Silver members of FaithWriters are able to enter the Challenge four times to test the water. Be warned, though, it has been known to be addictive.
- The Regular Articles. This area is open to any member to write and share their articles, poems, short stories, etc, and possibly receive feedback from their peers.
- The Critique Circle. This area is for upgraded members, and can be an excellent way to receive deeper critique on works in progress.
- The annual Page Turner contest, which is a manuscript contest offered by Breath of Fresh Air Press and FaithWriters each year to Platinum members, with the winner receiving a cash prize, editing, and the promise of publication.
From experience, I know the incredible value of FaithWriters for Christian writers. If I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t still be a part of the community after all these years. God definitely used it to change the course of my life in ways I would never have anticipated. I’ve seen the same unfolding in countless others as well. Maybe it’s time for you to rise to the FaithWriters’ Challenge, too.
DEB PORTER is a publisher (Breath of Fresh Air Press), writer, editor, and popular public speaker, with a particular gift for communicating in a way that is both enjoyable and easy for readers and listeners to understand. Deb has been the right hand person at FaithWriters.com since 2003, and is a regular speaker at conferences, but prefers to spend one-on-one time with authors at these events. As the Coordinator of the FaithWriters Writing Challenge since its inception, Deb has helped shape this weekly contest into arguably the most popular aspect of FaithWriters.com, and she now publishes the winning entries in the Mixed Blessings book anthologies.